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In brief …. 1 May 2015



Cardiff signs with SAP for cloud move

City of Cardiff Council has signed up SAP as a partner for a digital transformation project that will involve moving its IT systems to the cloud over the next three years.

The council will use the company's Cloud for Customer solutions with the HANA cloud platform to create a digital self-service portal for residents. The portal will be integrated into the CRM system and back end platforms to provide a consistent view of customer activity on different channels.

The solution will also give Cardiff an improved data analytics capability, along with richer reporting systems for staff and support the delivery of new digital services.

Ross Maude, Cardiff's senior enterprise architect, said: "Our relationship with SAP means that together we're able to implement an integrated cloud based solution that brings all of our systems together and allows us to focus on the growing needs of Cardiff residents."

GDS faces three big risks, says consultancy

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is running into contradictions in its role and could undermine its own efforts unless it deals with three major risks, according a report by business consultancy BDO.

Government Digital Service 2015 says the service, based in the Cabinet Office, has some positive achievements to its name since it was launched in 2011, notably in the establishment of the domain name, the shift towards agile development in central government, and the consolidation of the Public Services Network. But these could be undermined if it does not face up to issues around accountability, its commercial role and efficiency.

On the accountability front, problems can arise from its dual role as an advisor and auditor to government organisations. The commercial risk comes from its influence on spending frameworks such as G-Cloud and the Digital Services Framework, which the report says are geared towards buying inputs such as man-days of coding or terabytes of storage rather than outputs. This reduces the incentive for suppliers to help provide outputs in good time.

On efficiency, the problems can derive from GDS's monopoly on providing digital advice to government departments, its ability to impose as many staff as it wishes on a project. The report acknowledges its strong expertise but argues that the demand for its services far outstrips its current capacity.

Solihull commissions new data centre

Solihull Council has signed a deal with Secure IT Environments to build a new 390 sq m data centre. Work on the centre, which will house the council's servers and storage equipment, was due to begin this week.

The council said in a statement: "The new data centre is key to ensuring business continuity for all services within the council. It will help us to reduce energy consumption and provide a cost-effective solution for the future."

Memset data centre goes live

Cloud hosting provider Memset has announced that its new data centre in Dunsfold Park, Surrey, has is now fully live with a connection to the PSN-Protected network. This makes it suitable for high security government data, up to Impact Level 4, on the Public Services Network.

The company is planning a second PSN-connected facility with the related security arrangements, and is currently working with customers using multiple suppliers and using the PSN as the interlink.

Kate Craig-Wood, managing director of Memset, said: "Trying to secure a PSN connection was a surprisingly long process for us and very resource intensive for an organisation of our size. However, we now have a live connection which is an additional USP for an SME like Memset supplying Lot 2 hosting services to the public sector via G-Cloud."

Pictured: Cardiff Bay, Gareth James, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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