The Queensland government has taken its first tentative steps towards building the foundations for its cloud-first approach to IT procurement, working with industry to establish a cloud service brokerage layer for agencies.
Mid last year, the then-Liberal state government told agencies that cloud solutions would become the default for IT procurement, unless a sound business case could be put forward for a different option.
The new cloud-first policy came coupled with an implementation model detailing how best to get government agencies cloud-ready, how to build cloud foundations, how to transition agencies to cloud solutions, how cloud solutions will be procured, and how the new approach will be governed.
The state’s strategy outlined a future state for the government’s envisioned ‘trusted cloud ecosystem’ - which would be made up of a services storefront through which brokers, cloud service providers, consultants and others would operate.
To build this ecosystem, the state government will require a so-called ‘cloud service brokerage’ to act as an intermediary between cloud service providers and government consumers.
This brokerage layer would “reduce the risk in consuming cloud services and assist government agencies to maintain a level of strategic control and governance over a diverse and rapidly evolving cloud environment.”
Following its implementation, agencies would transition to become internal brokers between current in-house IT delivery and the use of third-party cloud services, with lead agency brokers appointed for agency clusters.
The state government - which approached industry for the best way to tackle a cloud brokerage layer late last week - expects this intermediary to reduce the amount of time and effort taken to acquire and provide cloud-based services to government agencies.
Such an arrangement would also offer transparency on costs and the ability to leverage pricing based on volume demand; standardised approaches to technology; reduced complexity of supplier management; and transparency of available services from suppliers, among other things.
The state government has asked industry whether technology providers are ready to deliver such services and how long they would take to conform to the new approach.
It also wants advice on which technical brokerage platforms to use to build a cloud service storefront and marketplace, identity federation platform for shared and cross-agency services, and an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud management platform.
Readies for supplier recruitment
The amount of IaaS suppliers to be appointed will be smaller than those supplying software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, and will be cemented before SaaS suppliers given the “availability of mature cloud management platforms”, the state government said.
Once it has its commercial, business and operational models for the brokerage layer locked down, the state government will pilot external suppliers for IaaS and SaaS services, it said in tender documents.
It will test the usefulness of having an external 'cloud broker' provide market research, negotiations, accrediation and other services including migration and integration for software-as-a-service.
For IaaS, the state government is looking to similarly test an external broker to provide a cloud management platform to a whole-of-government community IaaS cloud.