Why are Agencies Choosing the Cloud for Cúram?
The public sector cloud wave – including for hosting IBM’s Cúram solutions (now called Watson Health) – is taking place because it offers significant cost and operational advantages over traditional models. Cloud, at the most basic level, is the on-demand use of third-party remote computing resources, such as servers and storage.
Industry advisory firm Gartner even notes, “39 percent of governments expect cloud services to be a technology area where they will spend the greatest amount of new or additional funding in 2019.”
Often the remote computing resources are bundled with system administration and support. We’ll call this the managed cloud approach. Normally a firm offering managed cloud services use the computing resources from one of the large hosting providers, such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, as the technical foundation of the solution.
Cúram and the Cloud
The two most recent Cúram customers in North America – the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico – chose the managed cloud approach for their implementations. Other organizations evaluating Cúram and several of those currently using Cúram are seriously considering the cloud, too.
As the original managed cloud provider and systems integrator for these recent customers, we have insight into why they went this route, as well as the true value of a managed cloud services approach for use with Cúram.
Availability – The cloud offers affordable 24/7/365 high availability. The redundancy options within a cloud data center, across centers, and across geographies provide confidence the application will always be available, even in the event of a technology failure or disaster. In light of the critical human services programs that Cúram supports, you need to know the solution will be available when needed.
Performance – The cloud makes it easy to tap into extra processing capacity at peak times, then dial it down when less system resources are needed. This ability to scale up or down on demand reduces operational risk, provides a better user experience, and lowers overall costs. This feature means during heavy processing times, such as during open enrollment, annual redetermination, or similar, the system will perform as expected.
Security – The cloud is highly secure, as the hosting and managed services providers adhere to strict standards and have certifications to back it up. And, the providers continuously monitor for threats and are constantly upgrading their defenses. As the data stored within a Cúram solution is very sensitive, highly secure processing is mandatory.
Cost – The on-demand approach to resources, an operating versus capital expenditure approach, and never having to worry about significant expenses due to periodic technology refresh, make the cloud a very cost-effective model. It’s a pay as you go and pay only for what you need strategy. It allows those in the public sector to be good stewards of taxpayer money.
Efficiency and Speed – The flexibility of the cloud provides efficiency and speed. It makes it quick and easy – often without the need for a new procurement – to bring on more capacity, as well as release capacity when not needed. This can help expedite a project that may need to rapidly spin up a new environment or that has to deal with peak volumes at certain stages, such as for data migration or testing as part of a program implementation, upgrade, or bringing online important fixes and enhancements.
The Choice for Today and Tomorrow
Both new and existing Cúram implementations benefit from the cloud. The on-demand nature of the cloud helps organizations focus more on client service and client outcomes and less on technical operations as they move core computing to more of a utility model.