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AJAX & REA Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White, Cloud Best Practices Network, Liz McMillan

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The Catalyst Opportunity for Standardized ‘Cloud Sourcing’

NIST is the American standards organization and so of course the USA is also following these guidelines

Faced with a need to find huge cost reductions the Province of Ontario is in the same place as many governments throughout the world – They’ve shouldered the debt to see us through the financial meltdown and now need to be smart about how they digest what they’ve taken on.

They’re also in the same place in that they’re presented with the massive opportunity of Cloud Computing and what role this IT industry trend might play in meeting this challenge, the basis of our report.

The catalyst part of the title refers to the fact that Ontario, as part of Canada, also has an ongoing challenge of the dreaded “Innovation Gap“, meaning that as well as saving costs it still needs to keep growing innovation, especially in the technology market.

Cloud offers a double whammy because it can do both.

Helping Ontario save millions in costs through helping them move to new modern technologies is of course a smart thing to do, and because they are like so many other governments throughout the world, mastering this skillset is also the process of building a new global industry.

Standardized Cloud Sourcing

It’s the global aspect of this that’s critically important.

Recently the UK Government posted their procurement RFP for ‘G-Cloud’ services, with Microsoft being one of the winners announced.

You’ll see in this announcement that the UK categorized their Cloud services in line with the NIST standards: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, enabling Microsoft to submit multiple associated product offerings such as Office 365 (SaaS) as well as Azure (PaaS).

NIST is the American standards organization and so of course the USA is also following these guidelines, as are many others including Canada. Their GC Community Cloud program is based on the same framework too, highlighting what this points to is standardized procurement for GovCloud globally.

This itself offers a number of different ways to generate cost-savings. For example as this news reports the Cabinet Office is reporting savings of over $100m simply through standardized contract sourcing for Oracle software, and this principle can be repeated across all other aspects of IT, including infrastructure services.

‘Cloud Sourcing’ is the term used to describe the procurement best practices for buying and migrating IT to Cloud services, and this is becoming a hot area too, with ‘Cloud Brokers’ emerging as organization who manage this process to make it even easier for organizations to move to Cloud and enjoy big savings.

The catalyst effect, to also drive local Canadian innovation, is that smart service providers will be quick to adopt these standards, so they can make themselves more attractive for Government buyers, like Ontario.

In the recent NIST Cloud Best Practices document, they make this critical point:

“Federal agencies should request that cloud service providers categorize their services using the NIST Cloud Computing Reference Architecture.

This can be accomplished by the vendor’s “mapping” of services to the reference architecture, and presenting this “mapping” along with the vendor’s customized marketing and technical information.

The reference architecture mapping provides a common and consistent frame of reference to compare vendor offerings when evaluating and procuring cloud services.”

This is exactly right, this is the opportunity presented to both the Cloud industry as well as the public sector, which is that if service providers standardize on the NIST models this way, it will streamline ordering and encourage more buying in general in such a way as to be a ‘rising tide that floats all boats’.

If Canadian firms are quick to be early adopters, then as well as growing local Government business they are setting themselves up for international expansion too, generating more revenues and jobs for provinces like Ontario.

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The Cloud Best Practices Network is an expert community of leading Cloud pioneers. Follow our best practice blogs at http://CloudBestPractices.net

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