Local government seems to be way off message on cloud, according to new research from non-profit tech firm Eduserv
In a study just published, Up In The Air: The State of Cloud Adoption in Local Government in 2016, the group polled over 400 Welsh, Scottish and English authorities to gather what it belives to be “a comprehensive assessment of cloud adoption and procurement policy” in the sector.
Its results will disappoint backers of The Digital Marketplace.
For example, it claims to have been told that only one in three councils say they have both a cloud IT strategy and a procurement policy which allows them to use G-Cloud.
And over one in four (27%) claim they have an in-house procurement policy that doesn’t let them use G-Cloud at all.
Worse, 21 of the biggest councils said they “could not use the framework”, a figure that rises to 37 of the 100 smallest authorities.
And there seems to be a big gulf between leaders and followers, with larger bodies far more likely to be implementing a cloud IT strategy and deploying cloud IT compared to smaller entities, who had yet to put any sort of strategy in place.
Some 58% of councils have yet to buy through G-Cloud and the remaining 127 councils (30% of all councils) who have procured via the framework have spent £6m between them, Eduserv points out, citing official GDS data on G-Cloud expenditure so far.
The study concludes that the Cloud First agenda announced in 2013 has still not “meaningfully taken hold in local government”.
Suprise and alarm
Compiler of the report, Jos Creese - principal analyst for Eduserv’s Local Government Executive Briefing Programme who authored the report - said: “The big picture behind this research is that only a minority of councils appear to have a deep appreciation of how IT must change to support service redesign and new technologies in the future.
“This is acutely illustrated by the fact that six in 10 councils have yet to adopt a cloud policy or strategy, and many systems are still run in-house on local data centres.
“Despite the ease of accessing cloud services through G-Cloud, just eight councils represent 57% of G-Cloud spend to date.”
Creese believes it is “therefore critical” that councils have some sort of policy guidance around how and when it could or should be considered – and that it’s “surprising and somewhat alarming” this is not the case.
And in addition to updating IT policies and strategy, councils also need to bridge the gap which seems to exist between IT and procurement practice, so that IT and procurement teams are aligned on the use of flexible, buyer-friendly frameworks, including G-Cloud, he warns.