De-risking IT for the public sector

A recent audit found that value for money in public sector ICT procurements is … well … problematic. Hitachi Vantara’s Tony Whigham and Jason Di Dio have advice on de-risking tech to drive more value, and the 6 Pitfalls you Should Avoid at All Costs. 

How will the Australian government become one of the top three digital governments in the world in the next four years? That’s the goal of the current Digital Transformation Strategy, calling for delivery of world-leading, secure and easy to use digital services across the board by 2025. What will it take to make it happen?

Well, the fact that collectively you have just dealt with a 2020 that no one could have anticipated has accelerated digitisation efforts considerably! As you and your public sector colleagues learn from the accomplishments and missteps of the year that was, many will find that interim data protection and management solutions are not suitable or sufficient for the long term.

Those who deem their infrastructure and systems ready for more innovation and progress will find themselves dealing with even more data … to store, protect, manage and make accessible.

To reach the noble objectives set for 2025, there must be efficiency and effectiveness at all levels of government, whether they have enterprise-level needs or they need support for mid-range workloads When it comes to digital fitness and modern data management, you will need to drive value from IT partners, solutions and infrastructure strategy. This advice will help.

6 IT Strategy Pitfalls for the Public Sector to Avoid

  • Pitfall: Thinking “Cloud First” rather than “Cloud Only”

The public sector initiative of “Cloud First” is an industry understanding, adopted by the public sector to foster innovation and potential savings. As the concept of Cloud First matures, those focused on IT in the public sector are realising that a Hybrid Cloud model, incorporated as a broader Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy, creates greater balance, better savings and optimised efficiencies.   

As borders and boundaries expand through the adoption of cloud, irrespective of public or private, data sovereignty has now become a very pertinent consideration for the public sector. This requirement for data to be stored within its country of origin, so that it is subject to and governed by the laws of that country, could erode some of the potential savings associated with the public cloud. Global cloud providers or cloud services may use “distributed computing”, spreading compute-intensive workloads across computers and datacentres in geographically dispersed locations. That may translate into unknown server locations, which is contrary to sovereignty concerns, and won’t be suitable for some workloads.

It has been widely accepted that cloud native applications (those designed to work well in the cloud and exploit the advantages of the cloud computing model) clearly provide the greatest benefits to cloud adoption. The public sector uses many applications that were not originally designed as cloud native, so moving them to the cloud to achieve the true benefits of digitisation may not be straightforward. Of course, it is time consuming and costly to examine the policies and processes underneath the workload, then re-write and re-develop the app for the cloud. Thus, we see a wide-spread practice of Public Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) for legacy applications, which unfortunately has not provided the equivalent level of advantages. 

Drive value by taking the opportunity, as the industry evolves, to fine tune your ICT strategy to incorporate a healthy mixture of differing cloud technologies in order to deliver against ever changing environments, policies and business needs. For the purposes of data sovereignty, look for specialist providers who have built cloud capability around this guiding principle.

  • Pitfall: Failure to explore new options

Departments and councils must be able to cost effectively shore up their digital foundations just like their Federal counterparts. There are more options on the table than ever, thanks to providers and partners that focus on scalability, offering flexible solution sets and making high performance technology available at different price points. At Hitachi Vantara we’ve extended the impressive performance, capacity and reliability typically expected at the top end of town across our midrange solutions. Even departments with bigger workloads can start with midrange options until they’re ready to scale up.

Drive value by insisting on flexible consumption models and solution bundles that demonstrate IT vendors are working hard to meet and adapt to your needs rather than shoehorn their big bang solution into your environment.

  • Pitfall: Bearing Risks you could be Delegating

When a vendor provides personnel onsite to help customise, configure and maintain solutions, the customer still bears the risks related to the outcome. When a deal is structured as “time and materials”, any risk of overrun is born by the customer. With managed services, the provider takes on a large degree of risk that would normally be borne by your agency or department, and is bound by Service Level Agreements to deliver.

Drive value by getting the advice and assessment you need to ensure you understand when managed services can add significant value by also helping to manage risk.

  • Pitfall: Pretending any one vendor can do it all

Real-world environments are increasingly multi-vendor, multi-cloud environments. Either integration can be your IT department’s responsibility (aka headache) or you can take advantage of situations where vendors have done the hard yards for you.

Drive value by working with technology partners and IT integrators that make it a point to work well with others. De-risk with tried and proven validated designs that show a commitment to integration – and even co-creation – at an engineering and configuration level, for the benefit of the customer. 

  • Pitfall: Believing too quickly in the shiny new thing

We often hear a lot about a new technology for years before it becomes commonplace. It may even be described as a “trend” well before it is actually in general use in the market place. That’s because, while new tech is exciting and offers grandiose possibilities, in reality it takes time to ensure it is put to use with real ROI potential, sustainability and cost management attached to it. Innovation with a side order of risk management makes the most sense.

Drive value by valuing a conservative, highly intentional approach from vendors that ensure new technologies are properly engineered into viable and valuable solutions that address real needs and can be properly supported. 

  • Pitfall: Thinking of the term Future proofing as “corp speak” or “marketing bumf”.

Have you heard about “future proofing” one too many times? That is because it’s actually really important. In the most simplistic terms, it means you’ve made a decision you can build on instead of one that just works for now.

Because of modern compute requirements, modern enterprise applications, the increasing amount of data all organisations must manage, increasing cybersecurity risks and regulatory requirements and more, you absolutely must modernise your IT infrastructure. Deciding on a future-proof platform means you don’t have to make another decision next time your needs change or your requirements increase. You can just build on that base.

Drive value by working with technology partners offering future proofed solutions that are flexible enough to give you what you need now, with the potential to scale as it makes sense.

When seeking value for your IT spend, you should expect all of the above. That means solutions that can grow as your needs grow, giving you all the benefits of the public cloud, cloud services and software-defined infrastructure, while addressing your sovereignty, risk-management, security, governance and value-for-spend concerns.

Check out the exclusive session with Hitachi Vantara CTO and pre-sales Director George Dragatsis about Flexible IT Innovation: Taking a Data-Driven Approach to Scale and Complexity about:

  • The modern IT environment: (scalable, hybrid)
  • Reducing IT silos for better access, flexibility & costing model
  • Ensuring a return on innovation from your investment
  • How to integrate emerging developments in AIOps, analytics and machine learning to deliver flexible and intelligent IT innovation Watch Now

To discuss your infrastructure and storage needs, contact Hitachi Vantara.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter