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Assessment process for on-premises exceptions

Find out if your organisation can invest in on-premises ICT infrastructure, as an exception to the Cloud First policy.

Ready to do your assessment now?

Download the self-assessment tool.

On-premises exceptions self-assessment tool [XLS 72KB]

Why an exceptions criteria is needed

Investing in on-premises information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure falls outside of the Cloud First policy.

Any exceptions to this policy must meet the exceptions criteria or have approval from the Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO).

The Cloud First policy requires New Zealand (NZ) government organisations to adopt public cloud services rather than investing in on-premises ICT infrastructure.

Definition of on-premises ICT

On-premises ICT infrastructure spending refers to the investments made by an agency to purchase or lease ICT infrastructure or software, such as servers or on-premises devices.

This applies to any purchases made to implement new systems, or towards existing systems. This exception does not remove the agency’s responsibility for assuring the privacy, security and operations of the services or systems.

The infrastructure or software is:

  • treated as tangible or intangible assets
  • controlled by the agency
  • depreciated over the asset’s useful life
  • typically funded from CAPEX (capital expenditure).

For cloud consumption, by comparison:

  • funding usually comes under OPEX (operating expenditure)
  • the evaluation of the investment focuses on the operating phase of the system
  • implementation costs are excluded
  • systems are controlled by suppliers and provided as a service.

Cloud services — learn about the Cloud First policy

The steps to doing your assessment

The steps are:

  1. download and open the self-assessment tool, then read the instructions
  2. complete the screening questions
  3. read the instructions and prompting questions for the first criteria (operational criteria)
  4. enter a value (applicability score) for the criteria and an explanation of your score choice
  5. repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other criteria — financial, technical and specialist systems criteria
  6. check and submit your assessment.

On-premises exceptions self-assessment tool [Excel 782KB]

Screening questions

Answer the screening questions to help us understand:

  • the on-premises investment
  • why it’s outside of the Cloud First policy
  • why it’s required
  • what the on-premises components are
  • how much it will cost
  • how it will be funded.

There’s no scoring or weighting for this first part.

Assessment criteria questions

Think about any factors that may influence your decision to invest in on-premises ICT infrastructure.

Answer the prompting questions across 4 criteria to help you assess any influencing factors.

The criteria categories are operational, financial, technical and specialist systems.

Exceptions criteria and prompting questions


Decide how applicable the influencing factors are to your investment decision and then choose a score that best reflects that. Do this for each criteria.

Choose from the 4 applicability scores and give a brief explanation of why you chose that score:

  • 0 (not applicable)
  • 1 (minimally applicable)
  • 2 (moderately applicable)
  • 3 (highly applicable).

The scores are weighted depending on the criteria. The overall score is then calculated for you. It will display on row 15 of the self-assessment tool.

Check and submit your assessment

To complete the assessment check you’ve put a value or an explanation into every pale blue cell of the self-assessment tool.

Email a copy of your completed assessment to the Digital Investment Office (DIO) at

Evaluation and the outcome

Your overall score for the on-premises exceptions self-assessment tool is shown in row 15 of the tool.

Check you've answered all of the self assessment questions — see 'Questions remaining' on row 14.

Meeting the on-premises exceptions criteria

If your score is 1 or above, an on-premises investment is justified.

The DIO will include your investment in their Exceptions Register for monitoring and reporting purposes.

Not meeting the on-premises exceptions criteria

For scores below 1, you need to contact the DIO and request approval for an exception.

The DIO will:

  • evaluate the information in your assessment
  • contact you for more information
  • either approve or decline your on-premises ICT investment on behalf of the GCDO.

Contact the DIO to request approval for an exception or if you have any questions about your assessment and on-premises ICT investment.

Email the DIO at

About the Digital Investment Office

GCDO results reporting

The GCDO will use the assessment data to produce system insights from the combined results. The individual agency information will not be disclosed.

The insights will help to:

  • understand the reasons behind on-premises ICT investments across the sector
  • inform The Treasury and System Leads about new digital interventions
  • achieve better investment decisions across the sector and improve funding allocation.

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