Public Sector Future Podcast | Episode 22: Government migration to cloud ecosystems

Episode 22 guest speaker, Dr. Rami Amin

Government migration to cloud ecosystems

with Dr. Rami Amin

Dr. Rami Amin is based in the Digital Development Practice at the World Bank Group, leading global advisory work on how to accelerate digital transformation, sectoral investment, and economic growth. He is a lead author of the World Bank’s Government Cloud Migration report.

Episode 22: Government migration to cloud ecosystems

Public Sector Future

Episode summary

In this episode host Olivia Neal speaks to Dr. Rami Amin, the lead author of the World Bank’s new report Government Migration to Cloud Ecosystems: Multiple Options, Significant Benefits, Manageable Risks. We explore his findings, how digital transformation has developed as a priority and common misconceptions about cloud. He shares lessons learned and practical steps for governments around the world.

Listen to this episode on any of these podcast platforms:

Understanding cloud migration options with Dr. Rami Amin of the World Bank Group

Dr. Rami Amin is a lead author of the World Bank’s new report Government Migration to Cloud Ecosystems: Multiple Options, Significant Benefits, Manageable Risks.

We explore his findings, how digital transformation has developed as a priority and common misconceptions about cloud. He shares lessons learned and practical steps for governments around the world.

Role of the World Bank

Amin explained that the World Bank is a development bank, with two primary areas of activity: financing; and providing knowledge and technical expertise.

“You could think of it as a financial bank, but also a knowledge bank, and its overall mission is the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and building shared prosperity,” Amin shared.

Emergence of digital transformation as a priority

Since its inception in 1944, priorities of the World Bank have evolved in response to the needs of its clients. Amin shared that “the needs of digital transformation have absolutely skyrocketed and accelerated from our clients,” and in response, the current digital development practice has evolved.

The World Bank is structured regionally and thematically. Thematic focuses cover areas such as infrastructure and human capital. The digital development unit is found within the infrastructure practice.

Why was the report commissioned?

Amin shared that the work was driven by demand from governments seeking to better understand options on how to accelerate digital transformation and the latest technologies available.

Amin explained that the report addresses questions commonly asked by government clients, such as “what is cloud computing, what are cloud services, what is the public cloud, what is the private cloud, does public mean all my data is public?”

Key findings from the report

Amin explained that the report falls into two sections.

The first section provides factual information on “the lay of the land on what is cloud, what do all these different words and definitions mean, and what are the potential benefits that that they can bring for public service delivery and governments more broadly.” It outlines “the different options that are available, the different cloud models, the different cloud architectures, how different sorts of clouds can be united and work together.”

Amin recognized that while this information is not necessarily new, for governments working with the World Bank, receiving this information from a trusted source can help to build confidence.

The second section of the report aims to provide practical guidance to help governments who have chosen to migrate to cloud to navigate the decision-making process and next steps.

The role of hyperscale cloud for governments

Amin shares his perspective that “hyper-scaler service providers are an absolute critical part of the solutions that are available for governments to choose from.”

He explained that “hyper-scalers do have a couple of really unique features about them, and a lot of those come from the sheer size of these service providers, and the efficiencies that come through that scale.”

Cybersecurity benefits of hyperscale cloud

Amin highlighted two particular areas where hyperscale cloud provides major benefits – cybersecurity and sustainability.

In relation to cybersecurity, Amin explained that “if you think about who a lot of our clients are in the global south, they’re operating in radically different environments and contexts where the capacity for cybersecurity just isn’t there.”

There can be great benefits to “offloading some of that cybersecurity responsibility when you put your data out to a hyper-scaler who can help secure it in certain ways, but also ensure that the constant updates are going to be there with access to the latest cybersecurity features that are all informed and defined now by the latest AI and machine learning in real time.”

Sustainability and cloud

Amin highlighted the investment, engineering, and innovation taking place by hyperscale cloud providers to “radically improve the sustainability impact” of their data centers.

He outlined three areas that play a part in the sustainability action in relation to cloud:

  • Reductions in demands on energy
  • Use of renewable energy
  • Water sustainability

Amin identified that as hyperscaler cloud providers continue to invest in these areas, these can help governments in both the developed and the developing worlds meet their own climate and sustainability goals, as they make use of these solutions.

Common misconceptions of cloud solutions

Amin shared that through this research he recognized how prevalent misconceptions and confusion around different cloud solutions are. For example, “the word ‘public’ really triggers a lot of people.”

As innovation continues, Amin explained that “this has just been a fascinating insight, the recognition that we have to continually keep training and staying on top of this discussion, not only externally for our clients, but also internally with staff within the World Bank.”

Steps to take now

Amin explained that the report lays out a three-part framework, with guidance for governments on:

  • Policy steps
  • Strategic steps
  • Operational steps

Amin recommended that governments focus on developing the most optimal approach to data classification and localization requirements to meet their contexts. He explains that “not all data needs to have the same level of security,” and that the benefits of use of data need to be supported by classification that is appropriate for a country.

Best practices from around the world

The report highlights a selection of approaches taken by governments around the world in relation to cloud adoption.

Amin highlights the cloud-first policy of the UK Government as “a very good model to look at” and recommends examples of innovation from other regions for inspiration., such as Rwanda, who have “an incredibly forward-looking government when it comes to ICT and digital transformation.”

Next steps for the World Bank’s cloud agenda

Amin explained that focus on cloud within the World Bank has partly been driven by the World Development Report 2021. The theme of the 2021 report was data for development, and Amin explains that “to have the best of data, the remixing of data to yield all sorts of new and innovative applications within the domain of economic development, cloud is a really important part of that story.”

Amin and his colleagues are currently collaborating on a new flagship global report that will broaden this research to look more deeply into: sustainability; legal and regulatory and policy issues; and economic impacts, for example on employment and GDP growth.

To find out more:

Read the full report on the World Bank’s website

Learn more from the World Bank on cloud adoption

Read more about how using the cloud can support environmental sustainability

Learn more about Microsoft’s approach to cybersecurity

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