A Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in South African Government


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Technology adoption is always a critical concern in organizations (private and public). South African government experienced this encounter when adopted Open Source Software (OSS) with the objective to reduce ICT services costs among others. The implementation of OSS in SA government has faced several challenges such as user resistance, human factor, support and funding. As a result of these challenges cost reduction has not been fully achieved. Cost reduction issue ultimately affects implementation of other government programmes such as those who yields job creation, better education, and improving health, etc. The potential alternative to address the same objective as aimed by OSS is Cloud Computing adoption. Cloud Computing promise to offer the SA government more advantages OSS. This study explore the feasibility of Cloud Computing adoption as an alternative to enable cost reduction, effectiveness and efficient of IT services in SA government as was aimed by OSS initiative.

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A Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in South African Government

  1. 1. International Conference on Business Management & Information Systems, 2013 A Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in South African Government: A Case of Department of Social Development Simon Motlatsi Maluleka and Nkqubela Ruxwana Business Information Systems, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa E-mail: motlatsi@magicmail.co.za; nkqubz@yahoo.co.uk ABSTRACT Technology adoption is always a critical concern in organizations (private and public). South African government experienced this encounter when adopted Open Source Software (OSS) with the objective to reduce ICT services costs among others. The implementation of OSS in SA government has faced several challenges such as user resistance, human factor, support and funding. As a result of these challenges cost reduction has not been fully achieved. Cost reduction issue ultimately affects implementation of other government programmes such as those who yields job creation, better education, and improving health, etc.     The potential alternative to address the same objective as aimed by OSS is Cloud Computing adoption. Cloud Computing promise to offer the SA government more advantages OSS. This study explore the feasibility of Cloud Computing adoption as an alternative to enable cost reduction, effectiveness and efficient of IT services in SA government as was aimed by OSS initiative.     To achieve this purpose, the study applied different methods and techniques such as the case study research approach. The data was collected using semi-structured interviews and closeended questionnaires techniques. The Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory was the underpinning theoretical framework.     Key findings were that Cloud Computing promise to reduce ICT cost, effective and efficient. The study also recommended Cloud Computing be adopted in SA government as a cost effective approach for ICT services. Keywords: Adoption, Cloud computing, Open source software, Innovation, Government INTRODUCTION The adoption of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions brings about several potentials for most organisations (both public and private), such as enabling efficiency, effectiveness, and gaining and sustaining the competitive edge [1]. With higher acquisition and
  2. 2. A Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in South African Government 89 maintenance costs being the common barriers of ICT exploitation by government organisations, and other developing organisations, it resulted to several developments of ICT solutions that promised to reduce the total cost and to enable access and wider adoption of ICT solutions. In South African government Open Source Software (OSS) was one of such adopted cost reduction ICT initiatives. The South African government then attempted to implement OSS to replace traditional proprietary software to achieve several objectives such as software cost reduction and speeding up technological advancement. However, these objectives have not been achieved to a great extent. To attest the implementation of OSS, [2], [3] mentioned that the implementation of OSS has numerous challenges which includes support, funding, training, awareness and human factor which result in the unsuccessful implementation of OSS in SA government. As a result, only about 35% of government departments utilize OSS, in certain aspects of their business operations [3]. This shows that OSS implementation is failing and negatively impacting on the initial objectives aimed to achieve. Therefore, SA government needs to consider Cloud Computing as an alternative solution to achieve cost reduction objective and other benefits that will add value and be more competitive. Cloud Computing can provide primary contribution to promote growth and competitive which it help the economy of the country. It is used as a mechanism to avoid large up-front costs and hardware/software spending [46]. Cloud Computing frees customers from the expense of having to install and maintain applications locally [47]. It is thus important to investigate adoption of Cloud Computing in SA government as a cost reduction approach and how it will promote growth and competition in government. This study therefore is of the view that Cloud Computing initiative can easily be implemented and can even add more economic value than that of OSS. In concurrence, [48] also asserts that cloud technology can give organisation significant opportunities for agility and cost reduction. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore how Cloud Computing can be adopted as an alternative to enable cost reduction, effectiveness and efficiency of ICT services in SA government as was aimed by OSS initiative. LITERATURE REVIEW The Notion of Cloud Computing Definition Define Cloud Computing in five principles which are: [4] •  •  •  •  •  Pooled computing resources that is centralized to easy user accessibility Virtualized computing resources Flexible scaling based on the user requirements Resource usage charged per use Customized according to user needs Cloud Computing is therefore a model that has a pool of resources that are abstracted and have a centralised (virtual) point for convenient user access.
  3. 3. 90 Recent Trends in Business Management and Information Systems Fig. 1: NIST Cloud Computing Model Figure 1 above illustrates three cloud computing dimensions, deployment models, service models. CLOUD COMPUTING DEPLOYMENT MODELS Deployment model provide a cloud purpose and how cloud is located. There are four different deployment models, Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and Community Cloud [5]. These models help to express how infrastructure will be deployed. Public cloud is a set of hardware, networking, storage, applications and interface owned and operated by a third party for use by cloud consumer [6]. Private cloud is a set of hardware, networking, storage, services, applications and interface owned and operated by an organisation for the use of its employees, partners and customers [6]. Hybrid cloud is a model when the organisation decides to combine both public and private cloud, thus service of public and private clouds are joint) [4], [7]. Community Cloud model is also known as “vertical cloud”, it caters to a group of organisations with a common set of requirements or objectives [8]. Not everyone in the organisation have access to community cloud. This model is dedicated to a specific community within the organisation e.g. Community of Practice in the organization [9] CLOUD COMPUTING SERVICE MODELS Service models explain different types of services the cloud provides. There are three service types universally accepted which are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) [9]. Each service model provides a specific business need. Software as a Service (SaaS) SaaS is the way cloud users are first introduced to the cloud because is designed to implement a specific business process. Most business users are found that SaaS represent a more cost effective, flexible and secure alternative to traditional on-premises applications [6]. SaaS is the highest level model of abstraction as applications are delivered over network [10] [9] [11].
  4. 4. A Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in South African Government 91 Platform as a Service (PaaS) PaaS is an abstracted and integrated cloud based environment that supports the development, running and management of applications. Application components may exist in a cloud environment or may integrate with applications managed in private clouds or in data centres. The value of PaaS environment is that developers don’t have to be concerned with some of the lower-level details of the environment [6]. The diagram below illustrate the relationship between PaaS, SaaS and IaaS. Fig. 2: Software Stack as a Pyramid Figure 2 above illustrate that IaaS is at the fundamental level and includes capabilities such as operating systems, networks, storage and virtual machines. SaaS is at the top of the pyramid representing the actual applications offered to the users while PaaS is in the middle which includes services for developing and deploying applications [6]. PaaS is the next level of abstraction which do abstraction on application infrastructure services, e.g. access control, etc. [10]. This is a service where the cloud consumer purchase application environment on top of the infrastructure. Application environment such as Java, DB2, etc. [12] Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) IaaS is the simplest of cloud offerings as it is an evolution of virtual private server offerings and provides a mechanism to take advantage of hardware and other physical resources without any capital investment or physical administrative requirements [8]. IaaS provides a visualization of infrastructure (hardware, storage, network, etc) and other resources that clients can run [5] [9] [13]. CLOUD COMPUTING CHARACTERISTICS According to [14], [9], [15] basic characteristics of Cloud Computing are: •  On-demand self service •  Broad network access •  Measured service
  5. 5. 92 Recent Trends in Business Management and Information Systems •  Rapid elasticity, and •  Resource polling. On-demand Self Service On-demand self-service is a process when a consumer with an instantaneous need within a particular period can make computing resources like Central Processing Unit (CPU), network storage, software use, etc. available in a convenient time for the consumer without resting to human interaction with providers of the human interactions with providers of the resources [16]. Broad Network Access Broad network access is the process when delivery of computing resources are done over a network and have the privilege to be used by different client applications with heterogeneous platforms hosted at the consumers site [9]. Location independence and high levels of resilience allow for an always-connected user experience [8]. Measure Service Measure service is a mechanism used to measure and control the allocated resource usage per individual consumer using metering capabilities [16]. This ability enables cost reductions because it you pay for the service you use ‘pay-as-you-go’ model and there is no contract or premium fee payable [4] [8]. Rapid Elasticity This is the amount of service offered by the cloud provider which can be scaled up and down to ensure that the amount of service can be purchased when required and monitored (measure service) [17]. Cloud users will only pay for resources as and when there is a demand [13]. Resource Pooling The process when the service provider (computing resources) uses multi-tenant model to pool, assign and re-assign consumer demands [18]. Resources include network bandwidth, storage, processing, memory, etc., the resources will be shared among subscribed cloud users [4] [8]. BENEFITS OF CLOUD COMPUTING Cloud Computing can significantly improve IT services in public sector [19]. Cloud Computing benefits are classified into efficiency, agility and innovation. Some of the benefits offered by Cloud Computing in the government are economic scale, flexibility, rapid implementation, consistent service, increase effectiveness and energy efficient [20]. Economic Scale Cloud Computing can cut out upfront or reduce capital expenditure as a result then reduce IT administrative burden [21]. Cloud Computing does not require lot of capital investment. Use
  6. 6. A Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in South African Government 93 pay-as-you-use approach which you pay only for the services used [20]. The department will move from capital expenditure to operational expenditure [22]. Provide significant cost saving in the real estate required for data centre as well as power and cooling costs [23]. Flexibility Cloud Computing increase flexibility because of on-demand computing across technologies and reduced solution implementation times. There is no need to secure additional hardware and software as can add or subtract capacity as based on the demand and pay for only what is used [21]. According to [24] moving ICT services to cloud, organisations can utilise resources more efficient and effective. Rapid Implementation Cloud Computing does not require to procure hardware, software licenses or implementation services and certification process. Cloud Computing also help execution of projects within the required time frame [25]. In order to implement Cloud Computing, the department will need a staged implementation in which they deploy parts of the overall plan in phases [6]. It is important to examine what need to be done, who will do it, when will it be done and how will it be done [8]. Consistent Service Cloud Computing offer higher level service which is reliable and provide immediate response to emergency situations. The user can use variety of computer devices including portable devices. Network outage is sent to IT department for response [25]. Cloud functionality is usually available as a service of some form while there is a great variance in the nature of these services [8]. Increased Effectiveness Cloud Computing enhance IT services to be more agile and effectiveness. It further allows government to use IT investment in a more innovative way and makes it easier adoption by both public and private sector [19]. Cloud Computing have the ability to deploy, configure and provision new resources without manual interventions. Applications deployed to cloud can provision themselves [4]. Energy Efficient Cloud Computing promise to decrease energy consumption of storage and communication. This will reduce increasing energy costs and cloud can be an inherently energy efficient technology for IT services. It provides the energy usage methods and technologies for energy efficient operation of hardware and network infrastructure [26]. CLOUD COMPUTING CHALLENGES As much as Cloud Computing can offer uncountable benefits, it has some challenges. According to [27] major challenges faced by Cloud Computing adoption in government are: the need for
  7. 7. 94 Recent Trends in Business Management and Information Systems scalability, reliability, securing data in the cloud, open standards and interoperability, revise procurement practices, resolve potential legal issues, regulate the cloud market, redefine the roles of the IT workforce, assess the Return on Investment (ROI) of Cloud Computing and government cloud coordination. [28] state that issues faced with Cloud Computing adoption are: outage, security, performance, compliance, private clouds integration and cost. Figure 3 represent IDC survey (quoted by [29], [4] regarding Cloud Computing adoption concerns for ranking challenges/issues attributed to the cloud model. Security is on top of the list. Fig. 3: IDC Cloud Computing Adoption Challenges (Quoted by Rittinghouse & Ransome, 2010; Rosenberg & Mateos, 2011) The question on everyone’s mind regarding Cloud Computing “Is cloud computing secure?” Security is a difficult factor to quantify. Privacy and security concerns need to be addressed especially on public cloud [27]. Hundred per cent security is impossible because internet security is a common concern as hackers can break into any computer system. Cloud Computing is of no exception [28]. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Research Approach According to [30] no research study can claim inductive purity because all research begins to a certain extent with existing knowledge and previous research. The study served as guiding principle of qualitative and quantitative approach. Both quantitative and qualitative approach are the most suitable paradigms. Methodological paradigms are classified in three categories which are qualitative, quantitative and participatory action [31]. Research Strategy Research strategy is a comprehensive approach to answer the research questions [32]. There are three common types of research strategy, ethnographic, case study and histories [31]. A case
  8. 8. A Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in South African Government 95 study approach is adopted for this study to help explore how feasible is Cloud Computing for and how can it be adopted as a cost effective IT service approach in SA government. Single case study was used for this study. The case is for National Department of Social Development. Data Collection Techniques and Procedure Data collection is a critical step in the research process. In fact, the cardinal elements of scientific research are theory, data collection and data analysis [34]. Inaccurate data collection can impact the results of a study and ultimately lead to invalid results [35]. Good research requires that data be collected using instruments that (s) that is valid and reliable. Data collection techniques used in this study is closed-ended questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and document review. Sampling Design Sampling design is to ensure representativeness of the population from which is selected, to avoid the pitfalls of biased and unsystematic sampling [37]. A sample is a representative part of the target population selected [38]. Population is the totality of participant events, organisation units, case records and other sampling units with which the researcher problem is concerned [39]. One way of being objective in a research study is to remain objective which you need to identify a systematic way of measuring or selecting population [40]. Population for this study are officials from Information Technology division which they refer to it as Information Management System and Technology (IMST). The National Department of Social Development as the unit of analysis. Participants include Senior Managers, Managers Business Analysts, Developers, IT supports, IT specialist and consultants. The criteria used for this sample was because of their understanding of both OSS and Cloud Computing. The case was selected considering the time constrains, financial saving and convenient access to participants as the researcher is an employee of the selected case. IMST have compliment of 55 officials, 19 are either administrative or supporting staff. Only 28 officials are IT functions. 8 positions are vacant. Questionnaires were distributed to 28 officials plus 2 consultant, which makes a total of 30 populations identified. Questionnaires were distributed to total of 30 participants and 28 returned back. 6 officials were interviewed, 2 senior managers and 2 managers and 2 IT officials. Data Analysis According to [38] data analysis is the process of collecting, reducing and summarising the researcher’s collected data. Data analysis enables the researcher to organise and bring meaning to large amount of data [41]. Before data is analysed [42] suggested that all the field notes, interview transcripts and documents should be available and complete without missing data. Before data can be analysed, it must first be edited to detect errors and omissions with the objective of ensuring accuracy, completed, consistency and uniformly entered [38]. All data received from participants of this study were all completed without any errors and omissions. There are few questionnaires that are not fully completed.
  9. 9. 96 Recent Trends in Business Management and Information Systems In support to the process of data analysis, [43] suggest a steps for qualitative data analysis to followed for data preparation, coding and interpretation which was adopted in this study. • Step 1: Designed qualitative and quantitative data collection instruments. Collected quantitative data using questionnaire and qualitative data using interviews and document analysis. • Step 2: This step organised and bring meaning to the collected data on step 1. The step organise data to create understanding in answering the research questions. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to interpret quantitative data and DOI for qualitative data. • Step 3: This step merged two sets of results and synthesize the results. The step further ensures reliability and accuracy of the study results. • Step 4: This step provides discussion of the results from merged data and a more comprehensive understanding. This step further enables the researcher to suggest a framework for Cloud Computing adoption for South African government. In quantitative research, data can be analysed using computer software packages such as Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to analyse pre-coded numeric data. While in qualitative research, data can be analysed using Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) which is relevant for this study to provide a guiding technique for the study. SPSS had integrated services of computer programmes to employ reading of data from questionnaires. It enable manipulation and data management in different methods and produce statistical reports [33]. Data was analysed using SPSS as a computer program for analysing quantitative data. Research Findings and Results This section presents findings and interpretation of data obtained through the multi-data collection instruments, questionnaires and interviews. Mostly Used ICT’s at Department of Social Development (DSD) In the questionnaire, respondents were asked to indicate mostly used ICT solutions at DSD. The most used ICT at DSD is the E-mail service with an overwhelming proportion (100%) of respondents. The second most used is Internet/Intranet and Microsoft Office products with a proportion (96.43% and 92.86% respectively) of respondents. E-submission and network infrastructure are also regarded as most used by respondents as they are rated 89.29% and 85.72% respectively. 82.14% of respondents rated transversal systems while lower proportion (60.72%) of respondents rated computer repairs as used ICT services. Least proportion (57.15% and 57.14%) of respondents rated National Integrated Social Information System (NISIS) and Social Development Information Management Systems (SDIMS) respectively as least used ICT’s at DSD. Open Source Software Implementation Challenges at DSD Open Source Software have proved to have implementation challenges over the years and these failure could not enabled cost reduction of IT services as initially aimed by its objective. Figure 4 indicate Open Source Software implementation challenges at DSD.
  10. 10. A Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in South African Government 97 Lack of support is the most OSS implementation challenge on top of the list with 82.14% of respondents that DSD is experiencing. 75% of respondents indicated that user resistance is another contributing factor of OSS implementation failure. 64.29% of respondents perceive compatibility with proprietary software while migration cost and lack of approved standards are lower at 60.7% of respondents both. The least contributing factor towards OSS implementation failure at DSD is Poor IT infrastructure with 50% of respondents. Fig. 4: Open Source software Implementation challenges at DSD Benefits of Cloud Computing There are various advantages of cloud for different enterprises over and above the most popular cost reduction advantage the graph represents the key benefits relevant to the context of SA government departments. Fig. 5: Cloud Computing Benefits
  11. 11. 98 Recent Trends in Business Management and Information Systems According to DSD respondents, Cloud Computing can benefit DSD by cost saving and easy implementation which they rated 78.57% both. Other benefits include flexibility and increased effectiveness (75% and 71.43% respectively). Respondents perceive Cloud Computing to have a consistent service as they rated 67.86% though most respondents don’t perceive Cloud Computing to be secure as they rated 42.85%. Cloud Computing Cost Reduction One of the Cloud Computing attractions is cost reduction. Cloud Computing’s usage- based pricing model offers capital expense reduction and the ability to scale up as demand requires which is commonly known as pay-as-you-use model. Majority of respondents agreed that Cloud Computing will reduce IT services cost. Interviews confirmed that Cloud Computing is perceived to save ICT costs. Out of six interview respondents, this is what five respondents said regarding cost reduction. • • • • • Respondent 1: “Allow to use as you go (pay per use model), Cost saving and maintenance.” Respondent 2: “Visualization in the cloud driver might be costly, can have a quick response which is cost and time saving.” Respondent 3: “Save cost – capital investment” Respondent 4: “Save money because it use pay as you use model and maintenance of servers.” Respondent 5: “Cost saving – no worry about the space or maintaining the service” The researcher was given access to E-mail service invoices as the mostly used ICT solution at the department. The researcher also sourced E-mail quotation service from cloud provider to analyse possible cost reduction. From these documents, it was evident that DSD can save 44% if adopt cloud E-mail service such as Unified email Management (UEM). Over and above potential cost saving, UEM also offers other advantages which includes real time archive search from outlook, web and mobile, bottomless mailbox, user invoke secure communication and uninterrupted access to live and historical E-mail. DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS The finding clearly indicates that DSD require leadership to champion the innovation and organisational change campaign to involve users from the conception and get a buy in. The department should have a costing model to fund the innovation, modernise the current infrastructure and develop standards and policies to guide the innovation implementation process. This results show that OSS had implementation challenges at DSD. Some of those challenges are lack of support and user resistance. This challenges correlate with challenges of ICT’s at DSD. There should be proper support structure and conduct awareness activities. According to [49] lack of support, compatibility with proprietary software and user resistance are the top three OSS implementation challenges followed by migration cost and lack of approved standards. DSD respondents attested that these are the challenges they experienced with regard to implementing OSS in the department.
  12. 12. A Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in South African Government 99 Findings further revealed that Cloud Computing will provide relative advantage to the department [19] [20] [21] [22] [23]. The department should consider mitigating the security concern and ensure that that user’s gain confidence with their information hosted on the cloud. RECOMMENDATIONS It is therefore recommended that SA government adopt Cloud Computing as an effective cost reduction approach. Security measures need to be addressed before cloud implementation. To aid the adoption process, the study recommended a Cloud Computing framework for SA government based on the study findings to aid Cloud Computing adoption process. Framework for Cloud Computing adoption is illustrated on Figure 6. Fig. 6: Framework for Cloud Computing Adoption in SA Government The above framework proposes factors that should be considered by government departments to guide adoption of an appropriate cloud service cloud service. Departments should conduct requirements analysis, solution assessment and choose the best, then implement the selected solution. This process is complimented by continuous improvement, change management, project management and leadership. CONCLUSION South African (SA) government have a challenge to reduce ICT service cost. In addressing this challenge, SA government then adopted Open Source Software (OSS). The implementation of OSS has been a challenge over a decade. Some of the challenges includes funding, user resistance, leadership and change management. This study therefore suggested adoption of Cloud Computing as an alternative for ICT service cost reduction as was aimed by OSS. Cloud Computing promise to offer more
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