Disruption breeds innovation; cloud makes it sustainable
Mark Palmer, Head of Public Sector EMEA, Google Cloud
Mark joined Google Cloud in 2018 bringing 35 years experience in the technology industry from across the Public Sector, Defence and Healthcare markets. Google Cloud provides an extensive portfolio of infrastructure, data management, analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities to enterprise customers, as well as G Suite (now Workspace) & Chrome.
Mark is a Chartered Engineer and a fellow of the British Computing Society. He has a degree in Electronic Engineering as well as an MBA. He has had business assignments in Italy and also Washington D.C.
They say that “disruption breeds innovation”, but what happens when it becomes the new normal? Enter cloud computing, enabling innovation and a new business-as-usual.
Rapid shifts in consumer preferences and the accelerating evolution of technology are changing every aspect of our lives. These forces have inevitably accelerated digital transformation across many sectors, including how public services are delivered. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all to reimagine how we operate.
Take for example how manufacturers shifted production lines to make essential PPE instead of handbags or perfume. Or how healthcare organisations globally have been able to effectively track and manage resources to meet the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. Or how governments have rolled out new digital services to citizens in record time. As a society, we have come up with some remarkable responses to meet this global challenge head on.
But, do we have to operate in ‘crisis-mode’ to ignite innovation? It is possible, as we all try to return to some normality, that sustaining these remarkable responses becomes an increasingly tough ask. Particularly when legacy infrastructure and old ways of working prevent even leading organisations from delivering the pace and agility required to power recovery.
With disruption becoming the status-quo, we need to be able to respond to ongoing and unpredictable change. Organisations need to drive agility into the core of how they operate. Those set up for success are those who can scale to meet overwhelming demand and spot the detail of one data-set or pattern; those who can scramble diverse teams to solve problems – even from home; those who have the technology infrastructure to allow them to pivot at pace, delivering new products and services in days – not months or years.
How do traditional organisations achieve that? Many find the answer in the form of a scalable and dynamic cloud platform.
During the pandemic, Google Cloud customers have been able to leverage data – at scale – to develop new and innovative technologies to provide support in these challenging times. What’s more, they have been able to respond while operating under significant constraints themselves, all the while maintaining the security of citizen and government data.
Consider some of their responses to these challenging times:
- Supporting citizens with information to keep them safe is essential as the pandemic evolves. The Australian Government Department of Health rapidly built a citizen facing application providing real-time information and advice to keep citizens up-to-date.
- Developing a vaccine and other treatments to manage COVID-19 remains a top priority. Research institutions like Harvard Medical School continue to benefit from free access to vital datasets to accelerate collaborative research into the disease. Google also deployed ‘Search’ technology to help research organisations interpret huge data volumes.
- Creating solutions to contain the virus is crucial. Governments and epidemiologists are monitoring the impact of lock-down policies and developing appropriate capacity and social distancing measures by tracking citizen movement in towns, stations, airports – even around the globe – through anonymised, aggregated data in real-time Community Mobility Reports.
- Many countries are rapidly launching new services to support citizens. New York State’s Dept of Labor received unprecedented spikes in unemployment benefits applications. By leveraging cloud technology to scale enquiry handling and data capture, they quickly implemented a streamlined, user-friendly process to manage demand and analyse key trends in real-time.
The common thread through these success stories is the organisation’s ability to rapidly absorb and analyse vast quantities of data. Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools deliver rapid insights from massive datasets – both in real time, and with the context of historical information to enable data-driven decision-making.
When citizens and consumers expect rapid responses and digital services, cloud reduces dependency on complex application development and systems integration projects. Most importantly though, it offers the security to be able to scale and flex to meet future challenges without skipping a beat.
The real magic is that cloud allows organisations to focus on agility and innovation by reducing focus on building and maintaining technology platforms. Teams are empowered to focus on delivering value and solving mission-critical issues – while highly automated and scalable cloud platforms manage the rest, and reduce the risk and cost of innovation initiatives.
The effective use of cloud computing will become ever more essential to help navigate the unknown. Cloud delivers a scalable environment that can readily adapt to new business operating models. With global trends in continuous flux, the innovation and agility that cloud enables will be vital; by helping organisations plan and build for a more certain future.
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SVP Public Sector & Defence, Northern Europe