Western Australia's Department of Finance will help a number of the state government's agencies move to the public cloud following its own successful move to Microsoft Azure.\nThe Department's Corporate Services division began transitioning from an on-premise environment to a new secure, consumption-based ICT model with systems and apps hosted in Azure in early 2017.\nThe initiative is part of Western Australia (WA) Government\u2019s GovNext-ICT Program which is reforming IT infrastructure within the public sector with new network, cloud and security technologies.\nAndy Wood, executive director, corporate services at WA Department of Finance, said most, if not all WA government agencies have approached his team to advise them on their best practices for moving to public cloud.\n\u201cAll WA agencies are going through the same thing at the same time," he told CIO Australia.\n\u201cWe are in the process of creating a library of artefacts that we developed so they can be reused across the sector. From our perspective, citizens paid for them once, they shouldn\u2019t need to pay for them again and again across every agency.\u201d\nWood said the department will also move other services into the cloud during the next stages of transformation.\n\u201cTrue transformation breeds change, which then breeds further change. This was all about setting up our foundation and foundational capabilities. The innovations that public cloud offers are almost limitless and for us, there are probably three main key focus areas at the moment. Two of them fall into a technology bucket.\u201d\nFirst up, the department will adopt platform-as-a-service capabilities and transform its application stack; and second, it will use data it has built up over time to create new services for citizens. The third focus area is around developing staff, he said.\n\u201cWe're going to be looking at heavily investing in our people and their digital capabilities,\u201d said Wood. \u201cNot just from our front line ICT staff, but over the entire organisation and then right up through to the executives.\u201d\nHe believes every single person in the organisation needs to have the right digital capabilities to help the government achieve its strategic objectives.\n\u201cOur focus is going to be heavily on further leveraging the investments we've made within Azure and the investments that we're making in people,\u201d said Wood.\nWhile Wood expects some resistance from staff to all the changes, he believes resistance to change is natural and to be expected.\n"It\u2019s something you can't really underplay and underestimate, the amount of effort you need in that change management. It's not about dismissing people because concerns they face are absolutely real. It\u2019s about following a process and having a change management approach to walk [staff] through [changes]. So at any point in time they know that it's not as scary as what they thought,\u201d he said.\nWood and his team spent up to 15 months working with staff on change management during the initial phase of the Azure rollout. This was necessary as his team had a lot of resistance from internal staff and external to the organisation, he said.\n\u201cAs a central agency we hold whole data-sets from multiple organisations, including some federal agencies and some private sector organisations,\u201d Wood said. \u201cIt was really about making sure that we could instil confidence in them that [data] would be as secure [in the cloud] as it is on premise.\u201d\nWood said the department chose Microsoft because the vendor was able to challenge some of his "preconceived notions\u201d about the way things should be done.\n\u201cWe very quickly realised we\u2019re not masters in public cloud,\u201d Wood said.\n\u201cMicrosoft brought in the experts from all areas in the initial planning phase and once we had a valid business case, we were then able to set up our environment knowing that in 12, 18, 24 and 36 months\u2019 time we have a number of initiatives, particularly around analytics, AI machine learning that we wanted to come through."