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Community Clouds: Vendors vs. Government

by Andrea Di Maio  |  October 19, 2011  |  5 Comments

I had an interesting 1-on-1 with a vendor who was inquiring about the relevance and future of community clouds. He came across one jurisdiction that is in the process of developing a private (or rather community) cloud to serve itself as well as other local authorities. The question was whether this was an exception or may become a common situation.

Indeed there are shared service organizations and centralized IT departments at various level of government that are looking into turning into a community cloud. The motivations range from willingness to help to – more realistically – self-preservation for IT organizations and leaders who have achieved a level of excellence in infrastructure and operations and are reluctant to change their value proposition by leveraging utility offering.

My sense is that they won’t be able to remain in that business for long and, while such a role may be beneficial to help smaller agencies and local authorities move safely to more commodity offerings when they are mature, it is a fact that managing IT infrastructure is hardly the core mission of any government organizations.

It is certainly interesting to observe how confusing this market still is.

Category: cloud  symposium  

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Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
15 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies strategies, Web 2.0, open government, cloud computing, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Community Clouds: Vendors vs. Government

  1. Todd Jackson says:

    I would agree this is not a core competency however using a public private partnersip model (government provides the infrastructure and the private sector provides the services) can assist government entities reluctant (due to various factors) to give up commodity type of tasks/services. Once the reluctance has passed government should step out of the role. This is not a new concept. Many municipal electric utilites were created 100 years ago to fill a gap in rural communities.

  2. Todd Jackson says:

    The private sector could potentially leverage these government entities as cloud service brokers.

  3. Doug Newdick says:

    Hi Andrea,

    This is very topical in the New Zealand government where I work. You may be interested to know that the the NZ Government has just signed a major deal for a government community cloud to be provided as a shared service to all NZ government agencies by two providers (Datacom and Revera). In this sense the NZ government has recognised that maintaining data centres is not a core competency and that there is little value in it. However there is benefit to the government in having a consistent level of service, price certainty, service flexibility and scalability that cloud offerings can provide. The community cloud based in NZ means that we can avoid issues around data residency while still taking advantage of some of these cloud benefits. I’d be interested to know what you think of the NZ initiative.
    The press release can be found here:

  4. @Todd – Great point and analogy. I’d like to see more clients looking at their own clouds as a step toward commercial clouds, but also less emphasis on cloud where it is not (yet) going to deliver the claimed benefits.

  5. @Doug – Thanks for flagging this. Definitely interesting. I wonder whether this may be challenged down the road by other vendors who see their opportunity to sell services to the government reduced. I assume this will be re-competed on a regular basis.

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