Public Sector Multicloud Challenges and Impediments

These are early days for multicloud adoption, so it's understandable that ECI respondents cited some sticking points in their IT journeys to get there. Most respondents mentioned securing their data across multiple clouds as a major concern. Those in the public sector mentioned this issue frequently as well, but found integrating data across cloud borders in the unified environment to be a pressing issue more often (Figure 7). They also frequently cited application mobility, managing costs across cloud borders, and siloed cloud management teams as difficulties they face.

Top Public Sector Multicloud Management Challenges

4 9% 4 9% 4 9% 5 3%

Integrating data across different cloud environments

4 7% 38% 6 3% 44%

Application mobility

46% 4 9% 4 1% 43%

Security concerns

45% 43% 42% 43%

Managing costs across environments

40% 36% 33% 4 7%

Silos between teams managing different environments

38% 42% 38% 42%

Performance challenges

Education, public

U.S. federal government

Public sector (all)


Figure 7: Top Public Sector Multicloud Management Challenges

As mentioned earlier, U.S. federal organizations had the public sector's lowest level of application mobility activity during the past year. So it's no surprise that a notably above-average percentage of them (63%) identified application mobility as a multicloud challenge, as the figure shows.

Ideal but complex. Many public sector respondents (75%) agreed that hybrid multicloud was the ideal IT operating model for their companies, though the percentage was lower than the global average (83%). A larger percentage (85%) of this group agreed that to succeed, their organizations need to simplify the management of multiple clouds; 82% of U.S. federal government respondents, 94% of those in public education, and 87% of the global cross-industry ECI response pool also agreed with this statement. Similar high levels—87% of all public sector, 97% of U.S. federal, and 86% of public education respondents—reported that they lack some of the internal IT skills necessary to meet today's business demands.

Market demand for containers and hybrid tools. The multicloud challenge data reflects, in part, the growing requirement for hybrid multicloud tools that unify, and, to a degree, automate processes across dissimilar cloud platforms for consistent management, access, and interoperability. A hybrid multicloud model will help address some of the key challenges of multicloud deployments, including security, data integration, and app mobility by providing a unified cloud environment on which security and data governance policies can be applied uniformly. Containers, for example, enable IT to move applications, with all their dependencies, among clouds quickly. While 82% of all global respondents across industries agreed that containers are important to their organizations today or will be within 12 months, the figure was lower in the overall public sector population (70%) and U.S. federal government (68%) sub-sector. However, 90% of those in global public education organizations said containers were important to their companies.

Matching Use Cases to Infrastructure

When adopting a cloud-smart approach to workload optimization, the global public sector indicated that public cloud was most often their preferred location for all eight of the typical run-the-business applications they were asked about (Figure 8). Public cloud was selected by particularly wide margins for big data, customer relationship management (CRM), virtual desktops, and collaboration applications.

Optimum IT Infrastructure Preference

16% 42% 32%

Big data

20% 36% 34%


20% 3 7% 36%

Human capital

15% 42% 36%

Enterprise resource planning (ERP)

14% 45% 34%

Customer relationship management (CRM) and customer experience (CX)

11% 4 7% 3 5%

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and remote workstation management

13% 48% 33%

Collaboration and content management

17% 4 1% 3 5%

Disaster recovery

Private cloud

Public cloud

3-tier datacenter

Figure 8: Optimum IT Infrastructure Preference

Globally, the selections were less polarized: the cross-industry, full response base selected private cloud more often for databases and human capital applications, while they tied in their private/public cloud infrastructure preferences for big data and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

Private cloud was frequently the global public sector’s preference when it came to evaluating a given infrastructure’s ability to support a more general use case or achieve a certain business outcome, such as managing IT cost, complying with regulatory mandates, and ensuring fast application performance. Figure 9 shows the ten use cases and outcomes that respondents were asked about and the global public sector respondent preferences for using private cloud, public cloud, or a traditional three-tier datacenter for accomplishing their goals. As the chart shows, neither private nor public cloud is a slam-dunk decision for any of these functions; even three-tier datacenters garnered some votes for being the most applicable infrastructure for every use case, though in notably smaller numbers.

Public Sector Cloud Usage Preferences Based on Use Case/Outcome

23% 34% 43%

Run business-critical applications

19% 40% 40%

Manage IT costs

17% 38% 43%

Security and/or regulatory compliance

15% 48% 3 7%

Application performance

12% 51% 3 7%

Support remote employees

14% 51% 3 5%

Ability to scale

13% 40% 4 7%

Maintain consistently high levels of resource availability

15% 4 7% 38%

Support compute-intensive workloads (e.g., AI/ML, analytics)

19% 3 9% 4 1%

Support disaster recovery/business continuity

12% 5 7% 30%

Drive digital customer experience

Private cloud

Public cloud

3-tier datacenter

Figure 9: Public Sector Cloud Usage Preferences Based on Use Case/Outcome