Clearing a path to multicloud as the new foundation for digital government
To say that the last year has been challenging for state and local governments is a massive understatement. While citizens turned to their state and local agencies for guidance during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local leaders were largely left to navigate the uncertainty without a roadmap or assistance from the Federal government. They were forced to quickly pivot resources, accelerate modernization and adapt to a new remote workforce reality—all while trying to provide the answers and support their citizens.
The pandemic and subsequent economic crisis has underscored the need for IT modernization to power the effective and efficient delivery of digital services—from enabling remote work and virtual education to providing vaccine information, COVID tracking, and unemployment benefits. And, although a year has passed, the consensus from government leaders is there will not be a return to the old normal, rather agencies and citizens alike need solutions for the “next normal.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, the true value of the cloud for state and local agencies and educational institutions became crystal clear. And, with the new Federal stimulus package providing $350 billion in fiscal relief to states, localities and tribal governments, there has never been a better time to invest in the power of the cloud—more specifically the power of multicloud.
Multicloud offers flexibility to take advantage of the strengths of multiple vendors to meet mission needs. The benefits include optimizing costs and performance, reducing downtime, leveraging geographically dispersed clouds to meet data sovereignty requirements and avoiding vendor lock-in. But multicloud comes with greater complexity. Multicloud requires a new layer of expertise, management and reporting. The ability to expertly navigate multicloud’s complexity and optimize security are the keys to long-term success.
Legacy systems at a breaking point
For many, in addition to the challenges of finding ways to implement multicloud solutions to scale up remote workforce and learning, the pandemic exposed many of the serious limitations of legacy systems—including unemployment compensation and local assistance enrollment and management systems. In many cases, these critical systems are running on decades-old mainframe platforms, which cannot scale to extreme demand or rapidly incorporate changes to benefit programs.
Many of the pandemic-necessitated stopgap cloud-based measures—which previously may have been categorized as shadow IT—have yielded tremendous short-term value. More importantly, however, they hold the key to transforming citizen services well into the future.
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