Cloud, Procurement and Utility Computing in the Public Sector

Thanks to everyone that joined us for the recent Adobe government webinars with ITU Live. It was another really interesting debate. It’s great to see a panel of eminent experts from the industry who are also so “hands-on” in shaping the future of government IT, expressing their opinions in an open and challenging forum.

The topic was Cloud Computing and sparked a lively discussion about the barriers to innovation that are created by the public sector procurement process. A full video of the webinar is available here please do take the time watch.

I’ve also pulled out a few bullets below from the session which I thought were particularly insightful. Do feel free to add your own thoughts about this via the comments section within this blog. We always keen to hear what you have to say.

  • Liam Maxwell, IT specialist and Conservative councillor at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, argued that government needs to focus its attention on transparency, personal identity and cross-platform in the cloud to reduce IT spend in local government. A pioneer in his own constituency Liam is championing cloud computing with a view to moving most of Windsor and Maidenhead’s IT into the cloud within the next three years – a bold ambition to say the least.
  • Liam states that one of the key things about localism and the localisation of services is that “it should be possible for someone to set up a trestle table in the town centre and open a government office providing services where and as they are needed”. I agree that cloud technology is certainly an enabler for that vision.
  • He was also discusses that the public sector can do ‘Better for Less’ – a sentiment which Mark O’Neill, CIO at the Department of Communities & Local Government, and lead on the government’s new ‘skunk-works’, also felt.
  • Mark explained how he believes the Comprehensive Spending Review has become a catalyst enabling local and central government to “rethink the business model”, and that this is an opportunity which comes along very rarely in IT.
  • Alan Banks, MD for Adobe, completed the panel. Alan brought an IT vendors perspective to the proceedings. Alan commented that, “the model for government IT is changing and there will be no more monolithic IT projects.” He also led the panel in a discussion about the need for open standards and innovation. This a topic also close to Liam Maxwell’s heart, who said that a staggering £51m saving could be achieved by moving to an open document format within government.