Since the Victorian Department of Business and Innovation’s early adoption of Salesforce.com’s CRM platform in 2007, CIO Chris Gilmore has seen increasing numbers of government agencies looking into using cloud services. The CIO said he expects a significant increase in cloud adoption within government.
“I can see that each month there’s a greater opening up to the idea [of cloud computing], whereas six to 12 months ago the idea of cloud computing was still known as being quite ‘out there’,” Gilmore told CIO Australia in an interview at the CeBIT trade show in Sydney.
“I think people now, within the government circles that I move in can see it’s a viable thing and we need to do it,” he said.
CeBIT was also at the venue for the launch of the federal government's National Cloud Computing Strategy designed to help boost the cloud services sector in Australia.
“I think it’s terrific if we’ve got the federal government getting to a point of embracing and acknowledging the role and the future role that cloud computing has for itself and its Commonwealth agencies," Gilmore said of the strategy.
“It also gives a level of confidence to people in the private sector if the federal government has gone and made those sorts of statements. I think it just starts to give some confidence about the cloud and take away some of this mystique and some of the fear that has existed.”
Gilmore said his department’s cloud platform could be shared across other government agencies, breaking down previously siloed and disparate systems within government.
“While our department is engaging with business, there are other departments and other agencies in the Victorian state government that also engage with business," he said.
"There’s an initiative called the ‘better services taskforce’ which is run out of the Department of Premier and Cabinet and they are optimistic that what we have done with Salesforce can be propagated and pushed out across other agencies.”
Australian government CIO Glenn Archer, who has unveiled AGIMO's Cloud Computing Policy version 2.0, said at CeBIT that working in a cloud environment would allow different government agencies to work under a more integrated policy framework.
“In a cloud environment, policy ownership is not such a big issue because of your ability to move the underlying application between entities is much easier,” Archer said.
"And if you do need to form some kind of integration, hopefully we will look to do that in a cloud environment not between physical departments of state.”
However, Gilmore questioned whether the cloud would prove to be easier when it comes to integrating government systems across different agencies, as there are still issues in terms of interoperability, data sharing and security, and the level of complexity in different cloud offerings.
“In our situation we have got to be careful not to put everything into Salesforce and it doesn’t become a model where that’s the only solution for everything," the CIO said.
"My concern is to make sure we have appropriate architectural boundaries around what’s appropriate from a business perspective, the business services that actually go into the global engagement management system.”
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