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SCC urges G-Cloud rethink

Microscope contributor

SCC has urged the government to view cloud computing as a strategic initiative rather than a tool to cut procurement costs, saying the coalition was missing a trick.

According to the Midlands-based reseller, public sector interest in the cloud actually centred on buying IT in a "faster, cheaper and efficient manner".

Tracy Westall, UK public sector sales director at SCC, said the G-Cloud could be a means to cut the government's carbon footprint, modernise the IT infrastructure and help departments achieve their budget cuts.

"Far from presenting fresh challenges, the advent of the G-Cloud is handing the public sector an opportunity to deal with a variety of the difficulties facing them.

"Whether it be meeting European environmental targets, coming to terms with the consumerisation of IT or creating a new income stream by marketing the services they do well, the cloud holds many of the answers," said Westall.

A recent roundtable by public sector reseller Trustmarque revealed that the migration to cloud services was hindered by budget cuts, concerns over data security and complex legacy applications.

Former government CIO John Suffolk, who was working on the blueprint for the G-Cloud with suppliers, resigned from the post in November, was this month replaced with DWP CIO Joe Harley.

TechMarketView research director Georgina O'Toole, said there were misconceptions about the G-Cloud, sold at first as an all encompassing government-wide computing platform requiring massive investment.

"Extricating the programme from [that] has been difficult and has damaged the ability of the Office of the Government CIO to achieve stakeholder buy-in across the public sector," she said.

The G-Cloud is "not on hold", she told MicroScope, but the government is moving away from a single platform across the public sector, working instead on a hybrid model offering multiple environments.

"As in the commercial sector, the move to cloud is already happening in pockets - both in central and local government. The use of cloud has featured in recent contract renegotiations and project reviews."

The transition to the cloud however, "will take years", said O'Toole, although the education sector is moving quicker as it has fewer data security issues than other departments.

"There is a lot of work to do centrally, particularly around the application store, some [departments] will move information of applications into the cloud quicker but it depends on data security issues, or how suitable it is," she said.

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