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COVID-19 spurs on public sector IT modernisation

Public sector ‘cloud smart' strategies have been encouraged by COVID-19, according to a new report from Nutanix.

The third annual Enterprise Cloud Index Report measured organisations' plans for adopting private, hybrid and public clouds.

The findings point to a concentrated modernisation effort throughout the sector over the past few months, with 70% of respondents saying COVID-19 has caused IT to be viewed more strategically in their organisations.

This COVID-19-spurred push is especially notable, given that the public sector has struggled with IT modernisation efforts, Nutanix states.

According to Nutanix, while public sector organisations have historically grappled with regulations that deter telework, the pandemic forced them to take necessary steps to securely support a remote workforce.

The report finds nearly half (48%) of global public sector respondents said their organisations had no employees working remotely one year ago.

However, since the onset of the pandemic, the sector has scaled its number of remote workers, with only 15% and 11% of respondents reporting employing zero remote workers today.

In order to effectively support this growing remote workforce, organisations have begun strategically evaluating their cloud models. More than three-fourths (82%) of global public sector respondents identified hybrid cloud as the ideal IT operating model for their organisation.

The report also found that modernisation is dependent on decommissioning legacy architectures.

In 2019, 53% of global public sector organisations exclusively ran traditional, non-cloud-enabled data centers. In 2020, that percentage dropped to 22%.

Organisations are choosing to invest in private and public clouds instead, which will be integrated into a cohesively managed hybrid environment.

Over the next five years, the public sector expects a 20-percentage-point drop in legacy datacenter installations and a substantial 43-point increase in hybrid cloud deployments.

According to Nutanix, telework remains top-of-mind. In fact, 43% of public sector respondents reported a direct increase in their public cloud investments as a direct result of the pandemic - eight points higher than the global average.

These moves likely reflect an effort to quickly provide for teleworking employees, as past restrictions made them less capable of providing work-from-home solutions than other industries.

Moreover, most entities in this sector are planning to maintain support for telework, with only 4% planning to go back to their pre-pandemic approach.

Finally, the Nutanix report found security plays a large factor in deployment decisions. All respondents cited security as a significant concern affecting hybrid cloud management.

According to the report, growing maturity of government community clouds and security programs can help mitigate these concerns.

Nutanix VP public sector of US sales, Chip George, says, “The public sector has struggled with IT modernisation efforts, due in part to the regulatory and security challenges in the industry.

“However, the rapid IT changes that were implemented in order to maintain seamless operations at the onset of the pandemic proved that modernisation could be accomplished in a cost-effective and streamlined manner, all while keeping regulations in mind.

"Looking ahead, I believe the public sector will continue to expand its reliance on hybrid cloud models to support increasingly digitised workplace operations.

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