At the heart of government | Cloud industry forum

At the heart of government

8th April, 2011

The cloud is making waves of that you can be sure. And you certainly know it is making an impact at every level of the economy when you are called to give evidence to Parliament on its impact and potential.

Over the past month CIF has been preparing a detailed submission to the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) into IT and the public sector. This of course is against the backdrop of the recent spending cuts, the freeze on ICT projects and the stalled progress on the launch of the so-called G-Cloud, or Government Cloud.

The view of the Cloud Industry Forum has been clear throughout. Whilst these spending cuts may at first seem concerning for public sector IT chiefs and IT suppliers, we are confident that the advance of cloud computing (the delivery of online, secure, scalable and resilient IT services on a pay-as-you-use basis) will be a tremendous enabler to ensure that required IT solutions can still be implemented but without the significant capital costs associated with the more traditional "on-premise" supply models.

Furthermore, local and central government have more technical delivery options available to them today than in years gone by, and as such the thoughtful application of cloud based services offer a credible and viable way to save costs and improve the way IT is procured and delivered. There is no doubt that the financial constraints imposed today will give added impetus to the adoption of Cloud based computing service. In the evidence we presented to a Committee of MPs on March 17th we argued that cloud computing will transform the way IT capacity and capability is delivered over the coming years due to its highly economical pay-as-you-consume business model.

There is no doubt that there are some major challenges confronting government, not least the increasing labour costs associated with running an ever growing data centre estate, sky high energy costs, increased user demands and expectations, every increasing data silos and exponential growth in data volumes, all conspiring to hit ICT budgets at a time of major constraints.

Integral to our evidence presented was the argument that one must begin to look differently at how the delivery of cloud can help drive innovation. Government IT executives must reposition themselves as leaders who can bring their organisations to new levels of performance and efficiency through IT while also focusing on improving service, reducing costs and managing growing risks in an ever-connected world.

This is not the forum to go into greater detail on the findings of this important Parliamentary Committee. It will be reporting in time and at that stage we will learn just how our elected representatives view the impact of the cloud and its role moving forward at the heart of public service delivery.