SA Government Embraces Office 365

Improved service delivery, reduced government system downtime, the digital issuing of bills and government notices, and saving taxpayers’ money by spending less on computer hardware and software licenses – these are all benefits South African citizens can look forward to once the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) has migrated the SA Government to cloud services.

Dr Setumo Mohapi, CEO, SITA, has reportedly confirmed a master agreement with Microsoft to standardise on Office 365 across all government departments and institutions. As part of the project’s initial stages, SITA is gathering information from departments to find out which software they’re using, while also communicating the project’s deadlines.

However, there are certain factors that come into play when considering such a mammoth migration:  how secure will cloud-stored government data be; the high cost of data in SA; inadequate and inconsistent Internet coverage; and other compliance and legislative concerns.

According to reports, Pandelani Munyai, Chief Technical Officer, SITA, admitted that “Government wasn’t quite ready to move into the cloud”. He is quoted as saying that “SITA’s hands are tied as Government hasn’t yet agreed on a policy of which data may be in the cloud, which data may only reside locally and which data could be stored anywhere”.

That said, SITA is determined and eager to keep the ball rolling. To quote Zukile Nomvete, Chair, SITA: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is indeed upon us.” He says this transformation journey will make it possible for SA to establish a Government Cloud Platform – pivotal in delivering easily accessible cross-dependant solutions to all departments, and in enabling digital capability to citizens.

What are the positives of Office 365 for government?

  • Local industry role-players reportedly say Government will now be able present services faster and at a lower cost to citizens.
  • Public servants won’t have to spend so much time on administration and processes, freeing them up to deliver enhanced services.
  • More great news is that various cloud-enabled Smart Citizen projects – facilitating bi-directional engagement between city service providers and citizens – will now likely see the light. These projects employ the smartphone to connect people with the city, and vice versa, to help improve the environment, service levels and customer satisfaction.

Governments abroad, that are already picking the fruit of migrating to Microsoft Office 365, list some benefits:

  • improved security compliance
  • support for bring-your-own-device initiatives
  • access to the latest collaboration and messaging services
  • a searchable archive

Overall a far more integrated and shareable solution. They praise cloud services for bringing down costs, boosting productivity and modernising government technology.

So, SA Government’s planned migration to the cloud could only result in good for the country. However, it will require a team effort, cloud-specific training and without a doubt, outstanding connectivity.

At Evolv Networks, a Microsoft Cloud Platform and Cloud Productivity Competency Partner, we’re already seeing the significant impact it has when an organisation decides to develop a cloud migration strategy. If your business is considering taking the first step in the cloud journey or interested in finding out about Microsoft Office 365’s business benefits, contact us.