Digital Leaders Forum - "The Cloud" - Right or Wrong for Govt

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What is “The Cloud” and should the Government get involved in its use were the key issues under discussion by a group of professionals from the public and private sectors at the latest Digital Leaders Salon event held in London on Tuesday 21st January at ATOS

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Digital Leaders Forum - "The Cloud" - Right or Wrong for Govt

  1. 1. Cloud – Right or Wrong For Government ? Digital Leaders Salon Event Jan 21st 2014 What is “The Cloud” and should the Government get involved in its use were the key issues under discussion by a group of professionals from the public and private sectors at the latest Digital Leaders Salon event held in London on Tuesday 21st January at ATOS. “The Cloud” is a term used to describe web-based services in which both the data and the applications are spread across a global network of computers. “Cloud services” that are used and offered by large organisations such as Amazon and Google are proliferating rapidly and are in everyday use by citizens and consumers all over the globe. In some countries, public sector organisations already use cloud infrastructure and hosting services to provide citizen services but there are issues which need to be addressed in the UK before there is mainstream acceptance of Govt use of “The Cloud” for UK services. Cloud-based services and infrastructures have many advantages over the traditional “silo-based” mainframe services. They can be extremely quick to develop, highly scalable and very cost efficient because users only pay for the services as they use them. They are also inherently more “joined-up” and collaborative whilst being potentially accessible from registered users anywhere in the world. They provide opportunities to innovate exciting new services in short timescales but there are significant barriers to their adoption and use by the UK Govt. The main issues are Security and Privacy, especially when managed and operated by a Govt and used to deliver citizen services. The recent press revelations about the illegal hacking of smart devices such as fridges and consumer devices in the home can only make the public more alienated against their use for public services but a combination of developments in the “internet of things” and “big data” and adverse publicity arising from the lack of “joined-up” thinking in situations like “Baby P” may force the Govt to become involved out of necessity as well as out of opportunity. The use of cloud-based services to replace legacy systems is fraught with problems both from a cost/benefit perspective and a change management perspective. However, there is no doubt that cloud services have the potential to innovate new citizen centric services to deliver the same kind of attractive user experience that persuades consumers to share private information in exchange for
  2. 2. the benefits of a better service. A good example of where a cloud service might be politically attractive and suitable for pilot projects is its use to support the recent “Shared Services” hub implementation designed to bring social services together with police and health services to prevent child neglect. There are also very major opportunities around personal health which could help solve demographic health time bombs such as obesity and diabetes and shift the responsibility for health management more towards the citizen and away from an under-resourced NHS. There is no doubt the cloud services are here to stay but the question remains as to whether the UK Govt has the vision and/or commitment to shape its future or whether it will be forced into action by development in its commercial use. David Wortley CEO and Founder GAITSS – Gamification and Immersive Technologies Strategic Solutions www.gaitss.net Jan 2014

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