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Digital Transformation Q3 2022

The cloud can transform public services — Ireland must act now

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Arkadiusz Warguła

Una Fitzpatrick

Director, Technology Ireland

The way public services are being delivered all over the world is rapidly changing. As people make greater use of the internet and smart devices, they want governments to provide better digital services.

Covid-19 has only served to accelerate the digital trend, with a greater expectation than ever that State bodies should be able to operate remotely and at speed.

Technology Ireland has recently launched a report, produced by the leading international consultancy Frontier Economics, that assesses the benefits of increased cloud computing use by the Irish public sector. It also identifies institutional and policy hurdles currently preventing Irish public sector bodies from availing of the technology.

Compelling security advantages

Technology Ireland Director, Una Fitzpatrick, states “Much has been written and said about the undisputed power of the cloud to drive business and enterprise growth. But its capacity to transform public services and deliver major benefits for Irish public sector bodies and people in Ireland has largely been overlooked. That is why this report is so valuable — it highlights clearly what the consequences of the Irish public sector’s low uptake of the technology are.

Moving to the cloud, as Frontier Economics’ research demonstrates, would have deep cybersecurity, sustainability, and economic advantages, as well as improving the fundamental quality of public services. It should, therefore, be a no-brainer for the Government.”

Ireland is already home to all of the world’s leading cloud computing firms.

Aligning the public sector with leading examples

Fitzpatrick continues: “Ireland is already home to all of the world’s leading cloud computing firms who have invested massively here, in terms of both infrastructure and people power. Despite this cutting-edge technology on our doorstep, the public sector has been slow to harness it. As the report shows, there is now an opportunity to right that wrong and reap the benefits of digitalisation in the same way as the private sector in Ireland and the public sectors in countries with whom Ireland often benchmarks itself against, including the UK, Canada, and Australia.”

A necessary modernisation approach

Fitzpatrick adds: “Frontier Economics has drilled down into the root causes preventing the Irish public sector from availing of the technology. Antiquated procurement processes are identified as one of the chief problems. That is eminently solvable, as are all the other obstacles. What’s more, the recommendations set out in the text now provide a clear roadmap for the public sector that can help them to overcome those hurdles and unlock the benefits of the cloud for people in Ireland.”

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