January 2011

Govt will ride the cloud wagon

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The Author is author is Vice-President, Solutions & Consulting, CrimsonLogic

Adoption of models like SaaS will gain momentum to meet growing expectations in G2C service deliveries

By Chong Kok Keong

India is poised to embrace e-Governance in order to increase its competitive advantage and become transparent with its global trading partners. This can be seen in projects we are working on, with the various government and quasi-government bodies in India. A perfect example is the Port Community System (PCS) that provides a single interface for members of the port community across 37 ports in India, to access critical information readily and securely. Another example is the computer-based security solution that stamps documents digitally, to safeguard against duplication and fraud in the state of Gujarat.

Globally and in India, governments are increasingly looking to develop e-Government solutions that will help them boost their competitiveness, transparency and efficiency. In India, adoption of technology has led government operations to rethink their processes and changes. There is growing expectation from citizens for government agencies to modernise government-to-citizen services and to improve and make e-Citizen services more accessible. We have seen this in 2010, despite the relatively challenging economic environment.

Emerging markets are clearly the driving engine for growth, with a majority of the future population and business opportunities residing in these emerging powerhouses. There is room for closer collaboration between Asia and Latin America, with the latter looking to Asia for new sources of investment and expertise for its own development.

Uptake of cloud computing

A confluence of forces has led to the shift to cloud computing—a compelling  increase in technological bandwidth or the business-driven need to innovate  business at a faster pace. Gartner has forecasted worldwide cloud services revenue to reach USD 68.3 billion in 2010, a 16.6 percent increase from USD  58.6 billion in 2009.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is being used to deliver a  variety of e-Government cloud services such as Singapore’s TradeNet—a Single  electronic window platform that enables important stakeholders within the supply chain to reduce the time needed to facilitate the trade process.

In a large country such as India, with a public sector that is technologically  diverse, with some agencies still relying on manual systems and others already  interacting with the public online, a cloud-based delivery model can provide  flexibility and scalability to the various participating agencies with their varied  requirements. It will enable agencies which may not have the resources, to tap  into the shared infrastructure of services and data.According to IDC, the public cloud computing market in India is expected to  grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 percent over the next  few years through 2014, from an estimated USD 66.7 million in 2009.

The  evolution of cloud computing is more than a change in nomenclature as the  underlying technology has been adapting to the changing business and  technology landscapes. A sound cloud strategy involves building strong alliances. Together with a strong implementation experience in national projects, service providers should also have established partnerships with  specialist players in the cloud computing industry that will enable them to adequately address their clients’ specialised cloud computing needs.

Best cloud practices

Cloud computing is to be seen as a key technology milestone and there has to be  a continuity in developing solutions for it. Moving forward, one sees an  increased focus on customer-centric solutions, emerging out of cloud offerings. Gartner has also predicted that 20 percent of non-IT Global 500 companies will  be cloud service providers by 2015.

It is also important to recognise the  possibility of combining a private cloud with the public cloud model and  generating economies of scale. New technology methods are constantly being  tested to determine viability for the user organisations. This can be in the space of public clouds for delivery models, private clouds for customers, and hybrid  clouds for both private and public customers. From a consulting point of view,  it is important to understand the client’s domain and work with them to come  up with a value proposition to address their concerns.

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