It’s hard to believe that, just a few years ago, most government employees could only access email from their primary desktop computers. Even those with the ability to access their enterprise e-mail accounts from other devices could only view new messages; archives were stored locally on their desktops. Now it is possible to check email from multiple locations and on multiple devices – 24 hours of the day.

Email was really just the beginning. We’ve arrived at a new technology-consumption landscape – powered by cloud, mobile and even social media – that is fundamentally changing the way we use and purchase information technology tools.

For public agencies, this shift presents a great opportunity for cost savings, as cloud-based solutions allow cash-strapped IT departments to switch from a capital investment model of IT funding to a managed service and operating expense model of consumption.

This new model also has the potential to make agencies more mission-focused, since cloud and mobile solutions allow the agency to concentrate efforts on its area of expertise – as opposed to operating all aspects of the IT environment, from the datacenter to email and messaging. Additionally, there are IT service delivery benefits, from faster delivery times for applications, to the ability to nimbly scale up to a larger user base.

However, there are also pitfalls. The decentralization of IT consumption through lightweight and relatively inexpensive solutions like Dropbox allows business units the ability to procure and implement IT solutions outside of the auspices of formal IT and procurement channels. This practice, known as ‘shadow IT,’ poses a number of hazards to the agency, the most egregious of which is the introduction of unknown security and compliance risks.

To help prepare agencies to maximize the value of this new IT consumption landscape and minimize the risks, GovLoop and Cisco have produced the following guide: The Virtual Platform – The Future of Public Sector IT Consumption.

In this report, you’ll find:

  • An overview of the changing nature of IT consumption in the public sector.
  • A success story from the city of Raleigh, North Carolina, highlighting a proactive response to these changes from the IT side.
  • A case study from the U.S. General Services Administration showcasing the benefits of cloud computing.
  • A 5-point guide to assessing which consumption or combination of consumption models to choose.
  • 10 best practices from government and industry sources on maximizing the benefits of the new IT consumption landscape.
  • Your IT consumption cheat sheet.

This guide is your first step in ushering in the new era of technology consumption. We’ll show you how to do it in a way that is cost-effective, responsible and sustainable.

Also, if you’re in the Washington, DC area, join GovLoop and Cisco next week for The Internet of Things: Connected Government, on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel. This first-of-its-kind event will bring together IT and management professionals from across federal, state and local government to discuss the next evolution of the cloud and its promise for the future of government services.


Steve Ressler

Founder and President, GovLoop