State and local government leaders recognize that it’s time to downsize or outright decommission their on-premises data centers in favor of moving to a cloud-based infrastructure. However, this decades-old problem cannot be solved overnight. Recently, five leaders from state and local governments across the country – including Mike Makstman, City CISO, City and County of San Francisco, Charlie Eckstrom, CIO, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Swaps Mahanty, PSFT ERP Program Manager Hennepin County, Minnesota, Melissa Turner, Project Director, FL PALM Project, Florida Director of Financial Services, and Paul Cackler, CIO, New York City Housing Development Corporation discussed how their agencies have used cloud migration strategies to cut costs, improve security, and establish a platform that enables innovation and agility.
Hennepin County Cuts Expenses Moving to the Cloud
The Hennepin County, Minnesota IT team made the move to migrate their financial systems to the cloud. For Mahanty, moving their on-premises PeopleSoft application to the cloud gave the county the opportunity to “spend the money where [they] need it.” By using an as-a-Service model the county is able to scale up when it needs the processing power, in cases like budget time or open enrollment, and scale back down when those periods of high demand are over, resulting in significant cost savings, said Mahanty.
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Cut Costs During Covid
While the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) were eager to move to the cloud, stakeholders were concerned that their personal data wouldn’t be secure in the cloud. However, the team at MWD was able to migrate to the cloud and alleviate these concerns by having transparent conversations and hiring a permanent chief information security officer. CIO, Charlie Eckstrom, commented that now the water district is more secure than when they had the infrastructure in their own data center.
San Francisco Looks to the Cloud to for Better Identity and Access Management
San Francisco’s Department of Technology supports 50 government departments with enterprise applications and ensures secure connections to those applications. In response to application owner concerns, the department built a centralized, secure and highly available portal for critical applications using Oracle Identity Cloud Service. The department now relies on a single sign-on portal for employees, retirees, suppliers — and eventually citizens — to access critical applications using a single dashboard. In doing so, they improved the customer experience, reduced the number of service tickets and significantly reduced the time it takes to integrate new applications from months to weeks.
Moving to cloud also improved application security with multifactor authentication. “Before, if someone couldn’t remember their password, they’d have to call in to recover it,” says Makstman. “With our cloud-based solution, they sign in once to access everything, and they don’t have to sit on hold or wait until the next business day to call somebody in the county.”
New York City Focuses on Scalability in Move to the Cloud
Aging, on-premises infrastructure was the problem for Paul Cackler at the New York City Housing Development Corporation. By moving to a cloud-based platform, the IT leader was able to update their systems and gain flexibility. Change management was also important. Cackler said that their first migration goal was to be transparent, because “users won’t necessarily know they’re running on the cloud instead of an on-prem data center,” because latency issues, often a signal that an application is hosted in the cloud, were not an issue.
The State of Florida PALM Project Updates with Scalable Cloud
The Florida PALM Project is replacing the State of Florida’s aging accounting and cash management systems with scalable cloud systems. The new system’s benefits will include new enhanced modern features and improve user access and experience. Turner commented that “scalability is critical for us. We’re working through a number of concurrent activities, so we need the flexibility without so much overhead.”
Despite the many challenges faced by state and local governments as citizens look to them to deliver more services online these goals are achievable with the cloud. Makstman commented that “we’re in the midst of enormous digital transformation prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of our services are moving to digital…Our agencies are looking to the cloud for our remote users.” By migrating to the cloud agencies are able to lower costs, improve security, and scale services at speed.
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