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Public sector still picking ‘low hanging fruit’ in cloud



Report from Cloud Industry Forum shows most authorities have now adopted cloud services, but there are still significant barriers

Public service organisations are increasing their usage of cloud services, but still focusing largely on “low hanging fruit”, according to a new report from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and UKCloud.

Research firm Vanson Bourne carried out the research – the seventh of its type – on behalf of the industry organisation and cloud provider, including 50 public sector representatives in a wider survey of 250 IT and business decision-makers from all sectors.

One of the prime findings was that 82% of public sector bodies have now adopted cloud services, up from just 62% a year ago, and that 51% regard it as very important or critical to their digital transformation strategies.

But the adoption remains shallow, with 72% using cloud for just one or two services, and only 2% saying it has been used for five or more.

Budget and risk

The limited adoption has been attributed to a number of factors: 40% of respondents said they lacked the budget needed to move more applications to the cloud; 54% cited an unwillingness to take risks; and 24% said they were held back by a lack of appropriate skills.

Alex Hilton (pictured), chief executive of CIF, said: “The take-up of cloud computing within the UK public sector has been a story of consistent growth, and the overall adoption rate of has more than doubled since we first started charting the cloud market seven years ago. This growth is thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of the Government Digital Service (GDS) to accelerate the sector’s move to digital services and the launch of G-Cloud.

“But while comfort with cloud is clearly increasing, and public sector organisations are achieving a wide range of benefits as a result of their use of cloud services, for many organisations, penetration of cloud services remains relatively shallow.  

“Public sector organisations tend to find moving to the cloud a more complex challenge than their counterparts in the private sector. Long standing and heavy investments in legacy technology can be obstacles to rapid adoption, while a lack of appropriate funding and a shortage of people with the right skills to manage cloud services act as a significant brake on progress.

“These obstacles must be navigated and addressed as a priority if the public sector is to progress and make a lasting break with old ways of working.”

Top applications

Other details of the report show that web hosting is the most widely used cloud application, with 63% of public sector respondents saying it has already been adopted. No other applications reach the 50% mark, although data storage, communications and collaboration services, platform-as-a-service, office productivity tools and CRM all show rates above 40%.

It also shows that 51% now regard the use of a hybrid model as their primary approach to IT, while 27% are still focused largely on premise and just 20% are aiming for all cloud. Despite this, 73% said they expect their organisation to increase its take-up of cloud over the next 12 months.

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