Cloudy days

February 26, 2012

With the recent launch of the Government App Store, G-Cloud, cloudstore, govstore or whatever it’s actually to be finally branded, a number of commentators have noted that it’s an interesting list for its absentees. Whilst one can’t complain about the list which is lengthy – and Kuan did a good job of translating the spreadsheet into a list – a couple of key government and local government suppliers are absent. I can pick out Northgate and Civica as particularly noticeable.

Probably nearly two years ago I emailed a Northgate director and asked them for their plans in dealing with the ‘cloud’, the only response was that this was being passed along to the director responsible for developments. This is just to emphasise that Northgate and Civica can’t be unaware of G-Cloud and in fact Northgate operate a ‘private cloud‘   and the same applies to Civica, who also have a private cloud service, and as with Northgate aim this at the education sector.

But why aren’t they on the list? Why also aren’t local government services such as revenues & benefits, development management or environmental health being treated to such an approach? Are they such ‘cash cows’ that they’re afraid of losing money? Is the education sector, now so fragmented by central government policy, that it’s an easy picking? I don’t know the answers but I bet the first one in the market with some of these solutions on the CloudStore will gain a lot of interest from hard-pressed local government. Early days, I suppose…

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A lesson in efficiency

August 5, 2010

In the Municipal Journal of 22 July 2010 is a piece by Paul Bradbury of Civica entitled “budgets & efficiency – there is thinking outside of the box”. The piece draws upon public finance body CIPFA‘s survey of finance directors in April. As one can probably intuit the survey was sponsored by Civica.

Surprise, surprise that two of the bullet-pointed ‘strategic responses’ identified both by the survey and Civica were “extending outsourcing as part of a pragmatic service delivery mix, and using managed IT and related business services”, along with “re-engineering entire frontline to back-office processes at the corporate departmental level”.

No argument with the second one but advise doing it BEFORE outsourcing, otherwise you are giving away ALL the profit, however the first one should be a dead duck in the water from experiences of ten years of e-government! Strategically having ones IT managed, if one has a suitable contract in place is one thing, but you can just look back at the cases where it has been brought back in-house, or would have been if the financial penalties hadn’t been so large.

With G-Cloud looming the possibilities for managed IT are formidable, but does this require outsourcing, I don’t think so.