Management > CIO

Local government insight: The cloud-first council

Published 26 March 2018

Public cloud provides a platform for future transformation at Enfield

 

Faced with the need to move out of its third-party datacentre, Enfield Council chose public cloud as the main platform for its IT infrastructure. This decision has transformed how IT enables and supports the business, according to Rob Musekiwa, senior IT consultant at the council:

Before we chose public cloud, we considered a range of options but having looked at private, public cloud and other datacentres, we decided it gave us the best value and greater flexibility.

Although the other options appeared to offer pay-as-you-go pricing, once you factored in compute and storage requirements and other things, we didn’t have the flexibility we knew we could get.

Another important consideration was that going down the public cloud route gave us access to the major players like Azure and AWS, which offer much more than a place to put your data.

For us that means an environment which allows us to experiment with, test and scale new services. If you compare that to our previous arrangement where it used to take us weeks, if not months, to provision servers, that is a huge benefit because it improves the pace at which the council can deliver change.

Another goal was to reduce costs through the pay-as-you-go environment we get through cloud. We are now able to switch off servers that we don’t need 24/7. There are also the reduced costs of not having to look after physical servers and, of course, there is the resilience that public cloud offers.

I think it is important, however, to understand that moving to the cloud isn’t just about saving money, there is a much bigger picture and greater aspirations.

For us, the impact on the business, partners and its customers is there is now an agile IT resource which is an enabler, focused on supporting future services or growth areas such as the use of data analytics or starting to think about how to harness technology advances such as the internet of things.

We are certainly more agile now and that makes us more aligned to the way the council needs to operate in the future. That really was our vision, our entire strategy was linked directly to enabling the business to meet its objectives.

We currently have around 85% of our workload in the Azure cloud and the rest is either on-premise or co-located with a partner – and there is still work to be done in getting to an optimised model which meets all of our needs in terms of digital government, however in the near term we are unlikely to go 100% to the cloud.

That is the nature of IT in councils: at the same time as you are moving forward, you have to look back and continue to evaluate what you need to change so that you give the business what it needs.

The main thing is to maintain flexibility in your infrastructure and your thinking, always being ready to adapt to meet changing business requirements.

Rob Musekiwa is Senior IT Consultant at Enfield Council and was one of the panel of IT leaders contributing to new research on cloud adoption conducted by Eduserv and Socitm

 








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