The Department of Operations and Management Information Systems (OMIS) of the University of Ghana Business School, headed by Prof. Richard Boateng has organised a round table discussion on ‘Cloud Computing in the public sector’ at the Fiesta Royale Hotel on the 8th and 9th of November 2017. The two-day event, which addressed cloud computing from the perspective of the service provider and consumer was dubbed, ‘Infrastructure and policy environment for the uptake of cloud computing’.
According to OMIS’ Prof. Boateng, technological, organisational, environmental and human factors influence cloud computing; one of the fastest growing technological activities of today and a rapid way of allowing access to a convenient, ubiquitous demand network of a shared pool of computer resources. In conjunction with this, it was revealed that the UG Digital Economy Research Network (UG DERN) has undertaken a project whose objective is to promote accelerated development in Africa and to create an environment which engages the government for the purposes of investment.
Further in his presentation, Prof. Boateng outlined the various forms of cloud computing and its many benefits to corporations, private institutions and individuals identifying them as private, community, hybrid and multi-cloud computing systems. He stated that cloud computing is the way forward in a world of unlimited data supply and high demand for data storage. Cloud services, he said offer nothing but efficiency, reliability, cost-effectiveness and flexibility amongst many other benefits.
Adding to the benefits of cloud computing, Mrs. Veronica Boateng of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) presented on cloud computing infrastructure and services in the Ghanaian public sector – ‘Where we are and where we are going’. The introduction of cloud computing according to her will render the old way of storing information obsolete in the near future. Regarding where we are on cloud computing, she revealed that NITA as an organisation is faced with challenges which are privacy, security and legally related. However, they do not affect the probability of open architecture (is a type of computer architecture or software architecture that is designed to make adding, upgrading and swapping components easy) being adopted in future. This she said is as a result of the evolution of IT architecture between 2009 and 2015, which has led to the expansion of backbone infrastructure, open government initiatives, expansion of government networks, e-health and e-cabinet among others. This is proof that different solutions have been established in the past years as regards cloud computing infrastructure.
In concluding her presentation, she revealed that policies concerning cloud computing, e-immigration, e-parliament, e-education, e-justice amongst others, have been set for 2018 and beyond with the law granting NITA the mandate to operate, host and provide cloud services.
Speaking from the perspective of the consumer, Mr Mawunyo Kojo Segbefia from the Ministry of Health asserted that the ministry is faced with many challenges which include the collection of data, implementation of ICT policies, good consultation and the execution of a functional website to enable adequate interaction between organisations and the populace. Cloud computing, he believes would limit these challenges and create an effective working environment to boost output.
The CEO of Vokacom, a software development and content aggregation company, Nana Osei Kwasi Afrifa spoke on the marvellous work being done regarding the promotion of cloud computing in Ghana and on technological advancement as a whole. He made mention of working hand in hand with Ghana Post in the National Digital Property Addressing System project. Throwing more light on the digital addressing system, he said unique codes would be assigned to each of the 10 administrative regions for easy directions. Nana Afrifa said, “The unique codes will have between nine to 11 characters; but a consultative process will be carried out with key stakeholders to standardise the characters.”
The end of each presentation reeled in a host of opinions and remarks on national policies, as well as recommendations to support the uptake of cloud enabled services in Ghana. Faculty, students, industry policy makers, as well as implementers were present to contribute by sharing ideas.
Bringing the programme to a climax, Prof. Boateng reiterated that technology is fast evolving, it is being updated and upgraded at a fast pace; and while doing so merges other fields of activity to create ease of access and effectiveness. He encouraged that Ghanaians change their mind-sets, come on board and make cloud computing endeavours a success.
The research is being done in consultation with Research ICT Africa Network, a technology research institution which conducts research on information and communication technology policy and regulation across Africa. Research ICT Africa Network is conducting a similar study in other African countries, whiles University of Ghana focuses on Ghana.
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