What do we do now that we’re on the cloud?

By HCLTech

As government agencies progress beyond cloud migration, how can they optimise their use of the cloud? Leaders from multinational IT company HCLTech share the elements critical to a successful cloud optimisation strategy.

Government agencies should continue to innovate to make full use of the cloud. Image: Canva

You’ve completed your cloud migration – job done. What’s next? For the faint of heart, it might be … doing a complete u-turn and returning data and applications back on-prem. Commentators have warned that 2023 could be the year of cloud repatriation, as organisations face rising costs and increasing complexity with few benefits to show.


This might be the result of “lift and shift” – simply rehosting applications on the cloud – strategies, says Kannan Rajarathinam, Senior Solutions Architect at HCL Technologies (HCLTech), a multinational system integration company providing IT consultancy services. Such strategies fail to take full advantage of the cloud’s unique environment and ability to drive operational efficiencies and cost savings.


Instead, cloud strategies should aim to achieve the maximum business outcome through optimising and rearchitecting systems for the cloud, rather than simply transplanting legacy systems to run on the cloud, he explains. Here are three ways government agencies can embark on their cloud optimisation strategy.

Go cloud-native


First, agencies should endeavour to go cloud-native, he explains. This means rearchitecting legacy systems or building new applications ground up in ways that can best utilise the cloud environment.


To do so, agencies first need to determine what business outcomes they wish to achieve, he adds. This will help them develop an IT strategy aligned with their organisation’s goals and accelerate digital transformation.


Next, agencies can identify the critical applications which need to be modernised within a cloud environment to deliver organisational benefits. Depending on the application, this can mean anything from “lift and shift”, to tinkering with the application to make better use of the cloud’s elasticity, to building brand-new applications with a DevOps methodology.


Rajarathinam shares that during the pandemic, HCLTech worked with a public sector agency to develop a mobile application to provide real-time updates to civil servants on office occupancy. This helped employees decide if they wanted to head into the office or if they should work remotely, he explains. 


Through a cloud-native approach to application development, they were able to support the agency in moving from idea generation to implementation within less than three months, he says.


HCLTech works with organisations and leading players such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and OpenShift to help organisations build cloud-native architectures that can optimise such applications.


Developers and strategists at HCLTech’s Cloud Native Labs work closely with organisations to design cloud-native journeys and provide hands-on support to guide modernisation efforts, as well as training programmes to support teams towards a permanent cloud-native transition. 

Customise SaaS applications to address your needs


Second, agencies should adopt and customise software as a service (SaaS) applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and human resource management (HRM).


This year, the Singapore Government announced that it will be allocating 600 million SGD, or nearly 500 million USD, for agencies to bulk tender enterprise SaaS solutions to perform operational tasks with subscription-based software.


Aloysius Lim, Public Sector Lead at HCLTech, explains that HCLTech can support agencies in trialling SaaS products in public cloud environments like AWS and Microsoft Azure, as well as fully implementing and integrating SaaS tools.


As the Government deepens its AI and data analytics capabilities, vendors like Tableau, Snowflake, Databricks, and Teradata, will be invaluable partners, he explains. These cloud-based solutions can help agencies enact advanced data management strategies, derive data-driven insights quicker, and build AI/ML platforms.


For example, HCLTech worked with an American multinational delivery services company to build a big data platform and advanced AI/ML models to eliminate the manual classification of shipments, automate workflows, and quickly scale the project.


“We have walked the path of SaaS adoption with many different customers. As a global system integrator based in Singapore, we can lead the way,” explains Rajarathinam. HCLTech’s vast array of SaaS partners means that it is able to help agencies select and implement the right kind of SaaS to serve their organisational needs.

Tap on modern cloud offerings


Finally, agencies can tap on modern cloud offerings such as edge computing and multicloud architectures to optimise their use of the cloud, Rajarathinam explains.


“Edge computing can help agencies ensure that compute happens close to end users… while organisations these days rarely prefer to use just one public cloud, instead opting for a multi-cloud approach,” says Rajarathinam.


HCL Technologies can support organisations in architecting these distributed cloud infrastructures as well as supporting civil servants in better understanding how to work with these technologies.


In Latin America, HCLTech worked with a city to develop a collaborative cloud platform to improve public safety and security. This platform drew on insights from smart cameras and microphones with AI capabilities, a collaborative social app, and AI-driven response centres in police stations to improve response time and cut costs. Within a year, the city saw a 42 per cent drop in crime rate.


“As hyperscalers continue to innovate modern cloud offerings, we want to make sure that we can help organisations support their people, processes, policies, and platforms remain open to a continuous optimisation journey while avoiding technical debt,” says Rajarathinam. 


“Government cloud leaders should continue to foster digital transformation, with the cloud as a key enabler to improve citizen services and operational efficiency. Then, put in place proper governance and security to manage the complexity that comes with the multi-cloud,” he says. 

To find out more about HCLTech’s cloud consulting services, click here.