Infrastructure > Cloud

Councils can’t afford to resist the case for cloud

Published 10 April 2018

Socitm director Nigel Bragg says a new-found confidence in the stability and resilience of public cloud has facilitated a pragmatic approach whereby new services are developed with a “cloud first” mentality


Eduserv’s excellent research piece reveals how many of the factors we have seen restricting more rapid adoption of cloud services among Socitm members over recent years are now beginning to fade into the distance.

The findings echo much of the limited landscape we discovered in our own IT Trends Survey on Cloud Services Adoption from 2015, where we found that a good majority of respondents (65%) were comfortable with their ability to consider and procure cloud services, but nearly half (47%) said there were applications or IT services for which they would not use a cloud services provider. They cited such exclusions as anything involving person-related data, mission-critical/emergency services and control systems or systems that were highly integrated with other complex systems not in the cloud. Secure email and linkages to public sector networks were also specifically cited as excluded matters, as were ERP and other core corporate systems.

The significant underlying concern seemed to be about the security of, and accountability for, the data and information held in/passing through IT systems. On that basis, service providers had significant work to do in convincing many Socitm members that their personal and corporate business risks were not increased by using cloud services by a degree that outweighs any benefits the solutions offered personal and corporate interests in other respects.

What Eduserv’s research appears to confirm is that in the intervening two-three years, the emergence of more robust and immediately deployable public cloud solutions from providers like AWS and Azure has rapidly accelerated adoption of cloud services to the point where the on-premise/cloud hybrid infrastructure set up looks like becoming the ubiquitous model in the medium term. A new-found confidence in the stability and resilience of public cloud has facilitated a pragmatic approach whereby new services are developed with a “cloud first” mentality, whilst leaders develop strategies to deal with legacy IT issues which seem to provide the biggest blocker to faster transformation.

It is particularly interesting to note that even pioneer early adopters like Aylesbury Vale District Council, who are well-known in the local authority sector for their innovative approach to developing new service delivery models, report that progress continues to be slower than expected. For seven years they have aggressively pursued a “cloud first” strategy, yet even with all the giant strides made there is an awareness that a large proportion of the journey still lies ahead of them.

The experiences at Aylesbury Vale should be a good indicator to other councils travelling this road to strap in, buckle up and prepare for the long haul. The cloud bus is rolling, the brakes are good, the tyres have recently been replaced but the road is becoming too narrow to make a U-turn. Once the bus arrives at its ultimate destination, there is very little likelihood that councils will ever be able to get back to the land they currently inhabit, even if they wanted to.

Nigel Bragg is a director of Socitm which worked closely with Eduserv on new research on cloud adoption 

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