Cloud computing will become the primary platform for government to cut IT costs by £460m per year, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said. The comments follow the publication of the government's four sub-strategies of its recently released ICT implementation plan.
The four strategies, which include cloud computing, IT skills capability, end user devices and green IT, will link together to exploit cost opportunities arising from technology developments and increase the capability of government to manage its ICT, said Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. This will reduce government reliance on expensive consultants and contractors, he added.
"Our common infrastructure, based on cloud computing will save over £460m per year by 2014/15, in addition to further savings derived from continuing strong controls on spending and a common approach to procurement of commodity ICT and commercial relationships," said Maude.
"The government cloud (G-Cloud) strategy details how we will exploit cloud computing to transform the Government ICT estate into one that is agile, cost effective and sustainable," he said.
The government is to adopt an approach of 'public cloud first', but will use private cloud provision in some areas.
"Government will move away from expensive, long-duration bespoke solutions to a common approach - sharing resources and infrastructure to enable us to become a consumer of widely available, ever improving mass market products and solutions. Many of these solutions will be available for reuse from the Government Application Store," said Maude.
But improving IT skills across government will be crucial to making the government's overall ICT strategy work, said Maude. "Government will not be able to fully exploit the opportunities from these strategies without ensuring that the people we employ have the right skills and techniques to manage and run them effectively," he said.
Datacentre consolidation will also play in key part in reducing costs and CO2 emissions.
Another major area of focus is reducing the cost of the government's 600,000 end user devices. "The End-user Device strategy will give public sector workers the freedom to work from any location on any suitable government or non-government device," said Maude.
The G-Cloud programme is currently trialling services in six areas. These includes an email Software as a Service (SaaS) with Warwickshire County Council; a Customer Relationship Management SaaS with the British Council; web hosting and online content management systema with the Government Digital Service (GDS), Department of Health and HMRC; public cloud services with the Ordnance Survey and Enterprise Resource Planning with GDS.