Govt app store levels playing field

Having applications in the cloud can help administrations such as Singapore, resolve infrastructure inadequacies and better utilize resources, says analyst.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--There is value for administrations such as the Singapore government, to implement a public-sector app store, according to an analyst based in the island-state.

Dane Anderson, CEO and executive vice president of research at Springboard Research, told ZDNet Asia Thursday in an interview, platforms that allow apps to be developed centrally could resolve integration headaches and lead to more efficient use of resources.

Citing healthcare as an example, Anderson pointed out that e-medical records initiatives have often in the past "tripped up" due to integration problems such as disparate data formats, existence of different technologies and versions, and a lack of appropriate infrastructure.

"A healthcare cloud application developed by the Ministry of Health, [could be made] available for free [or chargeable] to all hospitals, labs, et cetera, with certain privacy and security stipulations," he said.

"Basically all [the organizations] need is an Internet connection," he added. "Maybe there will be some other security systems like thumbprint or card…they don't then necessarily need that server, they don't need the software--it simplifies [access to an application] for them enormously."

Anderson noted "there is a lot of opportunity and potential" for an app store concept within the public sector. "That ability to centrally develop and extend it to the constituents--businesses or consumers--is a very powerful thing."

The United Kingdom, for example, is exploring the initiative. Last month, U.K. government CIO John Suffolk said in an online forum that he was weighing the possibility of a public-sector app store, in the same vein as those developed by commercial entities such as Apple.

In a media briefing Thursday hosted by Hewlett-Packard to address cloud opportunities for the Singapore government, Anderson noted that cloud computing is one of 10 public sector trends in the Asia-Pacific region. Springboard Research highlighted in a statement last week, that cloud computing and green IT would achieve greater adoption by the country's public sector in the near future.

C.C. Lee, worldwide marketing director for adaptive infrastructure program at HP's technology solutions group, noted the "emergence of a lot of" case studies of cloud computing that could apply to the Singapore government.

However, cloud computing will not replace traditional infrastructure--organizations will adopt a hybrid model of computing, he said. Organizations, including public sector agencies need to consider the demands of users and the sensitivity of the information to determine the type of cloud model to pursue.

Typically, organizations first decide the types of compute workloads that should remain dedicated within their organization, and those that can be shared or outsourced, following which they consider an on-premise or off-premise solution.

Cloud computing "adds a third dimension", said Lee, as organizations now have to consider provisioning an internal cloud within just one data center, opt for private clouds to link up multiple data centers, or move to the public cloud.

The key to such a transformation is "ruthless standardization" and flexibility in sourcing, he added.

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