Agencies need to ‘build confidence’ for cloud

By Nurfilzah Rohaidi

Mark Diekmann, the General Manager for Asia for Cloud & Digital Workplace at DXC Technology, outlines a three-step approach.

Singapore has few “fundamental constraints” when it comes to adopting cloud. It enjoys excellent connectivity; robust cybersecurity; advanced broadband infrastructure; and just the right regulatory environment.

But somewhat paradoxically, the country is “struggling” in its cloud journey, noted Mark Diekmann, the Asia General Manager for Cloud & Digital Workplace for IT services leader DXC Technology. “Singapore has the best environment to execute - we need to start executing,” he remarked recently.

It is a matter of agencies “building confidence” that they can restructure their services and move to the cloud, Diekmann pointed out in a keynote at the Cloud Transformation in the Singapore Public Sector summit presented by DXC Technology and Amazon Web Services on 26 April.

Cloud strategies around the world

First, some context. Last October, Singapore’s Prime Minister announced that the government will begin to use commercial cloud services in a big way. “The question for the government is not whether we do it, but to what extent we can use the cloud,” he remarked.

Diekmann recommended that agencies harness cloud to modernise their applications and move towards a more fluid way of developing services. This way, they can continuously test, deliver, and deploy, he said, instead of only updating apps once or twice a year. What’s more, agencies can keep improving on the final product based on constant feedback and assessments.

Around the world, there are models for Singapore government to learn from. For instance, 53% of agencies in the US Federal Government have adopted a cloud-first or cloud-also strategy. However, skills - or the lack thereof - are the “most critical challenge”, Diekmann said.

Meanwhile, in China, organisations are facing several constraints in enterprise cloud adoption - among them, a challenging regulatory environment, security concerns, and cost of migration, according to a McKinsey survey. And yet, businesses are “moving very quickly, aggressively”, Diekmann noted.

77% of Chinese enterprises have also stated that cloud is their top priority for the next 12 months, according to a Frost & Sullivan study. “It’s about confidence in economics, security, compliance, skills and stakeholder buy-in,” he pointed out.

One solution for governments is to draw from private sector experience and expertise in their migration journey. DXC Technology and Amazon Web services announced a collaboration last year to jointly provide end-to-end cloud migration solutions to customers. This integrated practice will help clients accelerate their digital transformation journey, and simplify procurement and pricing as well, according to Diekmann.

The three pillars of cloud adoption

DXC Technology has come up with three key pillars to help agencies increase their confidence in the cloud: Launch; Adopt; and Run. “The market is shifting to a much more iterative approach,” Diekmann said, adding that DXC has restructured its offerings to suit this new way of working.

At the Launch stage, agencies develop a roadmap towards cloud adoption: “building a view on economics; transformation opportunities; understanding what are the low-hanging fruits of workload that can move to the cloud”. At the Adopt stage, agencies modernise and migrate their apps, and execute the Launch plan.

Finally, when it is time for the Run stage, agencies “continuously optimise your infrastructure, operations” and use automation to lower operating costs, Diekmann said. This three-pronged approach is a practical framework that helps agencies and organisations quickly start to deliver value with the cloud, he remarked.

And as agencies gain traction in their migration journey, a final piece of the puzzle is to develop a deeper relationship with vendors, Diekmann explained. “Select key vendors and collaborate with them in a deep way to help you build that confidence,” he said. “The traditional procurement approach is probably not lending itself to that.”

Agencies may not have all the skills they need for cloud, Diekmann noted, and this is a gap that private sector can bridge. The key is to move beyond a transactional relationship with vendors: “That vendor collaboration needs to be complementary, and needs to fill in critical areas in the organisation to actually get started.”

With all of these rapid changes and innovations inside and outside of governments, the goal still remains the same. The endgame is about helping agencies reduce time and resources needed to maintain apps, so they can focus on serving citizens.

As Diekmann put it, the hope is to “get to the Nirvana of a zero ops environment, where you can focus on innovation, citizen services, and application development”.

The Cloud Transformation in the Singapore Public Sector summit was presented by DXC Technology and Amazon Web Services to share key learnings and private sector experience on how to embrace cloud and derive the benefits.

This article was produced in partnership with DXC Technology.