The G-Cloud Opportunity

By: Becky Bracken

According to Forrester Research’s global information and communications technology (ICT) spending forecast, the government sector is the third largest vertical industry at $286 billion, behind professional services at $505 billion and financial services (banking and securities) at $291 billion. The public sector across the globe is a large, albeit daunting opportunity for those companies willing to charge into the fray. 

“Yes, the trend [for governments] is a move toward cloud, primarily in the SaaS market,” says Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D., principal analyst at Forrester. “They’re looking for back-office collaboration tools and email. Email is the primary app moving toward cloud in the public sector.” 

Anyone who’s ever waited in a government line for anything from a driver’s license to protesting a parking ticket in court knows the pain of dealing with a large bureaucracy. Heck, even governments themselves are looking to do anything they can to streamline, simplify, share information, consolidate, and cut costs — and they’re looking to cloud technologies to do the trick.

But governments move slowly. They also have long sales cycles and decision makers with short-term stints, and they face all sorts of other obstacles in implementing big-ticket technologies, including stringent security criteria. Plus, if a project should turn into a dreaded boondoggle, government leaders could pay the ultimate political and professional price. 

Belissent’s research for Forrester lists four distinct characteristics of public-sector cloud projects in comparison with their private-sector counterparts: 

1. They have different strategic and technological priorities.
2. They have different buying behaviors. 
3. They slowly but steadily adopt new technologies.
4. They embrace new pricing and engagement models. 

The primary goal of most government cloud, or G-cloud, projects is to have shared services, particularly those traditionally associated with OSS/BSS functionality. But communications service providers need to have a broad understanding of how governments function, and the organizational flexibility required to capitalize on the looming public-sector cloud opportunity. 


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