G-Cloud - What's holding back the public sector?

If you’ve been following the progress of the Government’s G-Cloud initiative you’ll probably have picked up that as a keen supporter I’m concerned that if the public sector is to benefit from the new economics of IT and...

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If you’ve been following the progress of the Government’s G-Cloud initiative you’ll probably have picked up that as a keen supporter I’m concerned that if the public sector is to benefit from the new economics of IT and move towards the model of IT ‘as a Service’, we need to see acceleration in the consumption of Cloud services through the CloudStore.

The CloudStore launched on 19th February and featured a selection of 1700 Cloud services. A monumental achievement that followed 2 years of groundwork including: discovery, collaboration, business planning and technical architecting.

However, although the projected savings that could be realised through the uptake of G-Cloud services are estimated to be £20m in FY2012/13, £40m in FY2013/14 and £120m in FY2014/15, it is unlikely that even a fraction of these savings will be realised if the consumption patterns that drive the cost of Government IT do not radically change.

So what is holding back the public sector in adopting a new consumption model? I’ve listed the top 5 things that I believe need to be done across the public sector in order to adopt G-Cloud more aggressively.

  1. Public sector technologists need to embrace Cloud computing and start to architect for the future not the past. Admittedly it takes time to transition from the old technology silos but in order to realise the change necessary, IT leaders need to broaden their roles, skills and expertise and move from being a specialist technology provider (often pigeon holed as the geek) to understanding how they can provide Cloud-based professional services. This needs to include managing and marketing new services across the organisation. If technologists do not evolve then they will become increasingly irrelevant to their businesses, many of whom are already turning to shadow IT to satisfy their needs.
  2. Business owners need to drive change in their own organisations and start to demand change from their IT leaders. I recently heard a procurement specialist address a major conference and admit that they knew nothing about technology even though they were in a senior leadership position. This is frankly unacceptable in today’s technology empowered workplace. In order to drive change, business leaders need to grasp the reigns and in order to do that they need to understand the basics of what powers new business models.
  3. ‘Cloud First’ should be a basic mantra across all new IT procurement. If technologists who build the specifications are not directing buyers toward the market then the demand will not materialise and no matter how developed the supplier side has become, the CloudStore will become irrelevant. I would almost go as far as saying that UK Government and public sector organisations need to follow the US Federal Government lead by instituting a formal Cloud First policy ‘Unleashing the Power of Cloud’.
  4. Finance Directors should demand to see the new economics of IT delivering immediate benefits for their organisations. The reality is that we have entered an era where technology no longer constrains an organisation on how it delivers improved outcomes. The cost of compute power has plummeted and cost effective on-demand computing resource is now readily available. If FDs consider IT as only a cost centre then they have missed the point. While CIOs and IT leaders still need to deliver cost reduction, FDs should demand that the new economics of IT deliver improved front office services and customer experience.
  5. Security specialists need to deliver new ways of achieving managed risk and stop acting as blockers. The balance of security has changed and the old ways of thinking about securing the enterprise must evolve and adapt to meet the new threat vectors by developing more rapid mechanisms to react to these threats without blocking the use of new technologies. Security teams should be looking at a change in their role, becoming workplace anthropologists focused on helping the high performers achieve more for their organisations through the adoption of Cloud.
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