Many government agencies understand the cloud can be an extremely beneficial tool to streamline a municipality’s operations and optimize employee time and engagement. Almost 70 percent of state IT decision makers reported in a State Scoop survey that their agency will devote most of their IT investments toward a combination of cloud models that include commercial clouds, government-only clouds or a hybrid approach. With a significant amount of time and resources going toward the cloud, it is important for municipalities to chart out a path to success. Here are three questions for a municipality to consider when planning a transition to the cloud:

Question #1: Is my municipality ready to make the transition to the cloud?

Before transitioning to the cloud, it is imperative for IT leaders to align with key stakeholders on the specific goals they want to achieve. Key stakeholders across an organization might have different expectations of what the cloud will provide to the municipality, leading to disappointment if their goals are not materialized.

Performing a readiness assessment can help municipalities understand if their networks and personnel are prepared to successfully transition to the cloud.

While many consultants are offering cloud certifications, the municipality’s critical mission is to assess the organizational readiness, including

  1. Evaluating workloads that will be transitioned over,
  2. Prioritizing which applications will be moved first
  3. Estimating a realistic timeline and budget for transitioning.

Dedicating the appropriate amount of resources and personnel to lead the transition can help municipalities avoid common pitfalls such as unmet expectations, missed timelines and the mishandling of sensitive data. Municipalities should communicate proper change management practices to ensure a successful implementation.

Question #2: Will transitioning to the cloud create value for my organization?

Though municipalities understand the cloud offers opportunities to improve on inefficiencies, they do not always realize the full breadth of what they are gaining during the implementation process. Many times, the focus lies primarily on cost savings. However, a municipality should consider more holistically how the cloud unlocks value, including increased productivity, agility and manageability. According to a Microsoft Cloud Trend Report, 79 percent of people reported to have made cost savings, increased productivity, and increased security within their organization. Otherwise, unrealistic expectations of inflated cost savings can diminish the perceived success of the transition project.

Question #3: Do I have the right cloud partner?

This is where a municipality must think like a service provider. When transitioning to the cloud, it is important to compare proposals and perform due diligence on all prospective providers. IT leaders should look for a vendor who will automatically provide the latest compliance updates that can help protect data from natural disaster and cyberattacks. This is where it is important to set up demonstrations to see first-hand how each cloud vendor meets these compliance regulations. Cloud solutions should empower local governments to succeed in achieving their mission, including better financial forecasting and budgeting for communities. 

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The cloud has the potential to bring tremendous value to many municipalities. However, transitioning to the cloud can present several challenges if municipalities go forward without a plan. With the proper planning, thought and consideration, municipalities can ensure their personnel and citizens feel the benefits of the cloud to include cost, increased productivity and overall satisfaction in the daily tech they use. The amount of time, preparation and effort that a municipality puts toward its transition to the cloud will be reflected in the success of the project.