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Few local governments follow a smooth course from on-premise IT to doing everything in the cloud. Most overhaul each system when it’s convenient.This results in a patchwork IT estate of cloud and on-premise systems.


  • Cloud supports cities’ top priorities: joined-up services, mobile working, and data-driven decisions.
  • Government follows the path of least resistance. Low-priority and low-risk systems tend to get the cloud treatment first.
  • High-priority IT is a low priority for cloud disruption. The need to “keep the lights on” means the most essential IT systems are often the most antiquated.

Features and Benefits

  • Identifies what drives local government to adopt cloud services and what holds it back.
  • Analyzes the strategies local governments use to migrate core IT to the cloud without disrupting essential services.

Key questions answered

  • What are the main challenges to local governments trying to adopt cloud services?
  • Where do local governments usually start when moving to the cloud?
  • How can local government get new cloud systems and old on-premise IT to work together?
  • What must local governments do to keep essential services running while the IT that underpins them is replaced with cloud-based systems?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for government
  • Recommendations for vendors

Cloud supports cities’ top priorities

  • The digital credo: “I believe in lower costs and better services”
  • Cloud gets services out of silos and helps meet rising demand
  • Cloud helps cities adopt new working practices
  • Cloud services support smart cities and smart decisions

Obstacles to cloud are trickier for local government

  • Public sector skill shortages hit local government hardest

Government follows the path of least resistance

  • New and low-priority systems tend to go to the cloud first
  • Local governments use cloud to support field workers

Cities need new and old systems to work together

  • Contracts, sunk costs, and feudal lords stagger cloud adoption
  • Patchwork cloud adoption drives demand for middleware

High-priority IT is a low priority for cloud adoption

  • Low-priority cloud projects prepare staff for the trickier stuff
  • Major cloud transformation often requires additional services
  • Digital services drive case management into the cloud
  • Revenues and benefits often go to the cloud through BPO


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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