Middle east governments aim for cloud

Government entities should consider some basic questions to plan their cloud strategy, writes Zubin Chagpar of Amazon Web Services

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Middle east governments aim for cloud Proper planning is essential for the successful execution of each cloud project, says Chagpar.
By  Zubin Chagpar Published  November 1, 2017

Governments in the Middle East are embracing innovation and developing new ways for engaging and serving citizens. Faced with the pressure to produce world-class products and services on limited budgets, whilst having to meet aggressive timelines, government agencies are actively moving to the cloud to transform the way they deliver services and interact with citizens.

For government entities in the UAE, cloud offers more opportunities to deliver secure, reliable, and scalable solutions that support the UAE Vision 2021 on digital transformation and Smart City initiatives. Below are some basic steps and questions all government departments should start by answering as they embark on their cloud journey.

Ensure your IT plans align with the organisational strategy: Without understanding the core competencies of the organisation, it is next to impossible to identify the areas that are best served through the adoption of cloud. Key questions to ask include: Are there legacy applications that need greater scalability, reliability, or security than can be provided in the current environment? What are the hardware and bandwidth capacity needs? Will the organisation be prepared to scale up and down once deployed? And how can the cloud advance the objectives of IT and the organisation?

Pick one thing to do first: Don’t go overboard and begin too many projects all at once. Identify the most critical need first and provide a solution to that issue. For example, this could be cloud collaboration tools to make it easier to share files, or work remotely. Starting with something staff will benefit from immediately is an easy way to get them onside.

Considering the right resources, getting the collective support of the entire team, obtaining leadership buy-in, and ensuring ongoing stakeholder communication throughout the project will also help to drive success from day one.

Minimise the scope and test your project early: If an agreed upon scope for the project is not clearly defined at an early stage it can lead to problems later down the line. Scope can be easily determined at the beginning by: defining the terms related to the project; getting the right people involved to define the scope; accurately defining the process involved; explicitly defining the process boundaries; outlining the high-level interfaces between processes; conducting a health check on the process interfaces; and identifying any projects aspects that may still be too large to manage.

Create a Proof of Concept: Once the opportunities of cloud have been evaluated a proof of concept should be created in order to demonstrate that the cloud project is financially viable. A PoC should validate the scope of the project, highlight any problem areas that may arise during the development and test phase, and demonstrate early stage progress through a sample test that determines whether the service satisfies critical requirements. By doing this, public sector organisations can be sure they are creating demonstrable RoI from the beginning.

Remember, crowdsourcing is not just for startups: Soliciting customer input to improve a service or product is not a new concept. In the modern customer centric world crowdsourcing has become an important tool in finding solutions to business problems. Tapping into the collective intelligence of the public who use the service can help throughout the design and development phase.

Across the world local and regional governments are realising the benefits of cloud computing. By keeping in mind these simple guidelines we look forward to seeing many governments benefit from the power of the cloud.

Zubin Chagpar is Head of the Public Sector business for MEA at Amazon Web Services.

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