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Head in the cloud: why the rise of remote working is fueling the adoption of cloud-centric working practices in the public sector

Migration of services to the cloud is a core component of the Public Sector’s’ digital strategy; and this brings huge benefits for all kinds of activity – including building systems management across the Government’s estate, says Priva General Manager UK & Ireland Gavin Holvey.

The ability of the cloud to deliver greater accessibility, scalability and resilience to the corporate world was established long before the dramatic events of the last 12 months. But no one could deny that the pandemic has served to further underline the advantages of cloud-centric operations – and as such is destined to result in accelerated migration to the cloud for all kinds of businesses.

A recent blog by a team at global management consultancy McKinsey summarises many of the key factors at work here. Suggesting that recent events make “cloud computing more important than ever”, McKinsey highlights the centrality of the cloud to achieving corporate agility and effective “digital strategies”. With customer demands becoming more extensive and nuanced, the cloud can also help both private and public sector organisations to respond more quickly – paving the way for the deployment of “new digital customer experiences in days rather than months, [as well as] support analytics that would be uneconomical or simply impossible with traditional technology platforms.” (1)

Remote workers

But the huge internal benefits of shifting to the cloud should also not be underestimated. For remote workers dialing in to on-premise systems can be an option, however, sharp spikes in traffic can mean significant challenges if spare capacity is not available. Far better, then, to have employees reliably connect through their home broadband to your organisation’s networks via the cloud – and then use only the systems or materials they actually require for their work. Resources can be managed more effectively in the cloud, whilst there is also the benefit of having access to the kind of robust security measures built into leading platforms such as Amazon Web Services’ S3 and Microsoft Azure.

A recent report by recruitment agency Manpower leaves us in no doubt that this trend will continue post-pandemic (2). With the cloud contributing significantly to operational continuity, the Manpower cites a recent finding by Centrify that 51% of business leaders think a shift to a cloud-based business model has “saved” their company during Covid-19. As a majority of employers plan to increase their reliance on the cloud, it is evident that “cloud adoption has come of age” in the past year. 

This approach brings with it quantifiable benefits: according to a 2019 report from Deloittes, “the cumulative productivity benefits of public cloud to the government sector could already be over $2 billion over the last 5 years. (3)” These figures are hard to ignore in any sector but, perhaps more so for those in the public spare – where scrutiny and value for the tax-payer is part of daily life. 

‘Freedom and flexibility’

With many public sector employees also relishing what Manpower describes as the “freedom and flexibility to be able to work from anywhere”, the overall direction of travel is now clear. For a technology developer such as Priva, this translates to a sustained focus on solutions that complement this emerging ethos of cloud-centric operations.

The good news is that we are already some way down this road thanks to developments such as Priva Remote Management, which uses the cloud to allow building management systems to be operated, managed and maintained remotely. Like all of our cloud-related products, it was built using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, which was chosen for reasons including its scalability and advanced security measures.

Whilst there is still likely to be a role or on-premise solutions for purposes such as archiving, the probability that is the vast majority of active business operations will be cloud-based within a few years. As employees working from home more routinely adds to the momentum, it is the organisations who take steps now to achieve a seamless migration to the cloud who will be best-positioned for the future.

PRIVA BUILDING OPERATOR BUILDING MANAGEMENT AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

Priva Building Operator is designed to make remote management of buildings as simple as possible. Our cloud-connected application offers real-time insight into the status of building systems and allows users to make adjustments to their building management system (BMS) from any device, flexibly and easily.  

Once the application is installed, it offers insights into indoor climate, lightning and energy consumption. It can be monitored and visualised via any smartphone, tablet or computer. From an estate management perspective, energy use and comfort levels inside your building are easier to manage and control – which saves, time and money and carbon – and enhances the wellbeing of the building’s users.

Sources:

(1)   https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/three-actions-ceos-can-take-to-get-value-from-cloud-computing

(2)   https://www.manpowergroup.co.uk/the-word-on-work/cloud-adoption-comes-age-covid-19-pandemic/

(3)   https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/au/Documents/Economics/deloitte-au-economics-value-public-cloud-services-australia-220319.pdf

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