With the proliferation of mobile devices and the promise of always-on connectedness, people now expect instant access to information and services they need, when they need them, and where they need them. For government, this means having to modernize public services to adapt to new expectations from their citizens. As part of this effort, governments are exploring cloud computing, big data, mobility and other emerging technology solutions to deliver a more citizen-oriented service experience to constituents. In the Asia/Pacific region this holds true, but there are challenges ahead as agencies seek to balance risk with reward in regard to IT innovation.
This was the message of a recently issued list of tech predictions from analyst firm IDC Government Insights, which looked at the Asia/Pacific region in 2013. While the list is not entirely surprising, it raises some interesting points about the role of IT in government, as well as some of the challenges and considerations ahead as organizations in Asia/Pacific aim to become more citizen-centric. Here’s my take on IDC’s first prediction:
Consumerization of IT & transformational cloud deployments
While it’s true that the consumerization of IT trend comes with challenges, such as adopting new policies to support personal devices in the government workplace and grappling with legacy systems and disconnected applications to provide enhanced citizen services, I believe that the opportunities will outweigh the challenges in the long term. By embracing the consumerization of IT, governments stand to radically transform how citizens interact with them and boost citizen satisfaction, which IDC points to as areas for overall improvement in the Asia/Pacific region.
Windows 8 can help organizations embrace the consumerization of IT on several fronts. First, by enabling governments to provide users with apps-style services that deliver a more seamless experience on any type of device. Whether employees use a PC to work from the office, or a tablet to connect from the field, they can access the same resources to get the job done. Likewise, for citizens, this means being able to access a service on their tablet, smart phone or laptop, without a change in the overall look and feel. In addition, Windows 8 can help government administrators better manage their organization’s devices from one central location, making it easier for governments to adapt to the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) workforce trend.
In regard to cloud computing, while security issues and determining an appropriate deployment model may continue to challenge governments, in our experience, many have already started to make the transition. In my opinion, the benefits are just too large to ignore, and cloud will reach critical mass in Asia/Pacific as more organizations demonstrate success. Less infrastructure to manage, fewer costs, and improving the scalability of programs and citizen-facing services are all cloud benefits that will greatly outweigh the risks in the long term. One way that Microsoft is helping organizations address cloud challenges is by setting the leading standard for security and data privacy, as my colleague Kellie Ann Chainier wrote about in a recent blog post. Through our Microsoft Trust Centers and involvement in organizations like the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and initiatives such as the Security, Trust and Assurance Registry (STAR) program, we aim to be as transparent as possible so that customers understand how their data is protected in the cloud. We also offer cloud solutions in all deployment models, from public, private, and hybrid, to ensure our customers have a solution that best suits their needs.
While IT innovation will always come with challenges, the opportunities are just too great to ignore. With the right strategies and policies in place, organizations can take full advantage of the benefits while minimizing risks. If you’d like to read a full list of IDC’s predictions, be sure to check out their press release for more information.
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