Under the banner of LOCAL GOVERNMENT ICT BUDGET CUTS Brett Husbands, of our partner Firmstep, wrote in the FEEDBACK section of the September 2010 edition of ITNow from the BCS:
The predicted fall in ICT budgets over the next year shouldn’t jeopardise local government efficiency savings - far from it. The findings of the recent SOCITM IT trends report have in fact reinforced the need for local councils to think creatively and buy smarter when it comes to IT.
There’s no longer a need to make massive investments in IT kit as many applications can now be purchased on a low-cost, subscription based model via ‘the cloud’ – a concept many organisations in the private sector have already successfully embraced.
Cloud computing has the potential to create savings and local authorities must think about how to run the whole organisation more intelligently, rather than just looking at the IT budget in isolation.
Councils can identify the right way forward by making meaningful ROI comparisons between using bloated, unfit for purpose and expensive solutions and those that are cost effective and designed to meet specific requirements. The findings are enlightening and the right solutions could be up and running in next to no time.
I'm not overly sure that ITC managers working for Local Government are quite ready to see cuts as being of benefits in terms of them saving money. That might be seen as being analagous to Turkeys voting for Christmas. They were tasked with saving money and now they're being told that if the money isn't saved then there really isn't the money.
But if that forces them to think of creative ways of providing the services which are required by their users then they may well find that cloud-based solutions will enable them to not only meet those demands but quite possibly surpass them whilst still providing the excellent service demanded by their users.
One supposes, though, that that might be a double-edged sword, one would need to keep in mind that the cost model of the cloud is based upon a utility model: you pay for what you use.
So there would need to be a war-chest to take into account times of increased demand. Those who hold the purse-strings will need to be aware that a cushion might be required for those times when the service dictates that costs go up alongside demand.
I suppose that what I'm getting at is that the cloud should almost certainly save Local Government money but that not all of that saving should be seen as free money, a sensible approach would be to keep a proportion back. Here at Arcus we could help with these costing models and provide you with sensible advice that will help you save money… while still fulfilling your present and future obligations.