UKCloud moots multi-cloud as a way to speed up public sector cloud adoption

Contributors to UKCloud's public sector-focused State of Cloud Adoption report flag barriers to using off-premise technologies, but could adopting a multi-cloud strategy assist with overcoming them?

Encouraging organisations to embrace a multi-cloud IT sourcing strategy could help ramp up adoption of off-premise technologies in the public sector, it is claimed.

The idea is put forward in UKCloud’s State of cloud adoption report, which charts the take-up of the technology in 300 public sector organisations by asking technical and business senior leaders to flag any issues and challenges that might be preventing them from using cloud.

The results from this work suggest there is a strong will in the public sector to use cloud, with nearly 90% of respondents stating that if a “perfect solution” existed, they would not hesitate to move all of their IT off-premise.

The reality is that adoption in the sector is “still patchy”, the report states, with the majority of organisations who participated in the report still operating traditional, on-premise IT deployments.

According to participants, the most common barrier preventing them from using cloud is the cost involved (85%), particularly for organisations operating within the health and life sciences sector, as well as the police and justice system.

On a related point, there is also a belief held by 54% of respondents that cloud is more expensive to use than traditional, on-premise applications, the report continues. Also, nearly half of those surveyed said they find it easier to budget for capital expenditures than operational expenditures, which is also affecting their ability to move to cloud.

“Nearly half the respondents (46.4%) are concerned about cost overruns due to the inherently variable costs of public cloud,” the report states. “Indeed, nearly four in five (79.9%) agree that the fear of runaway costs is hindering the buy-in of cloud adoption within their organisation.”

Read more about public sector cloud computing trends

Other barriers cited by respondents include skill shortages (83%), lack of clear strategy (79%) and a shortage of cloud-native applications (77%).

The report also picked up on a reluctance among 85.2% of public sector organisations to move workloads to the cloud because of security and risk concerns, with compliance emerging as a top struggle among those surveyed.

“In terms of risk, 72.7% of respondents agreed that compliance is an on-going struggle in [their] organisation, and there was a broad agreement that fear of failure (73.7%), fear of supplier lock-in (78.3%) and over-reliance on one sole partner (79%) each hinder broader cloud adoption,” the report states.

The UKCloud report then goes on to suggest public sector organisations could overcome many of these adoption barriers by adopting a multi-cloud-focused IT source strategy that will allow them to mix and match services from two or more public cloud providers.

“We encourage public sector organisations to reframe the term cloud as a plural, rather than a singular, as doing so opens up solutions to each of these challenges,” the report states.

Digital transformation happening too slowly

Simon Hansford, CEO of public sector-focused cloud provider UKCloud, acknowledged that many of the issues flagged by the report are being addressed at policy level within the government, but digital transformation in the public sector is still happening far too slowly.

“There is no perfect cloud solution – rather different clouds to meet different needs,” he said. “UK public sector organisations need choice and options to meet demand for cloud-based data and workloads.  

“Organisations understand cloud-first is not cloud-only. Some of them, like the Food Standards Agency, have already fully moved to the public cloud. Others, like the Ministry of Defence, have a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy.

“The public sector understands the detail of the policy, including the fact it enables organisations to form a cloud strategy that’s right for them. Different organisations face different sets of challenges when it comes to cloud, and there is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Hansford.

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