Looking to the cloud for cost savings and efficiency

15 December 2011 | Michele Bedford Thistle, Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

Back in November I blogged about a great new resource that is available on our worldwide public sector website: A plan for government that reflects the times. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check it out. Essentially, it’s a government guide that details some of the latest technology strategies for saving money and boosting efficiency - objectives that our customers are increasingly seeking in the current global economy. Taking a closer look at one of the core themes of this guide, cloud computing, I’d like to share some ways that the cloud can help your organization simplify and streamline its IT resources.

Earlier this year, research firm Gartner released its predictions about what will be the top strategic technologies in 2012. Not surprisingly, cloud computing ranks high on Gartner’s list, and they predict that by 2015 the public cloud services market will be worth $176.8 billion. Is all of this buzz justified? Many of our customers think so.

Consider the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, responsible for all public security services in Austria. Leveraging a combination of cloud services and virtualization, the ministry expects to reduce its number of physical servers from 900 to approximately 300 by the end of 2011, a reduction that is estimated to save the ministry roughly $1.7 million in server costs this year. Considering that at one point, the ministry was managing more than 2,500 servers across 1,200 locations, this represents a huge reduction in infrastructure, resulting in huge cost savings for the ministry and a far simpler infrastructure to manage.

Beyond savings made possible by datacenter consolidation, another benefit of the cloud is that it can enable your organization to leverage IT without the burden of having to manage servers, infrastructure, and software deployments, which would otherwise require a significant investment of time and money. With a trusted cloud provider, these management headaches are already taken care of for you - often at a much lower cost - allowing you to focus on the business of meeting your mission.

Furthermore, cloud computing can allow your organization to use computing infrastructure and resources on-demand, ensuring that your organization is only paying for what it needs on a day-to-day basis. For websites and public-facing applications - which often receive huge spikes and drops in user traffic - the ability to provision infrastructure on-demand via the cloud can help your agency avoid purchasing huge amounts of infrastructure, which would otherwise sit idle between peaks in user traffic. Bottom line: the cloud offers a much more cost-effective way to scale infrastructure to meet shifting user demands.

In fact, this reminds me of my recent blog while visiting the city of London. Using the Windows Azure cloud platform, the city’s transportation department successfully established a cloud-based public transportation alert system (TrackerNet), allowing users to track departures and arrivals to better navigate the city. The city was able to complete the project in an impressive six-week time window, and the alert system now supports an average of 2.3 million hits a day - a user load that is easy to accommodate thanks to the scalability of the cloud platform.

These, of course, are only a few examples. To learn more, check out our dedicated website on new ways to save money and boost efficiency in government. Be sure to come back soon, as we explore additional themes presented on the site.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Michele Bedford Thistle
Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

About the Author

Michele Bedford Thistle | Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

Michele is focused on sharing stories from government customers creating real impact for citizens, employees, economies, and students. She joined the worldwide team from Microsoft Canada, where she was also marketing lead for several technology start-ups.