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GDS highlights cloud issues in government


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Government organisations are in favour of a centralised cloud strategy but are often unsure how to assess how many suppliers they should use, according to the Government Digital Service (GDS).

It has highlighted the findings of informal research into the issues, carried out with the Crown Commercial Service and Government Commercial Function, as a review of how the 'cloud first’ approached has evolved since it was introduced in 2013.

A blogpost by Tom March, lead technology adviser at GDS, on the initiative says the work was focused on decision-making about cloud and the issues of vendor lock-in and guidance.

It found that one of the main issues is that users are not always sure how they should assess whether using just one cloud supplier is the right move. One department found it could provide the same capabilities more cheaply by using functions only offered by one supplier, while another decided to use functionality only if offered by several so it had the option of migration in the future.

“Users also did not always know what to do when a service is offered by one supplier,” the blog says. “Should they take advantage of the benefits of the unique service or should they not use it so it’s easier to move to another supplier in the future.”

The research also found that many participants thought a central cloud strategy would be a good idea as it can encourage the reuse of patterns and make collaboration easier. An internal assurance process could make sure that all projects match the agreed strategic approach.

GDS is planning to continue the research, looking to provide guidance on choosing a cloud supplier and evaluating benefits and the risks of lock-in.

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