Technology Ireland Executive, Ibec
The power of the cloud can drive business enterprise and growth. However, its capacity to transform public services and deliver benefits to Ireland has largely been ignored.
In 2021, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform announced that by 2030, 90% of applicable public services should be delivered online.
Why Ireland should take a cloud-first approach
Recently, ‘Harnessing Digital: Digital Ireland Framework’ (a national digital strategy) and ‘Connecting Government 2030’ (new public sector ICT strategy) indicated that this goal would be reached by ‘taking a cloud-first approach to the delivery of all services.’ This strategy recognises that cloud computing can generate significant benefits for the public sector.
A high-level cloud-first vision is useful to set expectations, but effective adoption requires vision, strategic case, policies and guidance to be aligned within a cloud-oriented culture. Even in countries that have implemented a clear top-down cloud-first vision (eg. the UK, Australia, Germany, Greece), experience has shown that the buy-in of senior leaders and decision-makers, IT departments and procurement officials is key to a successful transition.
Moving to the cloud would have deep cybersecurity,
sustainability and economic advantages.
Improving security and public services
Despite this cutting-edge technology on our doorstep, the public sector has been slow to harness reforms. Moving to the cloud would have deep cybersecurity, sustainability and economic advantages, as well as improve the fundamental quality of public services.
Economic benefits of cloud adoption
Recently, Technology Ireland commissioned a report — The Sky is the Limit — that highlighted a 10% increase in public sector cloud adoption could produce economic benefits of €473 million annually. Through greater cloud usage, the public sector would reduce its information and communication technology (ICT) energy usage by 80%.
Other jurisdictions show that cloud adoption by public bodies delivers a myriad of advantages for end-users. There are especially strong cybersecurity and sustainability benefits to be achieved through heightened Irish public sector cloud use. In January 2023, the Office of Government Procurement established an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) framework, and the initial steps are welcome.
Government and industry are fundamentally aligned on the rationale and purpose of creating a framework that will aid the digitalisation of public services. Without a centralised procurement framework, the Government’s longstanding cloud-first commitments will be difficult to achieve.