It’s hard to believe that it has been three years since G-Cloud launched and with total spend recently hitting the £300m mark at the end of September 2014, real progress is starting to be made.
As we look to G-Cloud 6, the sixth reiteration of the G-Cloud programme, Memset’s Public Sector Advisor Robin Pape explores what G-Cloud and associated government initiatives have achieved to date.
Widespread Adoption of Policies
This administration’s well-publicised Digital and Technology policies have started to be implemented by a wider range of the public sector. These policies are beginning to drive a wider adoption of cloud computing within the public sector, although there is still a long way to go especially in organisations further from the centre of government. As a leading technology provider, we’ve invested heavily in our own scalable cloud offering to enable organisations to align with the government’s policies including the Cloud First policy and Digital by Default service standard.
Digital Initiatives Implemented
Digital initiatives to improve the user interface to government have been taken mainstream in central government and are starting to gain purchase in the wider public sector. The 25 Digital Exemplars are an impressive start on what will be a long journey to update not just the visible parts of government services, but also the legacy back-end systems which are an altogether more difficult issue.
PSN Connectivity Frameworks
The new Network Services framework will replace the old PSN contracts and is better focused on telecommunications. It should offer more opportunities to broaden the market, enabling SME suppliers to be a bigger part of the drive to reduce costs, improve innovation and enable the real benefits to public services which PSN should deliver. With GDS recently taking direct control of PSN, we look forward to a more focused initiative, with greater clarity and an emphasis on cost reduction and faster delivery in future.
Changes to Security Markings
The change in security classification earlier this year to the new term OFFICIAL, replacing RESTRICTED, PROTECT and UNCLASSIFIED and the IL3, IL2 and IL0 terminology, demonstrated a clear desire by the government to push more data and applications onto the public cloud which is vital to unlocking the cost savings G-Cloud has promised and improve interoperability across the public sector as a whole. The changes also have the potential to open up the market to more SME suppliers who have often been unable to engage on a level that satisfies central government protocols.
As with any major change, it will take time for people across the customer and supplier base to understand and implement the new approach to security, and there will inevitably be an impact on the take-up of cloud services in the mean time which we hope can be minimized.
Increasing In-House IT Capability
The policy of increasing in-house IT capability is starting to be visibly implemented in a few parts of government. We’ve started to see recruitment of non ‘traditional’ roles such as web developers, strategists, agile delivery managers, product managers and user experience designers to not only work on specific projects but also to help senior management understand what digital can do for their business area. More traditional IT and procurement capabilities also need to be built up and updated. This increase in capability and capacity needs to continue if all parts of the public sector are to be able to take advantage of the cloud and the associated disaggregation of IT services.
Government initiatives including G-Cloud have certainly set the ball rolling in terms of reinventing how government delivers digital services and makes effective use of technology. However, while the centre of government is leading, there is still some way to go for the new approaches to be adopted and embedded across the whole public sector.
If your department recognizes the new capabilities and ways of working that technology can bring, Memset is a new breed of SME that offers the chance for you to harness the full power of technology and data for an agile digital government.
Perhaps now is the time for you to embrace G-Cloud with Memset.