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According to IDC Government Insights, nearly one-third of the federal government's IT budget is spent on maintaining and upgrading older infrastructure, and the Framingham, Mass.-based market researcher believes that the same ratios are substantially true for state and local governments.
"I'm seeing more RFPs around hosted voice, hosted call center, SIP trunking, and things of that nature," said Chris Vincent, president of Global Data Services, a Lafayette, La.-based channel partner who pursues state and local government contracts. "They are actively entering the procurement process because they see cost benefits in consuming technology on a per-seat, per-month basis."
Messaging is also a key technology being moved to the cloud. The city of Boston announced last week that Google and Appirio had been granted a contract to move all city workers and schools to a unified messaging and collaboration platform based on Google Apps by the end of the year. The city claims nearly 75,000 email users, including accounts for its 57,000 public schools students. The move is expected to cut expenses by more than 30 percent per year.
A number of government agencies in major cities have made similar moves to the cloud. Last year, the Chicago public school system made a similar transition to the cloud, in a move expected to save $6 million over three years.
Some of the savings realized by local government agencies comes from the reduced need to maintain high-end staff, according to Vincent.
"As the technology moves forward, it's harder for public-sector entities to keep the necessary skill sets within their four walls," he said. "So when they deploy a premises-based solution, they often find themselves struggling to support it."