We spoke to Sandeep Hardikar, SVP & Geo Head – Europe at Microland ahead of Digital Government 2019 to talk about innovative technologies and the benefits of Cloud computing.
What are the most exciting forms of technical innovation and digital service delivery that you have encountered through your work in the sector?
Digital is top priority to all organisations in the Public Sector that we service or interact with. They realise that transforming the way they deliver citizen services today will lead to significant improvement in experience and also, result in substantial reduction in cost of operations.
One of our customers has decided to focus on:
- Digital Customer – Connect with the Council with ease and convenience
- Digital Council – Enabled through culture, information and technology
- Digital Place – to facilitate greater community participation
To achieve this and other similar strategies, the most common initiatives are around “Cloud First” and “Mobile First” Strategy with a robust data privacy and cyber security framework in place. Some projects we are involved in are:
- In-premise Data Center migration to Private Cloud
- Mobile app for employee engagement & communication
- Software Defined Networking
What do you believe to be the key challenges for public sector organisations working to deliver digital services in the next five years?
The overall challenge that Public Sector organisations must deal with is the continual need to offer more services to meet rising demand and ever-increasing expectations while simultaneously operating on a lower cost basis with fewer resources. To meet this goal, embracing cloud and digital strategies are required components of any strategy. The biggest key challenges as we see it are:
- Need for Design Thinking – It starts with having great vision. Nothing is achieved that is not dreamed first. Delivering more with less is not for the faint-hearted. On the surface it seems unachievable but with orthogonal thinking, anything is possible. A repeatable, logic-based approach to find unique means to satisfy the wants of citizens must be utilized to constantly theorize then realize service improvements. Such skills are scarce and must be corralled.
- Digital Skills availability – We know that Digital needs very different skills – both for the residents and for the Public Sector organisations. We believe adoption of Cloud and Mobile technology in a smart way and cost- effective way can help overcome this challenge. Growing in-house talent is often difficult given the rapid pace of technology innovation. .
- Cyber Security, Risk & Compliance – New modes of operation beget new challenges to overcome. The speed and ephemeral nature of cloud has created new attack vectors and have regulators scurrying to ensure that right level of controls remain in place. Data Privacy, cyber security, compliance to various rules and regulations need an integrated and holistic rather than a siloed approach.
Public Sector Organisations are best advised to not go at such significant challenges alone but by embracing the right trusted partners to help overcome them. With the right relationships, digital capabilities can be realized and the digital transformation journey can be advanced.
With that in mind, does the future look bright or are there bumps in the road ahead?
Future definitely looks bright and we are very encouraged by the strategies adopted by our clients in this sector. As a strategic partner, it is our responsibility to present the “art of the possible” to our clients and we have been fortunate that our clients have adopted many of our solutions to accelerate their journey towards Digital Transformation.
The challenges around data privacy and skills availability are universal challenges and we are happy that the entire ecosystem is working together to solve these. Our solutions around Smart Cities, Smart Waste Management, Integrated Security Architecture or Smart Training – provided in an “As A Service” model is tuned towards solving such challenges.
Can you tell me more about Microland’s work with DevOps and Cloud Computing?
Cloud is central to everything that Microland undertakes. With massive adoption of Hybrid / multi-Cloud environments, we offer “advise to execute” services to our clients through our Now2Cloud framework. We offer a “single back to pat” in the end-to-end lifecycle management of Cloud adoption.
We start right from the application landscape and based on “business criticality”; “ease of migration”; “cost of migration” and “cost of sustenance”, prioritization of application migration is planned; the right hosting strategy (private cloud; public cloud; hybrid cloud; multi cloud) is architected; cyber security is planned to ensure maximum data protection and compliance to local and global regulations; network transformation is also planned as the traditional MPLS doesn’t work well in Cloud environment; ease of access for end users is planned, especially through mobiles and finally, an automation led ITIL process defined Managed Services are provided to ensure business case is met on the long term and lifecycle basis.
Specifically on DevOps, our DevOps Assessment framework assesses client IT estates & processes to determine the DevOps maturity and recommend the roadmap for a smart DevOps adoption. We implement the DevOps tool-chains and subsequently manage their DevOps environment & processes.
What would you say were the key benefits of migrating services to the Cloud?
Cloud is now central to every Digital Transformation that private enterprises and Public Sector enterprises are undertaking. While the business case is different for everyone, we believe that the primary benefits are speed, scale and innovation which allow our clients to differentiate in the marketplace and gain business competitive advantage.
Speed is the currency of this generation and cloud empowers it on many levels. Unprecedented heights of orchestration and automation enable deployment of applications at will. Platforms rich in technology innovation allow for innovative ideas to be launched and tested with ease to create a flow of services into existing and new markets. The speed at which cloud-enabled businesses are able to operate in unparalleled.
Given the consumption basis of cloud, scale is not only achievable on the way up in volume but also in ramping down when services aren’t required or needed. Global scale is easily achieved with the deployment into as many regions as needed with the click of a few buttons. The cloud also enables scale in the highly resilient architectures that underlie its very foundation. Functioning at large scale is also aided by the centralized risk, compliance and operational control as well as high visibility of estate and performance that cloud affords to enterprises.
Through the dizzying intervals of constant innovation, cloud facilitates an enterprise to consume value-added services with lesser investment in deep technology on their own. Given rich marketplaces and community services, an enterprise has access to many building blocks on which they can add their unique ideas and contributions. All of the factors cited lead to a situation in which a business can achieve very high velocities of innovation within their industries.
And if speed, scale and innovation aren’t enough, keep in mind that cloud done well can also lead to 20-40% TCO reduction!
What should be the priority for organisations looking to provide a high-standard of digital service to their clients?
Most organisations know that they need a Digital Strategy, but they struggle with the overwhelming nature of where to start in a sea of technology, priorities and culture change and then how to keep momentum. Organizations must have the right credentialed leader to take controls of their reigns in these times. Key stakeholders must be educated, queried and be brought into a governance structure to keep them engaged and informed as progress ensues. A clear vision must be documented and communicated to executives, employees, customers and partners so all know their roles in the change that is to come. With those important pieces in place, a robust execution plan must be developed for the creation of capabilities and services and the skilling of those needed to implement the initiatives.