Key to the development of effective public sector strategies for resilience, innovation, and productivity is the ability to navigate at unprecedented scale and speed, complex and distributed communities (networks) of information, people, and things. By tapping the power of these networks, communities can effectively share ideas, expertise, and knowledge, encouraging richer levels of participation.
Smart City development and services through partnerships, collaboration, and community was a major theme at the London Policy Conference (#lonconf) on December 12-13, 2011. Jointly hosted by IPPR, a leading UK think tank, and London’s new think tank, The Centre for London (incubated by Demos), the conference was a platform and network for all those with an interest in London’s future. Sponsored by Cisco alongside other private and public organizations, senior leaders from the public, NGO, and private sectors convened to discuss the major policy challenges facing London and how its future might be best shaped.
Cloud computing—delivering infrastructure, services, and software on demand via the network—offers attractive advantages to the public sector. For example, it has the potential to reduce information and communications technology (ICT) costs by virtualizing capital assets like disk storage and processing cycles into a readily available, affordable operating expense.
One of the most significant cloud computing opportunities for the public sector is the ability to share ICT resources among multiple agencies. While governments have tried hard to create frameworks geared toward shared services, these have not always been successful. Cloud computing offers an easier and less burdensome route to more efficient and effective public sector information management.
Of course, cloud computing is not without its challenges:
A service provider residing outside of a government’s legal or territorial jurisdiction may put access or security at risk.
Open standards and interoperability may not be guaranteed, leading to the risk of vendor lock-in.
Data privacy is a concern when using public clouds. This can be addressed by the development of private clouds.
Business continuity will continue to be a concern. Cloud computing, however, may also mitigate this risk, as cloud vendors are likely to use more robust and better-maintained computing platforms that provide more redundancy and are less likely to fail.
Following the economic turbulence of the “Great Recession,” Toyota felt the need to improve its revenue structures. These earnings are directly linked to advanced work performed by knowledge workers in areas such as research and development on new cars, production, and sales. Toyota also wanted to shorten its product time-to-market to maintain its competitive market lead. The firm turned to the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) to help Toyota determine where improvements could be made and how to implement them.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are leading the way to cloud services. In fact, SMBs represent two-thirds of the public cloud market, outpacing the growth of enterprise cloud adoption by about 10 points, according to a recent McKinsey report (“Outlook—Overcast and Bright: How the Cloud Is Transforming IT for SMEs,” McKinsey & Company, July 2011). Yet, many service providers (SPs) are wondering whether the rate of SMB cloud adoption makes it worthwhile to invest in cloud and managed services for SMBs. They are asking:
Is now the time to invest in SMB-focused services?
Earlier in my career, I helped Wall Street find cutting-edge solutions to the radical challenges posed by the first great wave of computerization. Today, the changes shaking the financial industry are no less extreme, as firms negotiate the combined forces of globalization and regulation, while adapting to next-level technology that is lightning-fast, hypermobile, and reaching for the cloud.
Several weeks ago, at the 8th Annual High Performance Computing Financial Markets Show and Conference in New York, I outlined Cisco’s vision for the Global Connected Marketplace and the transformational shift in the consumerization of IT that it portends.