The 2019 enterprise cloud index points to vast digital transformation of the public sector

The second annual Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index (ECI) surveyed more than 2,500 global IT decision makers on the state of global enterprise cloud computing deployments and plans. The findings of the survey uncovered a clear trend: The public sector has a strong desire to invest in digital transformation.

However, prior to COVID-19, these plans were being implemented at a pace that lagged other industries. With the swift onset of the pandemic quickly forcing agencies and educational institutions to reprioritize their infrastructures and security protocols to successfully transition to remote work and learning, the timeline of their digital transformations shrunk considerably. Using the survey findings as a predictor for the post-COVID economy, we can infer that the public sector will heavily ramp up digital transformation efforts and maintain a steady stream of digital updates to ensure agencies and educational institutions are equipped for future interruptions.

The three main areas that the ECI predicts will encounter the most change are:

A push to hybrid cloud

Prior to COVID-19, government and educational organizations reported the lowest penetrations of hybrid cloud adoption at just under 10%. There was little urgency to change to a hybrid cloud model as businesses were operating normally, though according to the ECI, more than three-fourths of public sector organizations said they see the hybrid cloud as the ideal IT operating model. Additionally, the public sector planned to increase hybrid usage by 35% and we can infer that the pandemic has only accelerated these plans as they deal with the need for long-term remote work strategies.

A separate study found that 75% of public sector IT managers believe they should be moving to the cloud more aggressively, and 77% believe a hybrid IT model is the most effective approach for public sector organizations. With this in mind, investing in a hybrid cloud solution is one way the public sector can control its spending while also having the flexibility to choose the right workload for each application. The increased flexibility, and corresponding potential cost savings, will allow agencies to quickly adapt to the rapidly-changing environment spurred by COVID-19.

Choosing tailored solutions

The data shows that the public sector wants to utilize digital transformation to drive “traditional business improvement expectations, centered around cost and business process efficiencies.” Adopting a cloud smart strategy can provide agencies with the freedom to choose which cloud components best provide the performance and service levels they require, leading to efficiencies not previously available through legacy architectures.

The future of the pandemic is unclear and as such, agencies and education institutions that were previously content to hold on transformation plans are now playing catch-up to ensure they’re set up for success in the long term.

Cost and resource management

Saving on costs is crucial to ensure an organization can invest in the resources needed to drive digital transformation efforts. Now that the public sector is re-assessing its resource management strategies as it prepares for a continued economic downturn caused by COVID-19, reducing everyday IT costs will help finance their modernization investments. With 53% of respondents reporting that they care the most about cost advantages when choosing cloud deployments, repatriating unoptimized applications and data from the public cloud can help accomplish the necessary savings.

According to the report, public cloud solutions might lead to increased costs. Nearly 49 percent of public sector organizations reported public cloud budget overages, with 16 percent being described as greatly over budget. As the public sector is restricted by increasingly tight IT budgets due to COVID-19, it’s essential for them to understand the long-term implications of their cloud model choices, and how those choices affect their digital transformation journey.

Once again, hybrid cloud may be better suited to modernize IT infrastructures, as it gives IT leaders visibility into their cloud consumption across both public and private clouds to understand their entire cloud infrastructure costs. This deeper understanding allows them to identify idle and under-utilized resources and get reserved instance recommendations leading to deep cost savings.

As the public sector looks to modernize, cost management and hybrid cloud adoption will be the first steps to achieving the larger goal of digital transformation. The data from the ECI points to major upcoming changes that will only accelerate as the public sector adjusts to a post-pandemic future.

Tim Wallace is head of Public Sector Industry Solutions at Nutanix

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