How cloudy is the future for the UK government?

“Times are hard” was a phrase often used in my house as a child usually when begging my mother for the latest pair of Nike trainers.  


Fast forward 20 years and not much has changed as we continue to struggle through the worst economic crisis we have ever seen. The downturn has had a huge impact upon the public sector with many departments being forced to cut budgets to help reduce the government deficit.

One way departments are seeking to cut costs is by reassessing their technology needs, which has in more cases than not, resulted in the implementation of cloud computing solutions. The government’s ‘G-Cloud’ framework hopes to eliminate waste by more efficient IT procurement helping departments innovate, creating a better public service. The framework includes a list of approved suppliers and provides quick and easy access to cloud services. The cost benefits of cloud adoption in the public sector can be evidenced by looking at Informatics Merseyside who has experienced a minimum of 15% reduction on IT expenditure.

This process has been further simplified for government departments through the CloudStore which was launched in February of last year. This week the number of suppliers who can supply services via the CloudStore has now doubled to over 450 after the second G-Cloud framework deal.

The second round added new services to the framework including end-user device services, gamification as well as simulation and training. Now more than 3,000 services are available via the CloudStore.

The majority of the suppliers are SMEs which is a big point for the government as they embrace innovative and flexible services to help cut costs, which in turn is assisting the reduction of  public spending. The benefits have been highlighted by some industry experts including Doug Clark, Cloud leader for IBM UK and Ireland who said that “this is making contracting simpler and more transparent.”

The increase in CloudStore suppliers also increases the choices available which is certainly a positive as it will encourage innovation and ensure prices remain competitive further helping the government reduce costs.

Despite the launch in February, purchases through the CloudStore have been minimal but that is the case with any new service and as the level of choice increases we can only expect its popularity to grow. For a change I’m happy to say the government’s future is looking cloudy.

What do you think of the G-Cloud Framework? Let us know in the comments.

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22 Nov 2012, 3:35 p.m.

Cloud adoption has definitely increased in the UK recently after the initial hype. This is partly because of the economic climate but also because of technological advances. I think we will start to see even more momentum in the coming months for G-Cloud. If it gets it right it should set a good example both to the rest of the public sector but also to conservative enterprises who have been hesitant about embracing the cloud to date.

Alan Priestley, Intel Cloud Builders