Although data security concerns may have held back early adoption, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated cloud usage and digital transformation within public service organizations in many countries around the world. In a recent study, Accenture surveyed 364 public service executives at both the local and federal levels in six countries—Australia, Canada, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States—to learn about the public sector’s cloud adoptions strategies.

According to the Accenture study, 83% of public service agency leaders agree or strongly agree that the cloud is essential to innovation and new business models, and public service leaders do not see this momentum slowing. In fact, 72% of public service leaders expect their need for cloud computing capacity to more than double in the next two to three years, and 57% of public service executives believe that moving to the cloud is business critical.

In addition to documenting the accelerating growth of the cloud in the public sector, the study outlines the following steps that public service leaders can take to make the most of their cloud investment:

  1. Establish standard practices to support ongoing adoption of cloud-based technologies and operating models. For example, for data security, organizations can adopt and rely on the security measures provided by public cloud providers.
  2. Prioritize user experience. Citizens will continue to expect digital services from their public service organizations that are on par with those they receive from the private sector. Organizations can use cloud solutions to make current services more accessible to the public as well as accelerating the pace that new services and experiences are made available.
  3. Cloud adoption allows public service organizations to access advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and leaders should consider the use of these technologies in putting together their roadmaps for future developments.
  4. Seek commitment from leadership. While everyone across the organization should be aware of the cloud initiatives, leadership needs to understand the advantages that the cloud provides to fully support its adoption.

The pandemic sped up cloud adoption, including within public service organizations, and public sector leaders have indicated that the move to the cloud will continue. This change will positively impact public service for years to come.