Governance and cloud: An increasing presence of cloud computing in e-governance

SaaS Article -SaaS-in-Politics(source: SaaS Industry)
At a Glance

Reports state that cloud computing has turned attractive for governments worldwide due to its increased reliability, security, lower maintenance costs, and other features. Over the years, many governments have become early adopters of cloud infrastructure. The presence is likely to grow, eventually turning into a fundamental infrastructure for a nation’s economy, national security, and society as a whole

Governing a nation is not an easy task. The process of effectively governing one is subject to evolving changes with respect to population, their needs, and the rapidly changing nature of geopolitics and crucial political decisions. In today’s changing world, driven by the internet, governance is influenced by cloud computing, in greater significance than expectations.

Cloud computing has influenced the very organization of governance and paved the way for the growing style of e-governance, eventually making changes and additions to the structure of political activities in the process. Across the world, governments are also embracing IT services, gradually increasing the budget allocated towards the same, realizing their importance. Trends indicate governments’ welcoming e-governance initiatives to deliver interactive services to citizens and businesses. 

According to reports, cloud computing supplements various activities involved in a nation’s political activities. For instance, today, a number of state governments have considered using/or using cloud computing infrastructure to help manage voting during public health crises like COVID-19. Features offered by Amazon Web Services for elections, for improving voter experience, and McAfee, for managing cybersecurity issues are some such examples. Major players such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI), The Republican National Committee, The Democratic National Committee in the U.S. have moved their operations to the cloud to gather, serve and deliver voter data to other political organizations.

Elections asunder, cloud infrastructure would help governments reduce their barriers to implementation of policies and schemes, eliminate delays, cut costs, and foster interagency cooperation, which is vital for any democratic system of governance. Reports indicate that the likes of governments like Washington, DC, have already availed the benefits offered by the huge potential of Cloud computing in e-governance and have demonstrated them to spread the word. Vivek Kundra, COO at Sprinklr, previously held the office of chief information officer at the White House, had once asked numerous employees in the DC to migrate to google email and cloud-based office software.

Why should I spend millions on enterprise apps when I can do it at one-tenth the cost and ten times the speed. It is a win-win for me

Vivek Kundra, COO at Sprinklr

Hence, ranging from their applications in elections and to providing security for government run-websites, cloud computing plays its part. It is also important to note that governance does not stop at delivering benefits to the beneficiaries. Its scope widens and touches areas of political campaigning as well. This has been happening across numerous nations. Microsoft, for instance, had launched its suite of tools for political campaigns and activist groups- CampaignReady, which is based on an interactive platform TownHall, which runs on the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

Data indicates that one of the applications inside this tool is Microsoft TownHall that can organize and conduct online conversations and drive discussions on critical issues. Being hosted on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, Townhall serves as the ideal tool for politicians unwilling to manage and buy bulky technical infrastructure. 

According to a research paper by Balakrishnan Subramanian, enunciating the impact of cloud computing technology in governance, published in the Data Science Foundation,

Cloud computing comes to the aid of administration systems that are under pressure to deliver anytime available services to high numbers of simultaneous users. Adding that cloud computing is the future of education, healthcare, and e-governance, he added,

In this age of exponential technical growth and the speed with which users’ demands are changing, only cloud-based systems have the fixability to keep one step ahead of redundancy. What many considered to be the risky option just ten years ago is now becoming an industry standard

the paper states.

Powered by features such as reduced capital outlays, minimized labor cost (as governments need not spend on management cost), interoperability (between government departments and agencies), and scalability (by handling uncertainty), cloud in e-governance offers benefits in the areas like the following,

  • Agriculture
  • Deployment of Citizen Services
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Case Management and Legal Records
  • Health and Land Records
  • Education
  • Management Information System (MIS), and much more.

Micheal R Nelson, a senior fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former director of internet technology and strategy at IBM stressed in 2009 the need for government policies to be flexible to adopt the growing technology of cloud. Today, the concept of e-governance has a significant impact on the political activities of a nation. The trend looks to move further in the directions, with enhanced features and security.

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