Andrew Mellish, of Six Degrees Group Company Carrenza, shares the challenges public sector organisations, face when it comes to implementing cloud services
With many contracts due to expire over the next three years, local government organisations within the public sector are understandably assessing their options about what to do with their IT. Local authorities, for instance, are looking to move away from the large outsource programmes of ten years ago, which locked them into expensive and rigid contracts; with many IT services still not fully delivered or deployed even years into the contract.
More and more local government organisations seem keen to take back control of their IT and harness the flexibility of cloud services. But many recognise they just aren’t ready to move everything to the cloud and need an interim solution that allows them to bridge the gap between their current outsourcing contract and true public cloud service delivery.
How did we get here?
Let’s imagine you’re a local government organisation with 18 months remaining until your outsource contract comes to an end. What options do you have?
- Stick with your current outsource provider and renew your contract because you’re struggling to find the time to pick apart your IT services and find new strategies for each area.
- Take the entire contract and shift it to a new provider and retender for another ten-year contract because it seems like the easiest and least risky option.
- Move everything to the public cloud. Yet, most of your applications will need rewriting to be cloud-ready, as many of them have been sitting on infrastructure that’s over five years old and out of warranty.
- Move all services back in-house and find the staff to manage 10-year-old applications and legacy infrastructure (and the budget for all of those capital purchases).
- Work with a specialist cloud technology partner that can be the springboard you need to get to the cloud: moving legacy infrastructure and applications into its own datacentres and IaaS (physical, virtual, and non-X86), and migrating cloud-ready services straight to the public cloud where appropriate; all managed centrally.
Moving away from your current infrastructure set up requires a plan
It’s a daunting prospect to move away from your current supplier – the technology landscape has changed dramatically over the past 10 years, and the skills needed in-house today from AWS-certified engineers to cloud architects are not yet readily available. Add to that the central government’s recent budget announcements with regard to tightening IR35 regulation, which has caused many public sector IT contractors to leave for jobs in the private sector, and the skills shortage becomes one of the main factors limiting organisations’ ability to transform their IT in-house.
Some public sector organisations, including local government bodies, have over 500 applications that need to be rewritten before they can move to the cloud. Therefore, is 18 months, three years, or however long that is left on the current contract sufficient to get your organisation’s legacy applications and services up-to-date and cloud-enabled?
And the risks of getting it wrong are well-known: the press is full of reports where local and national government alike have apparently wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayer money on the incorrect IT choices, when in fact the truth is that it’s a complex job to migrate services that affect thousands of people to a new provider. That’s why unfortunately some organisations make rash decisions out of panic at the end of their contract, because they don’t have a suitable alternative solution in place.
Specialist cloud technology service providers can help to simplify the process and act as a springboard to the cloud. How? Many have data centres that are especially equipped to help in a number of ways, including:
- Lifting and shifting current applications and hosting them on behalf of an organisation, migrating services gradually as needed (this includes both x86 and non-x86 workloads).
- Hosting specific applications on their own infrastructure, powered by their cloud services, many of which run on HPE enterprise technology.
- Moving some of an organisation’s cloud-ready services to the public cloud through partnerships with global hyper-scale cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure.
- Using their specialist skills around digital transformation, DevOps and cloud migration, as well as their wide partner network, to help organisations become cloud-ready across the entire organisation.
Not limiting your choices
Many cloud service providers offer a range of services to suit different workloads, applications and legacy systems in your current environment. They also have the specialist expertise to gradually move you towards a more industry-standard, automated technology service delivery model. This means when you do decide to move on in three years’ time, or even move to a new outsourcing programme, your IT is in better shape than where you left it and is simpler to move and transform.