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Sacramento County Weighs 'Methodical' Move to Cloud

Sacramento County's ERP system, from SAP, which is "the biggest ERP system out in the market," is moving toward an entirely cloud-based system.

Sacramento County has used an on-premises approach for many years, but leaders are considering a shift.

"We're more and more open to hosting systems in the cloud," county CIO Rami Zakaria told Techwire in an interview. "We also know this is the industry direction as a whole."

The county's health department began the approval process for a cloud-based health record system in late 2016.

Two feasibility studies with estimated completion dates in the first quarter of 2019 are set to compare the cost of hosting on-premises versus hosting the county's data and services in the cloud. The assessments are being run by Planet Technologies and ConvergeOne. Decisions about what services or data will be moved to the cloud, including the county's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, will be made after assessments are complete.

"I think we realize that as we move into the future, there will be more and more cloud-based systems, and we'll have to migrate to the cloud at some point," Zakaria said. "But we're really taking a methodical approach to it, evaluating it to see what makes sense for us financially and impact on service delivery."

The county's ERP system, from SAP, which is "the biggest ERP system out in the market," is moving toward an entirely cloud-based system.

"I believe most counties, cities and states have a mixture of cloud and on-premises," Zakaria said. "Some have adopted cloud more aggressively than others, but I don't know of any that are 100 percent in the cloud."

The county's data center, built in 1997, has 100 percent redundancy in critical systems and they "are not struggling to maintain uptime," he said. 

"Sacramento County has implemented a 'private cloud' solution that has served us very well," Zakaria said. "That's why we're looking at external cloud solutions from financial and operations aspects. Does it give us savings, does it give us more agility, more speed in deploying solutions?"

The county has been able to meet interoperability needs with other systems, even at the state level.

The Department of Technology makes cloud solutions available for purchase to state departments and counties, in order to make negotiations easier and streamline security.

"By utilizing this contract, it puts the burden of proof for delivering these services on the primary contract holder and not the reseller, and provisions a common security posture for the entire state in standardizing the IT infrastructure through common cloud solutions,” state Deputy CIO Chris Cruz told Techwire in an email.

Kayla Nick-Kearney was a staff writer for Techwire from March 2017 through January 2019.