In government IT one get’s used to the fact that you can’t win. In my view the answer to the Balkanization of government IT is more efficient sharing of applications, better procurement of applications and better sharing of data (if and when required), in other words the G-Cloud. The Cabinet Office in the UK has now released the documents envisioning G-Cloud Programme Phase 2.
Unfortunately, some people see this as another way of sharing citizen data amongst government and a mechanism of circumventing the now dumped ID card project! The latest portrayal of this view is in Computer Weekly.
In contrast to this view I’d argue that if we are to reduce the number of government data centres, reduce the cost of data connections, cut the charges paid to a shrinking band of suppliers (who have local government by the short & curlies) and reduce support costs, we have to look to another way of delivering IT services. G-Cloud can be the only way.
G-Cloud gives government the opportunity to dictate standards, quality and support to a level that the current regime of ‘divide and rule’ by suppliers has never permitted. It starts to give government IT the upper hand for once, so I can see why some won’t suppliers like it, but as to willy-nilly data-sharing – I don’t think so!