Joel Layson, Senior Vice President of the Philippines Social Security System had a problem with his emails.

“We were running obsolete software, the vendor no longer supported the product and, aside from that, there were a lot of limitations.”

Staff could only store 10mb of emails, so “users were clamouring for additional space allocation, as well as accessibility when we are outside the office.”

These problems heralded an opportunity, however. He thought his department could consolidate three projects onto one simple solution. “Each of these has a multi-million peso budget, so we are going to save at least 30m pesos in consolidating those projects.”

₱30m is US$8m – a big saving for an agency that exists to provide social security payments, not to spend on technology projects.

How they did it

The agency went for a hosted solution in the cloud. Partly, this was to speed up the upgrade. “The procurement process within the Philippines Government is quite lengthy for an IT solution,” Layson says. Replacing an email system could take more than two years.

However, the Philippines Procurement Service is offering a deal where agencies can purchase a hosted solution through The Department of Budget Management – Procurement Service (DBM-PS) – the central government purchasing platform. Government has negotiated a deal with key suppliers on behalf of agencies, meaning that they just need to prepare a budget and get it approved. No negotiation required from the agencies!

That was not the key reason for the decision, however. Most important was accessibility. “Accessibility – anytime, anywhere, with a hosted solution our users can access even on their mobile phones,” Layson says.

In terms of the space limit on Office 365, he adds, it was initially 2GB and is now 50GB – “a far cry from the 10mb limit of the solution”.

They also consolidated two others systems at the same time. They have a content repository for their legal department, and an office productivity system. By consolidating these onto the cloud, they saved money and made it easier for their users.

What’s next?

“This is just the start of our journey in the cloud,” Layson says. “Our approach in the cloud is very cautious, same as other government agencies.”

They are trialling Software as a Service (SAAS) and will look to migrate some web services onto the cloud soon. “Slowly but surely we are adapting”.