This is not about the great poet Wordsworth, but a short resume of what the UK public sector is doing about ‘Cloud Computing’ and how it effects procurement. I must admit although I am an avid enthusiast for technology I don’t do fads and I am certainly well aware of the ability of IT firms to market condition us to buy things we don’t need – why else would a UK local authority be crazy enough to buy SAP?
‘Cloud’ means different things to different people, but the common point of agreement is that it has the power to transform the way government and people interact with each other and share information. Last week I was at a meeting of the London Commercial Fleet Project as they put in place their shared planning tool for commercial fleet - FleetCol. However, regardless of the potential, uptake is slow from the UK public sector. IT providers either speak of nothing but ‘Cloud’ or look at you as if they had just learned that civilization was about to end. The latter group usually comprises big time providers who have made fortunes from license revenues and overpriced services.
Corresponding with Michael Koploy (his procurement guide can be read here) in the USA and reading his excellent blog entry http://blog.softwareadvice.com/articles/enterprise/public-sector-and-the-cloud-101181/ perhaps provides the answers. ‘Cloud’ seems to have two enemies. The first is the big IT providers, particularly outsourcing firms that specialise in making new technology a head ache. The second is the many public sector officials who always want to know where the data is stored. A bulk of information held by public sector bodies is already in the public domain – so does it really matter where it is stored? The big question for me is whether in an age of financial austerity ‘Cloud’ can be kept on the backburner.