Opinion: Govt opening up to SaaS solutions will bring agility in India’s public sector

One of the best ways of restructuring the IT function within the public structure is by warming up to software delivery models such as Software as a Service (SaaS)

Government agencies in India are in various developmental stages and are always on the lookout for new ways to improve upon their service provisioning — while also reducing their costs so that they do not exceed their allocated budget. As has always been argued, there is a pressing need for restructuring within the public sector in terms of processes, in order to enhance efficacy and efficiency. One of the best ways of restructuring the IT function within the public structure is by warming up to software delivery models such as Software as a Service or SaaS.

Not many people could have anticipated the overarching impact of cloud computing by the year 2020. Given that we live in a fast-paced world that still has to deal with network hassles —to be able to avail best-in-class internet services which have better functionality, without having to go through the headache of any additional infrastructural cost and software — Cloud computing and by extension, SaaS is a sure game-changer.

The market share of public cloud services is projected to reach $4.1 billion by 2020 with a major chunk of growth i.e. 33% being in SaaS. This growth is indicative that the transference of applications from traditional on-premises data centres to the cloud, along with the public sector looking into the development of cloud-ready applications, will only fuel growth.

The Indian government has initiated an ambitious project called “GI Cloud” or “MeghRaj” with the singular focus of leveraging cloud computing to accelerate the delivery of various government e-services and also optimize their ICT spend. Leveraging technologies like SaaS will make sure that the development and deployment of eGov applications are optimally utilized. Looking at it from the employment front as well — as per the IDC, by the year 2022 almost 1 million new jobs will be created due to the advent and adoption of public cloud technology.

When working in conjunction with other cloud-based services like IaaS, PaaS, STaaS among others, governments can ensure that they achieve optimum utilization of infrastructure and be able to cater various ICT-IOT based applications to customers at a much faster rate. Looking onto creating models that are scalable, agile and cost-effective — applications and infrastructure that is developed using SaaS, also has ease of first time IT solution deployment which means complete access irrespective of user location or device. In fact, it will also facilitate the procurement of ICT services on demand for the government as well as non-government enterprises.

Cloud-based applications are truly a great opportunity for the public sector to transform their service delivery. With the help of the SaaS model, government agencies can deliver services that are functional, which means that they can have built-in capabilities that are both social and mobile without having to give up core requirements like integration, personalization, analytics, etc. Offering the public sector the flexibility of integrating existing objective-critical IT systemswith cloud-based services, provides them the unique opportunity of being able to migrate workloads between on-premises or in the cloud for optimum functioning. SaaS can help in services like streamlining back-office processes or creating new levels of citizen engagement etc. thus improving upon service effectiveness overall.

Given that there so many problems that public service departments face regarding reliability, interoperability privacy, security portability, etc. using a reliable delivery method like SaaS can be crucial to fostering citizen-trust in government services— thus, ushering in a transformation of government services as we know them today by enabling faster adoption.

The author is co-founder and director, Transerve Technologies. Views are personal.

As authored by Ashwani Rawat and originally published on The Economic Times Government

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