UK government firms commit to cloud computing

The availability of secure, flexible and functionally rich cloud services has enabled a revolution in the way that government organisations see their relationship with IT services.

“The model which has persisted up till now has been a heavy reliance on third-party platform providers such as IBM, who provide a managed service to government agencies which includes the development of mission-critical services and the hosting of those services on managed platforms,” commented Wayne Tofteroo, Head of Test Common Services at DVLA.

The ready availability of cloud platforms and the rise in agile and DevOps methodologies have driven an insourcing of key government IT services. It is now possible for government services to retake control of IT and take ownership of those of IT-enabled services.

This has created an environment where a government agency can develop a closer relationship with its new in-house IT Service Providers than it had previously with its outside service management suppliers.

Digital transformation

“A detailed commercial and contractual relationship has been replaced with a close internal relationship with the new IT internal organisations. This has facilitated a shorter path to change and enabled more experimentation in the delivery of services. There is a closer relationship between the teams that manage government services and the development teams that will enable the delivery of those services,” continued Tofteroo.

According to him, this has also been fuelled by the need to support a rapid programme of digital transformation because we are now in an era where most commercial services are delivered either via the mobile or web channel.

Tofteroo added: “Customers expect to be able to do their banking while sitting on the settee in front of the television, they are starting to expect the same from their government services. The commercial sector has found the delivery of convenience is synergistic with the delivery of cost reductions.”

Reducing costs

According to Ghulam-Abbas Hayat, QA Test Lead at TDCS Home Office, cloud computing also brings the below benefits:

  1. Flexibility: Cloud computing offers more flexibility than traditional IT infrastructures.
  2. Cost Savings: Cloud computing can save a large amount of money.
  3. Collaboration: The cloud simplifies collaboration between government agencies. Data exchange and information can be provided over the secure cloud spaces between businesses and people so that it can available without the extra cost of post and delivery and risk of losing information in the transit etc.
  4. Staff Availability: Finally, going to the cloud frees the IT department to work on projects because the cloud service provider takes care of regular maintenance and updates, as well as security checks and procedures. You can access your data remotely anywhere on the internet and as the work environment is changing like companies are getting flexible with work remotely. So, staff can easily access the system on the cloud, rather than only from desktops based in an office environment.

Tofteroo also noted that more of the validation and processing is effectively outsourced to a mobile or web-enabled channel when using cloud services, reducing the costs of the delivery of these services. This is clearly something that cash-conscious government agencies want to copy.

Written by Leah Alger