Like a shopper who samples grapes in the supermarket, the NSW Government has decided to take a “try before you buy” approach to the adoption of cloud computing.
Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce today announced that he and his Department would be assessing five cloud projects across the State before the Government embarked upon the broader cloud trial outlined in its ICT Strategy.
"We will test multiple cloud based systems across different scenarios and environments to ensure they are cost-effective, secure and efficient and if successful we will look at how they can be rolled out across government,” Pearce said today in a statement.
These projects will look at the capability and readiness of the Government and industry when it comes to providing:
- Email as a service;
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) as a service;
- Shared Service multi-tenanted email as a service;
- Infrastructure as a service; and
- Desktop as a service, email and collaboration as a service.
For the fifth project, the Department of Finance and Services (DFS) has today invited Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from parties able to conduct a three-month test run of Messaging-as-a-Service and Desktop-as-a-Service solutions involving 100 users from ServiceFirst client agencies.
DFS is looking to try out an email and calendaring solution that can be accessed by staff from any device, with a global address book for ServiceFirst clients and single sign-on capability. It is also wants suggestions on how to best transition away from ServiceFirst’s current Novell Groupwise platform.
The Desktop-as-a-Service EOI asks for a solution that will deliver users secure access to their required applications “anywhere/anytime” and can be included in the upcoming whole-of-government ICT Services Catalogue.
“The outcomes of the project will inform the development of whole of government policies and the implementation of service offerings on the ICT Service Catalogue.
“Key areas to be studied will include the technical, regulatory, cost, contractual, and usability aspects, the impact on the agencies involved and application for whole of government,” the EOI invitation explains.
While the proof-of-concept stage is unlikely to produce financial rewards for the ICT participants, it will offer cloud providers an opportunity to showcase their solutions ahead of the approaches to the market to lock in on the enterprise-wide, longer term solution.
The other three projects that the Government will be hoping to learn from are already underway within selected NSW agencies.
Of particular interest will be the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services (DTIRIS), which has recently completed the first stage of a high profile consolidation of its disparate ERP systems into an SAP cloud solution, anticipated to save the NSW Government as much as $12.5 million per annum.
Also underway is:
- An Email-as-a-Service implementation at NSW Fire and Rescue;
- Multi-tenanted email as a service at NSW Businesslink; and
- Infrastructure as a service at NSW WorkCover.
NSW is not alone in entertaining the idea of cloud-based email as a lower cost alternative to owning infrastructure in a period of declining tax revenues.
Queensland ICT Minister Ros Bates announced in June 2012 that her Government would scrap its centralised Identity, Directory and Email Services (IDES) program after it became clear that it would be too expensive to make viable.
"I have recommended that we stop IDES and explore other options including a potential cloud-based whole-of-Government email solution.”
"A cloud-based solution doesn't require a large capital investment and provides an effective way to manage a commodity-based information technology service," she said.
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