Central Government will, as a default, be required to use the G-Gloud for procurement of IT services.
Cloud computing is at the heart of the Government’s “digital by default” agenda, and the use of the cloud to procure IT services, by providing access to a pool of on-demand, commoditised computing resources, has the potential to equip procurement teams with the capability to respond flexibly and to exploit IT service advances.
The Government set out its vision for a “cloud first policy” in its March 2011 Cloud Strategy document, and this was followed by the launch of the G-Cloud in February 2012, which provides an open marketplace through which commoditised IT services can be procured. According to V3, and following the successful launch of G-Cloud, Denise McDonagh, the UK G-Cloud programme director, has confirmed that in order to drive the pace of cloud adoption, a cloud first policy has been tabled that will mandate the consideration of the use of the G-Cloud by Central Government departments, before taking alternative approaches, wherever possible. Whilst all public sector organisations can buy services off the G-Cloud framework, it is expected that the mandated cloud first policy will only apply to Central Government departments.
By allowing IT services to be reviewed, compared, purchased, commissioned, decommissioned and switched, the use of the cloud is a step change from high-cost, customised ICT applications and provides low cost, interchangeable commodity solutions that can be rented on short term contracts. Notably, Ms McDonagh is cited in V3 to have confirmed that savings are being achieved that are equal to between 50 and 90% of the cost of ownership of some of the services procured through the cloud.
As the Government’s progression into the cloud continues apace, it is notable that many private sector organisations are treating with caution the adoption of cloud-based systems, and in some case postponing plans altogether. Whilst there are undeniable benefits to be gained in terms of cost, flexibility and innovation, the issue of security will remain an omnipresent risk that will require continuous monitoring and proactive management.
For suppliers of cloud, the Government’s embracing of the cloud is good news; however it is clear that there still remain many barriers to a number of private organisations adoption of cloud.