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Taking cloud beyond the hype



An opportunity to share perspectives on what makes for success in using cloud services for digital transformation

Round table discussions - London 29 September and Manchester 12 October

There is now little argument about the value of cloud services to local government: a firm consensus has developed that it is an integral element of digital transformation, with one of the big benefits being the scope for increased collaboration between organisations.

Support for the transition has come not just from the IT community, as with the Government Digital Service’s advocacy of the ‘Cloud Native' approach earlier this year, but CIPFA, the body for finance chiefs in local government, has also highlighted the business benefits and urged councils to make the transition.

Cloud will play an important role in the drive for greater collaboration between all parts of the public sector and their communities. It provides a platform for data sharing and the use of software tools that make it easier for people from different organisations to share information and knowledge, and to provide input into joint plans.

The need for this is increasing with the establishment of devolved authorities, such as in Manchester, and the growth of multi-council initiatives, a significant feature of London’s local government landscape.

Sporadic progress

But migration to the cloud has been sporadic, with many organisations showing caution and others running into difficulties. A recent survey by the Cloud Industry Forum revealed that, from 250 public sector respondents, 54% saw problems in the complexity of the migration, 41% were hindered by a shortage of internal skills, 37% by worries over data sovereignty and 32% by concerns around internet access and charges for services.

Almost everyone can see the long term benefits, but many are running into problems in finding their way. And the solutions are often in learning from public sector peers.

IT industry association techUK has urged local authorities to look to other public sector organisations for best practice in the move to cloud. In April it published a paper telling them to seek out the experience and expertise in neighbouring councils, justice and emergency service organisations that are using cloud successfully.

Round table plan

There is now an opportunity to take that step in the form of two round table debates hosted by UKAuthority – in London on 29 September and Manchester on 23 November.

It will bring together representatives from councils and the local government teams from our partner in this research project, Pythagoras, and software company Microsoft to talk about a range of issues around the move to cloud.

These will include the benefits, such as the maximisation of productivity and the scope for more effective collaborative working. But it will also face up to the realities of the migration, covering issues that are slowing its pace. They include questions around procurement, the migration of data, knowing what works best in the cloud and the protocols for collaboration on cloud platforms.

Participants will be able to share their questions, experiences and lessons, with the aim of helping each other overcome the obstacles and speed up the pace of change.

The discussion will be focused on taking it beyond the hype around the promise of cloud to the real world challenges, and to helping participants find their solutions. It is aimed at producing a range of perspectives and ideas, all on a non-attributable basis, that will feed into a briefing paper for publication in the weeks after the event. It amounts to a fresh piece of thought leadership in a field that it is a priority for all local public services.

It is an opportunity to increase understanding and think afresh about the realities of cloud computing in the public sector.

For more information and registration details of the two events, go to the following links:

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