Cloud Matures in Government: Corrections tender for Cloud Management Services

service-1Late last week the Department of Corrections opened a tender on the GETS looking for “Cloud Management Services.” It’s a sign of the increasing depth of use of Cloud in government and a mature move on the part of Corrections themselves to manage those services well.

The Department intends procuring Cloud Management Services to support its new initiative to adopt Cloud Infrastructure. It needs to assess the market’s ability to provide Cloud Management Services and establish a short-list of possible providers from whom it intends seeking proposals.
We want to hear from Respondents who can:

– provide Cloud Management Services that maintain and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Cloud Infrastructure

demonstrate an understanding of:

– the current market for Cloud Management Services both in New Zealand and internationally plus evolving trends;
– how their Cloud Management Services offering will evolve to remain viable for the longer term;
– their current market position in New Zealand and internationally;
– the important aspects and components of Cloud Infrastructure that require managing to maintain and improve effectiveness and efficiency; and
– how their Cloud Management Services might be provided via existing government common capabilities or might augment those common capabilities or replace them.

As we’ve noted Cloud is now well and truly in use by Government Agencies who are starting to tackle the way in which they are managed. Many agencies are now re configuring into a “Service Broker” model, some looking externally for that service and others choosing to develop it themselves.

All Cloud is hybrid, which means that the level of complexity required to manage them, increases substantively.

Corrections goes further by releasing their IT Strategy with the tender itself. This is a great move. It means that potential vendors can actually see what is driving their IT business. I think it’s ballsy, a lot of agencies hide this stuff away, Corrections should be congratulated for being up-front and transparent. It’s a good document and worth reading regardless of the tender.

PRINCIPLE: We will buy software and services from the Cloud and adapt business process to leverage global standardisation. Development will focus on areas where we are truly unique. – Corrections IT Strategy.

Corrections has a strategy to buy Cloud where it can and adapt it’s business processes to fit, unless they are truly unique, in which case they will have to build their own.

It’s a good strategy. A lot of companies are struggling with the idea of buying Cloud services and then trying to apply the bespoke hammer to them. In other words they buy a service in the Cloud, then make it unique, and suddenly find themselves in the usual situation. A unique product means long development times, higher costs, and more frustration.

Further reinforced in the detail of their strategy:

The move to cloud delivery of services is unstoppable and there will be a time when only the largest global organisations can afford to own and support a wide suite of bespoke applications.

A move to buy cloud services will require our business functions to standardise methodology around international practice. This will necessitate a shift in thinking for Corrections’ business process design. We will move away from bespoke solutions developed to address detailed specifications. Instead we will adjust our processes to fit standardised processes which are supported by cloud applications.

Now, if only everyone got that point…

It will be interesting to see the final solution that Corrections chooses to manage their Cloud Services. I suspect a lot of the local industry will template the approach and outcome as they are facing exactly the same issues.

In the meantime, the GETS documentation Corrections has provided is well worth a read. There are some great insights and gems tucked in there.


  1. Interesting. A question I suppose is ‘what is meant by “global standardisation”, what are the criteria?’ Then, what cloud service/applications have or are emerging that meet those criteria (and other acceptable service characteristics) and what’s missing? Perhaps government agencies should consider collaborating to answer such questions, and also perhaps collaborating to fill gaps. A brief analysis of functionality of government agencies indicates quite a short list of common generic functions (for example ‘applications’ for something, a license, a permit, a benefit entitlement, a passport, etc, and corresponding fulfilment management). So your point Ian about fitting processes to ‘standard application services’ could apply across government departments if they were prepared to modify their business processes to fit a common model. Actually this has been understood for a very long time with respect to ERPs, i.e. preferably modify the business not the ERP. With ERPs there has been kickback against such advice as suppressing potential competitive advantage, which of course doesn’t apply to government.

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