Cloud jour­ney will boost ser­vice de­liv­ery

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Peter Reid

GOV­ERN­MENT’S an­nounce­ment to de­ci­sively em­brace Mi­crosoft’s Cloud Pro­duc­tiv­ity (Of­fice 365) tools will have a very pos­i­tive im­pact on ser­vice de­liv­ery and gover­nance.

Last week, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the State IT Agency (Sita), Dr Se­tumo Mo­hapi, con­firmed a Mas­ter Agree­ment with Mi­crosoft, to stan­dard­ise on Of­fice 365 across all gov­ern­ment depart­ments and in­sti­tu­tions.

Na­tional Trea­sury Cir­cu­lar 11 de­fines the de­tails of the agree­ment.

Mo­hapi’s an­nounce­ment rep­re­sents a con­cise and pro­gres­sive ap­proach to Cloud mi­gra­tion, and erad­i­cates much of the hes­i­tancy that may have been hold­ing back depart­ments’ Cloud jour­ney. Now, with the full back­ing of Sita’s frame­work agree­ment, they can quickly roll out Of­fice 365 to their teams.

Gov­ern­ment and its tech­nol­ogy part­ners can build new ser­vices within the Cloud, mak­ing them avail­able to staff and cit­i­zens at a faster pace and a lower cost.

Backed by re­silient Mi­crosoft ar­chi­tec­tures, sys­tem down­time will be re­duced; and staff can move beyond time-in­ten­sive ad­min­is­tra­tion and process work – to now spend more time on value-adding cit­i­zen de­liv­ery ac­tiv­i­ties.

But per­haps the big­gest ben­e­fit will be found in the Cloud-en­abled Smart Cit­i­zen projects set to get the green light.

Our ex­pe­ri­ence in cre­at­ing apps like the Johannesburg Road Agency’s “Find ‘n Fix”, and the Com­mu­nity Shield (to re­port sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity and crime), has shown the in­cred­i­ble power of cit­i­zen en­gage­ment.

With the right tools, peo­ple be­come more en­gaged, sup­port­ive, and demon­strate greater com­mu­nity spirit.

With Cloud ar­chi­tec­tures per­me­at­ing ev­ery depart­ment, ex­pect to see a surge in Smart Cit­i­zen ser­vices – for users to re­port prob­lems with pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture, find in­for­ma­tion (like pub­lic trans­port net­works), pro­vide data to in­form bet­ter city plan­ning, re­port crime, and more.

From a fi­nan­cial per­spec­tive, Cloud ser­vices will make it eas­ier for lo­cal gov­ern­ment depart­ments to, for in­stance, is­sue mu­nic­i­pal bills dig­i­tally, pub­lish water read­ings more ac­cu­rately, or send no­ti­fi­ca­tions for up­com­ing li­cence re­newals.

With clearer billing, and a more en­gaged com­mu­nity, rev­enue col­lec­tion be­comes eas­ier.

When na­tional depart­ments – such as the Depart­ment of Jus­tice – com­mit to Cloud mi­gra­tion, it sends a com­pelling sig­nal to smaller pub­lic sec­tor bod­ies and to the pri­vate sec­tor.

If the body that gov­erns law-mak­ing is com­fort­able from a data sovereignty and se­cu­rity per­spec­tive, then other in­sti­tu­tions can safely fol­low suit.

Sita’s de­ci­sion aligns per­fectly with Mi­crosoft’s re­cent an­nounce­ment that its en­ter­prise Cloud of­fer­ings would be de­liv­ered di­rectly from data cen­tres in Cape Town and Joburg.

It also links well with the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s pro­gramme to give all school pupils and var­sity stu­dents free ac­cess to Of­fice 365 and a ter­abyte of OneDrive stor­age.

Our close in­volve­ment in this ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment strat­egy – through build­ing the ac­ti­va­tion por­tal that gives young South Africans ac­cess to the tools – has shown the enor­mous po­ten­tial for Cloud com­put­ing to make a real dif­fer­ence in our na­tion.

Over the past few years, In­ter­vate has moved into pub­lic sec­tor spa­ces, digi­tis­ing pro­cesses and cre­at­ing ap­pli­ca­tions that make a mean­ing­ful dif­fer­ence in the lives of all.

From re­duc­ing the num­ber of lost dock­ets at the Depart­ment of Jus­tice, to im­prov­ing pub­lic hos­pi­tals with the Depart­ment of Health, we’ve be­come ex­cited about the op­por­tu­ni­ties to ap­ply tech­nol­ogy to solve the big­gest so­cial prob­lems.

So we’re ec­static that Sita has an­nounced a com­mit­ment for all pub­lic sec­tor bod­ies to mi­grate to Cloud ser­vices, bring greater ef­fi­cien­cies and ul­ti­mately help to im­prove 60 mil­lion lives. Ex­ec­u­tive Head of In­ter­vate South Africa

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