Socitm calls for sector to think not just cloud, but ‘SuperCloud’

A new integrated ‘federation of networks’ could best serve public services in the future – but only with right leadership approach, says the public sector IT leadership group

Posted 6 March 2017 by

Public sector IT leadership group Socitm says the community could learn much from what it sees as the “imaginative and innovative vision” behind the London SuperCloud.

SuperCloud – the brainchild of the team behind the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) – could be an “exemplar” of what can be done with technology for the benefit of citizens, it notes in its latest briefing for members.

LGfL provides authenticated users a wide range of safeguarding and communication services, able, last week, to process 225,000 applications for London secondary school places, delivering 565,000 SMS text messages to parents, and sending more than 50,000 mobile application alerts via its mobile app. LGfL is also taking about the possibility of AI being introduced, which could support and benefit the often non-linear nature of public service relationships.

However, the briefing continues, the SuperCloud is about much more than tech: it is essentially a massive change programme. And naturally, such major initiatives require joined-up thinking – as the briefing puts it: “SuperCloud will only succeed if there is alignment in leadership, behaviours, strategy and technology planning”.

However, scaling the benefits beyond London can only happen, it warns, with “a focused meeting of minds at a leadership level”, it believes.

The study, free to users of the Socitm Insight service or organisations that have Socitm corporate membership, says there are many “reasonable, and even practical”, ways forward to build similar federation of networks beyond the London SuperCloud that could best serve the many diverse and complicated needs of public services of all kinds.

Socitm Head of Research Andy Hopkirk says could emerge by accident or by design, but action needs to start now to reap the full benefits of a SuperCloud-like solution.

“We need to be immediately proactive and make the very best of what we have in hand or near so,” he writes in the study, London Grid for Learning Trust’s SuperCloud.

“Initiatives such as the SuperCloud could be part of that very near-term mix, and best built with an eye towards their inevitable incorporation into their successors,” he adds, but concludes by noting that, to succeed, public sector IT cloud advocates “need to be intelligent enough to make a good blend of several opportunistically-managed accidents and wide-scope design” – something he sees as “a cross-sectoral leadership challenge”.