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Does Cloud need a big brother?

At the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA), we believe that government use of cloud for its own needs, and the incentives it develops to accelerate the demand for cloud services, are important elements in the readiness of a country to host clouds. We feel strongly enough about this to include it as one of ten equally-weighted parameters in calculating our annual Cloud Readiness Index (CRI).

There is a significant amount of anecdotal evidence of how governments encourage the use of cloud both for themselves and for other sectors.  Back in 2009, the then US government CIO instituted a ‘cloud-first strategy’ in order to encourage agencies to adopt the cloud.

Four years later more than 200 federal agencies are now using the cloud, and recently the CIO for the department of Health and Human Services called for plans to adopt a cloud broker model as an intermediary process (instead of navigating www.apps.gov) to help departments identify the best cloud approach for a particular workload.  In addition the US health industry has been advocating the use of a specialist cloud for securely exchanging electronic health record (EHR) information in an efficient manner. Monetary incentives are in place to encourage early adopters.

While the US government may be the leader in implementing cloud programs, we are witnessing a number of similar government-led initiatives in Asia.

In Singapore for example, IDA has launched a number of cloud initiatives over the last 24 months. These include: G-cloud that is available to most government agencies as a private community cloud; integration of public cloud services as part of the Bulk Tender process; and offering incentives to SMEs for using Singapore-based cloud services.

In a similar vein, earlier this year the Australian government published a comprehensive set of documents providing guidance to the government agencies in the use of cloud.

In Hong Kong the office of the government CIO recently announced the awarding of the implementation contract to build GOVCLOUD, which is meant to provide a complete suite of cloud services to most government agencies for the next five years.

Finally in Japan the government has been working both at the government IT level and the ministry of industry levels to drive the pervasive use of cloud. Back in 2009 the ICT Hatoyama Plan called for the creation of the Kasumigaseki Government Cloud which is to establish a large cloud computing infrastructure to meet the increasing requirements of the Government’s IT systems and bring in greater efficiencies though a shared pool of resources. This is just a small sample of the initiatives being rolled out by governments in the region.

Clearly, national governments in Asia are providing a helping hand to the local cloud industry much like an older brother would provide guidance to younger siblings.  At the ACCA, we believe that, if implemented effectively, these initiatives will accelerate the adoption of cloud in these countries, thereby increasing the desirability of building cloud supply.

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