CCS wants to ditch the ‘cloud-first’ procurement policy

‘Computer Weekly’ gets confirmation from CCS’s Niall Quinn that hybrid is the way forward

Posted 16 May 2019 at 8:38am by

Since 2013, when introduced by the then Coalition Government, public sector buyers of IT goods and services have been encouraged to look for a cloud-based solution first – the so-say ‘cloud-first’ policy.

But that era of G-Cloud support may be coming at an end, according to some investigative journalism by Computer Weekly which claims that the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and the Government Digital Service (GDS) wants to change the guidance.

In her story, published last week, the site’s Senior Editor, Caroline Donnelly, claims that, “[cloud-first is] set to be replaced with an updated policy that reflects the growing appetite for hybrid IT deployments in the [UK] public sector”.

She cites as evidence recently issued guidance document from the National Audit Office (NAO) states a change to the policy is set to be announced in “early 2019”, in recognition, says the magazine, of the fact that “cloud-first may not be right for everyone” and “cloud solutions may not always save money”.

Donnelly then got confirmation that this was on the cards from CCS which told her that it is indeed collaborating with GDS to create a more “appropriate” piece of guidance.

In a prepared statement, the former’s director of the technology pillar Niall Quinn says that, “As we have worked though the digital transformation journey with many central government departments and wider public sector organisations, it has become apparent that one size does not fit all, and organisations should make sure they understand what the journey to ‘cloud’ is and means for them in terms of costs, risks, skills and timescales.

“We are seeing more and more customers land on a hybrid solution and therefore ‘cloud first’ may not be right for everyone.”

This wil have big implications for The Digital Marketplace and perhaps tech SME vendor power, such as it is, in central government – as it seems a completely new hybrid procurement framework may emerge that will run in parallel with G-Cloud: “These cloud hosting and services suppliers would move off G-Cloud, over time, to this new framework,” the article quotes Quinn as saying.