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Public Sector Show gives local government chance to progress cloud adoption

22nd June 2015 · Our Thoughts

The London Assembly building

A move to the cloud is a necessary precursor to the digital transformation of public services. But cloud adoption in the public sector is, as our recent survey shows, subject to a number of challenges.

Most of these, however, stem from a lack of knowledge around the real benefits of cloud services, and the best ways to procure and utilise them.

IT buyers at the Public Sector Show this week are facing a complex set of challenges. On the one side, growing pressure to transform service delivery and improve the customer experience. On the other, continued austerity, budget cuts and legacy systems to accommodate.

What’s holding back cloud adoption?

iomart and Dods Research recently surveyed over 800 people working in local government, including IT purchase decision makers and influencers, in an effort to understand the challenges and opportunities being faced. The results were striking. While outsourcing is common in the sector, cloud adoption is much less so and the approach is far from consistent. Perhaps unsurprisingly respondents cited security concerns (45%), as well as issues around compliance (26%) and control (23%), as barriers to increased cloud adoption. All of these issues could be effectively addressed by G-Cloud, the Government Digital Services marketplace for approved public cloud suppliers, but general awareness of this framework is surprisingly low, with 78% of respondents saying they hadn’t heard of it. This is at odds with the situation in Central Government where departments are mandated to refer to it first and awareness is resultantly much higher.

What could the cloud do for public services?

iomart group company SystemsUp has been successfully helping public service bodies embrace digital technologies since before G-Cloud was launched in 2012 and has built up a strong reputation as trusted advisor to the sector. About the need to accelerate cloud adoption Peter Burgess, managing director for SystemsUp, says “There is a need for a total transformation of the way in which services are provided and managed. Cloud services enable the abstraction of lower level administration tasks, removing the need for local authorities to micromanage data and technical services and allowing them to focus on the customer experience instead.”

And when it comes to customer experience, local government is, in many ways, no different to private sector businesses like banks and retailers. All are subject to the same changes in consumer expectations – increased mobility and a growing preference for self -service, natively digital interactions affect them equally.

Where next for Public Service cloud adoption?

G-Cloud has the potential to become the best way for public sector IT buyers to access public cloud services, as it addresses many of the currently held barriers and concerns. This is demonstrated in comments from Essex County Fire & Rescue Service who recently purchased iomart cloud backup services through G-Cloud. About the experience Jan Swanwick, head of ICT for Essex County Fire & Rescue Service, said “Traditionally procurement has been a long, protracted process. With G-Cloud it is very straightforward because all the supplier and product information has already been collated and validated.” (Click here to read the case study). For G-Cloud to really succeed however, awareness needs to increase significantly. The overwhelming majority of IT decision makers who responded to the survey and who had used G-Cloud stated that it had improved their procurement capability.

But Public Cloud is not the only solution of value to local authorities. Working with SystemsUP, IT buyers can gain access to impartial knowledge and advice that can help them position public cloud, private cloud, colocation and other services to best meet their challenging objectives.

SystemsUp consultants will be joining iomart on Stand 450 at the Public Sector Show tomorrow (23 June).
If you would like to book a meeting please email: or visit us on the stand.

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