The last 12 months have shown the value of cloud computing for all organisations, including those in the public sector.
When the shift was made to working remotely in lockdown, organisations that were already operating in a cloud-native manner switched to remote working seamlessly. For those that weren’t operating in the cloud, there was a realisation that operational resilience and agility were being jeopardised by a reliance on traditional ICT infrastructure and services.
This is something our local analysts have clearly observed, including Telsyte’s managing director Foad Fadaghi: “The lockdown and work from home period has had a massive impact on the amount of cloud services being used … this is true for almost all business applications, but the biggest impact is the uptake of collaboration tools and video conferencing, which are all built on cloud platforms.” (See further in ‘Australia’s Digital-led Recovery from COVID-19’)
Government organisations at all levels are moving rapidly to cloud computing
Through initiatives such as the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) Secure Cloud Strategy, the Australian Signals Directorate’s Certified Cloud Services List, and cloud-based platforms made available for different agencies, the promotion of a cloud-first strategy over the past few years is now paying off, providing more flexibility to government workers than ever.
Most state governments have adopted a cloud-first strategy, recognising the significance impact cloud has on resilience and agility. Two of the primary objectives identified by the WA Government, for example, in its policy are to “establish the expectation across government that cloud services should be adopted in favour of traditional, own and operate ICT solutions where appropriate” and to “create a more flexible, connected and agile public sector that fully understands the cost of its ICT”.
While it was quite easy and quick for organisations to adopt cloud-based collaboration and video conferencing applications for use by their remote workers, now that hybrid working environments are set to become permanent in many organisations, the siloed nature of these tools has become a concern.
Citizens now expect the government agencies and public sector organisations they are dealing with to be able to seamless communicate and transact via any channel and through any device.
To do that effectively requires a connected and integrated communications platform.
For many public sector organisations, the sticking point to have a truly unified communications and collaboration platform has been telephony – or voice – because the infrastructure for this has been one of the last areas of ICT to consider for cloud migration. Most are still operating with either a traditional PABX system or an on-premise or hosted VoIP service, so the options to integrate this with the cloud-based tools deployed during lockdown have been limited.
The good news is that there are now reliable, trusted cloud-based communications platforms available to deliver on the omnichannel communications expectations of citizens, with voice front and centre.
One of RingCentral’s customers had introduced Microsoft Teams for all staff working remotely during lockdown, which was well received but was operating as a standalone solution. With the deployment of RingCentral cloud-based unified communications and its native integration with Teams, staff could continue to make and receive calls and attend meetings using RingCentral from their familiar Teams interface. “We didn’t want to lose what we had achieved with Microsoft Teams; we wanted to capitalise on it and take it to the next level,” was the explanation from that organisation’s key spokesperson at the time.
We’ve found through the difficulties of the last year just how resilient we are as a community. Many organisations have come to realise the importance of digital transformation, and they are working with cloud providers to leverage technology to continue to build this resilience and prepare us for whatever the future holds.
RingCentral’s market-leading cloud unified communications and contact centre platform enables employees to collaborate internally or with external stakeholders from anywhere on any device. Having your office phone number available on any device, plus video and chat capability all in one application, optimises the accessibility and connection with your people. The solution is delivered from highly secure cloud data centres here in Australia and RingCentral’s open platform streamlines interactions by integrating with hundreds of commonly used applications and systems such as email (Microsoft Office, Outlook and Teams direct routing), file sharing (Box, Google Drive), virtual classroom technology, workflow, CRM and more.
Download RingCentral’s complete report on ‘Restarting Australia through technology’ for a positive outlook on our resilience and the future.