This month saw the publication of the business plan for the GDS which lays out the focus of its work up until this time next year.
The scope of its work pipeline is impressive in its ambition and potential impact.
In digitising the top 25 most important government services by its 2015 deadline the GDS estimates it will save £979m each year.
Meanwhile, from its G-Cloud programme, it estimates that if the current rate of spend continues it will realise annual savings of around £200m by March 2015.
After being subsumed into the GDS last year it is good to see that G-Cloud has not only retained focus around driving the cloud agenda in government but the extent to which, as a relatively small part of the GDS, it is able to show that there is a compelling commercial reason for government to continue to put cloud at the heart of what it does.
But of course, there is always more that can be done. As we head out of the first year of Cloud First, this year is a critical one in driving the cloud agenda in the public sector. With that in mind here are four areas I think Tony Singleton and his team should focus on:
1) Continue to provide vocal leadership around the role of G-Cloud – G-Cloud is maturing in terms of supplier numbers and spend but what is still missing are the higher value transactions which are vital if it is to be seen as the definitive framework for cloud services.
As larger value contracts come up for procurement in the year ahead it is vital that G-Cloud team acts as vocal cheerleaders from within government to ensure departments are aware of and use the framework. This will be particularly important as CloudStore gets incorporated into the Digital Marketplace later this year.
2) A better balanced set of arguments around the benefits of cloud – cost cutting has been top of the Coalition’s agenda and, as such, has ended up being positioned at the heart of the rational for cloud adoption. The focus on costs is important but risks creating a one dimensional perception of a solution whose real benefit is in its ability to transform and simplify the way the public sector operates and delivers services.
What is needed then, is a more balanced set of arguments around the case for cloud adoption so buyers have a better understanding of business benefits beyond simple cost savings.
3) Reducing barriers to buying – if cheerleading and knowledge building are important, so too is the job of identifying and addressing the issues which are stopping public sector buyers engaging with cloud computing. Chief of these is how G-Cloud fits an organisation’s approach to procurement.
Building awareness of G-Cloud outside of central government, and in local government specifically, is also important. I know the G-Cloud team is starting to take action on all of these areas but it is vital that they benefit from their long term attention.
4) Encourage government departments to talk about their success – Here at Eduserv we have delivered some great work in many parts of the public sector – from central to local government and other agencies. We’re proud of our success but it can be incredibly hard to get clients to talk publicly about what they have achieved.
Case studies play a critical role in educating the sector, reducing perceptions of risk and providing a reference point for organisations to plan their own projects. We’d love to see more encouragement and support for government departments to talk about what they have done well and to perhaps make success stories available on CloudStore.
This, of course, is just a starting point and provides some top line areas for action. But if we make an impact on these areas I am confident that in twelve months’ time we will be able to look back on a year when CloudFirst has really made an impact on the public sector.