government says it’s still committed to ‘cloud first’ policy

GDS Director of Technical Architecture & Head of Technology James Stewart says more will be done, though, to provide ‘clarity’ about the approach

Posted 19 September 2016 by Gary Flood

'Cloud' by Art Hitklif, FlickrGDS says it’s renewing its Cloud First policy – that, as default, the first option for the public sector ICT buyer should be to buy a cloud-delivered service.

The Cloud First position is that when procuring new or existing services, public sector organisations should consider and fully evaluate potential cloud solutions first, before they consider any other option. Cloud First is “mandated to central government” and strongly recommended to the wider public sector.

In a blog post last week the Service’s Director of Technical Architecture & Head of Technology James Stewart says that the idea, first introduced three years ago with G-Cloud 3, has proven to have lasting value, as, “The cloud reduces the time and cost to get something up and running, making change easier and empowering our people to experiment with new tools and approaches.”

As a result, “Over the next few months we’ll refresh the Cloud First policy and do more to share existing good practice,” he promises.

But while a lot’s been learned by the sector since 2013, there’s still a lot of education to pass on, he adds.

“There’s huge variation in the maturity of Software as a Service applications, and often that’s good. It’s evidence of a fast moving, innovative marketplace.

“But it’s important we’re clear about what we need from the market so we can have the right interfaces, the right security, and simplicity for users.”

To help, GDS plans to provide “more clarity” for civil servants and the market about what it thinks is best for different types of cloud use in the sector.

“We’re talking about cloud because we believe that the change it represents is a huge opportunity to put more focus on meeting users’ needs, more rapidly, more flexibly and more effectively,” he concludes.