Almost everyone has heard of the “cloud,” as a result of advertising by computer companies and frequent mentions in the news media. “Cloud” refers to technology resources used by an organization that are not at their own location, but available over the global data communications network (otherwise called the Internet). Moreover, the cloud is not just a question of getting access to some big data center in the sky; ultimately, it means gaining authorized access to any data or computing resource that is part of the Internet, and even combining data and software components from physically distant computers.
Public officials may have heard about how the cloud is being used in the public sector. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors had a session on this at its 2011 meeting where various mayors spoke about how their cities were using such services as shared email “in the cloud.” At the National Association of Counties, there have been sessions describing a cloud that is restricted to trusted government agencies at the state and local levels — what some call the “private cloud” because its services are not available to every organization, thus helping preserve the privacy and integrity of government data.
But the reasons state and local government officials might want to use the cloud are not often explained. This post will describe the various ways that the cloud can provide strategic value to state and local governments.
Most people have first heard of the cloud as a means of saving money, which is especially attractive at a time of tighter budgets. So instead of buying hardware and software, a government agency rents what it needs, when it needs it. This approach means you can shift from using bonds and debt service to an approach that matches your IT budget with the real demand each year.
And, often, the software services available in the cloud, such as email, can cost less per employee than licensing equivalent software in-house.
Resilience, Flexibility & Faster Technology Adoption
Potential cost reduction is not all there is to the story. There are other positive benefits as well.
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Tags: Cisco, cloud, Cloud Computing, collaboration, data, government, IBSG, internet, IT, local, Sharing, state
For the last 3 years, Cisco has helped many CIOs and IT leaders achieve their objectives by using a business/IT architecture methodology called Strategic IT Roadmap, or SITR. SITR’s ultimate deliverable is the “Unified Architecture Roadmap” which aligns IT initiatives with the key business priorities. This puts the CIO in a strong position when defending the IT plan/budget towards the other C-level executives.
We have seen great successes in public sector accounts, such as Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Fire Services or Fontys University of Applied Science, coming from the fact that:
- SITR is simple & pragmatic: it’s not rocket-science and values common sense over pre-established rules;
- SITR is holistic: it encompasses network, data centre, collaboration, security, applications, governance, etc.
- SITR is flexible: it’s not a rigid framework, and can be adapted depending on the context;
- SITR is result-oriented: it’s not an academic project, and there are concrete business deliverables;
- SITR is iterative: we prefer short iterations (ideally no more than 6 to 8 weeks), and we are not re-writing the annual report;
- SITR is based on TOGAF and COBIT5, as well as many best practices and templates from similar customers across EMEAR region;
- SITR is entirely funded by Cisco and/or our partners.
In this post, I explain how SITR can be performed in 10 steps, as depicted below.
I will now describe each step and provide template slides; these are just samples of what SITR deliverables look like.
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Tags: architecture, government, TN
Cities around the world are facing some big and complicated problems, with few easy answers at the ready. Rising energy costs, environmental concerns, and new government initiatives have inspired a focus on sustainable IT operations. But how can cities be expected to solve these crises, while also improving citizen services and ensuring future economic success?
Advanced information and communications technology (ICT) is a great answer, but this is easier said than done. Cities frequently face logistical hurdles on the road to becoming Smart Cities. I believe the key is creating a more effective “connected transformation,” harnessing the power of cloud computing for cost reduction and the delivery of vital services.
We’ve seen this in the enterprise sector: An intelligent IP-enabled information network provides a single, multiservice infrastructure to support productivity and cost initiatives—all achieved remotely, via cloud management. Government agencies are beginning to follow this lead. The public sector, for example, is finding new ways to measure such things as power consumption, thereby controlling energy output, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency. For government as well, the cloud is becoming an important tool for achieving greater sustainability.
Overall, the cloud is helping to create more effective city management, and it enables the network to become:
- Observable. Cities can monitor systems, power flows, and equipment, with no physical or location constraints.
- Controllable. Providing remote two-way communications and data between stations, systems, and equipment will maintain effective operations.
- Automated. Hands-off processes allow for greater cost efficiency.
- Secure. Layers of defense throughout a cloud grid will assure service reliability, prevent outages, and protect citizens.
The result is an intelligent, integrated cloud infrastructure that is pivotal to a Smart City’s evolution. Some amazing technology advances are making it possible for complex systems to be managed—and self-managed—remotely and efficiently. A flood of recently published case studies show how, in practical terms, high connectivity is essential to a new future for buildings and cities, and to the urban economy as a whole.
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Tags: Cisco, city systems, City24x7, cloud, Cloud Management, connectivity, government, IBSG, infrastructure, Intelligent Network, Smart City
Welcome to the Cisco Sizzle! Each month, we’re rounding up the best of the best from across our social media channels for your reading pleasure. From the most read blog posts to the top engaging content on Facebook or LinkedIn, catch up on things you might have missed, or on the articles you just want to see again, all in one place.
Let’s take a look back at the top content from March…
Tomorrow Starts Here
Explore how the Internet of Everything will change the way we work, live, play and learn.
Connected World Technology Report
Calling all IT professionals! Over two thirds of the IT managers agree that Big Data will be a strategic priority for their companies in 2013 and over the next five years as well. Do you agree? Is Big Data a strategic priority for your company?
Cisco on Fortune’s Most Admired
Once again, Cisco is honored to be on Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” List. Fortune tells us that the Most Admired list is the “definitive report card on corporate reputations.” Congratulations to our employees, and thanks to Fortune for the honor!
Understanding the Different Types of Wireless Routers
If your small business has grown and your workforce has become more mobile, you may be considering adding wireless to your network. Cisco explains the basics so you can identify which wireless router best fits your needs.
If you telecommuted for a week, how much time do you think you would save?
Don’t worry network managers; we’ve got you covered. Find out about Cisco’s solutions to Network Madness.
Check out the Cisco Storify feed for even more great content!
Tags: Big Data, CCWTR, Cisco Connected World Technology Report, collaboration, connected solutions, data in motion, Fortune, government, innovation, Internet of Everything, IoE, IT, mobility, Most Admired, networking, reputation, security, small business, telework week, Tomorrow Starts Here, wireless network, wireless router
Governments around the world understand the importance of a national ICT infrastructure and the role it can play in the economic and social development of a country.
However, there is a significant industry trend called Big Data that, I believe, presents a major opportunity for governments to deliver more targeted services to citizens and businesses.
Three key aspects of Big Data are already impacting governments around the world:
- Volume: Each interaction with a government entity creates digital records, network traffic, and storage requirements. The compound annual growth rates of global consumer and business data are expected to climb by 36 percent and 22 percent, respectively, between 2010 and 2015.
- Velocity: Data is being collected at greater and greater speeds. One example of the new velocity of data is the U.K. government’s transition to real-time tax reporting, where employers submit earnings and taxation information on a monthly rather than annual basis.
- Variety: In addition to traditional documents and forms, governments now must deal with torrents of less-structured data such as video from public safety and security systems, along with social media feedback. The multiple channels through which people now interact with government have also created a challenge.
It is not the data itself that creates innovative opportunities for governments, but the potential for analytics and insight around this vast array of information across many formats. Big Data could enable governments to shorten the daily commute for citizens by developing predictive analytics on traffic flows and actual traffic data affecting traffic signaling in real time. Or perhaps governments could help with rapid identification and control of disease outbreaks—from flu, to infectious diseases, to food contaminants.
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Tags: Big Data, Cisco, cloud, government, IBSG, public services