The Nexa Center is developing a pilot study on the ICT usage in public bodies supplying essential services, in order to identify the distribution and use of IT resources and to estimate the potential effects of to the adoption of federated cloud computing solutions.
The Italian public sector is characterized by a considerable fragmentation and by a significant degree of managerial autonomy of single bodies operating at local level.
For these reasons, in many cases, ICT resource management seems to be inefficient and could therefore benefit from the development of strategies focused on the aggregation and sharing of IT resources.
Thus, the transition towards cloud-based solutions may represent an opportunity to reshape the existing local ICT environment under an efficiency-oriented perspective.
The analysis covers three different areas / types of organisms belonging to the public sector: primary and secondary education bodies, local health services and local administrations (mainly municipalities). Those areas have been selected in light of their relevance with respect to the everyday life of citizens, considering as well the level of complexity of the service they supply (which is reflected also in their IT configurations).
The methodology adopted encompasses case-studies (all based, as a first round, in the Piedmont region) and interviews with domain experts, as well as in intinere and ex post validation and integration of the evidence gathered with other sources and background knowledge. For each public body, the data gathering is mainly aimed at assessing the adopted IT structure, the current hardware and software equipment (and related costs), the current adoption of cloud-based solutions, the propensity to adopt cloud-based solutions in the future.
In July 2012, the results of the pilot study have been published in a working paper (in Italian)
In particular, the field analysis carried out by the research group highlighted the opportunity of a broader adoption of cloud-based services by the Italian schools, to be carried out under two potentially complementary frameworks: (i) enabling the creation of local federations sharing storage and computational resources (not only for teaching purposes; (ii) increase the efficiency of the centralized procedures defined by the Ministry of Education, which hosts several platforms for data sharing (in some cases with some private competitors).