Public and private sector organizations around the world are increasingly taking advantage of the scalable power of cloud computing. Solutions hosted in private clouds, overflow server capacity available on demand and use of subscription-based software are all finding their place in the technology mix.
While cloud technology is available in many forms, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), applications as a service (AaaS) and software as a service (SaaS), evidence from North America would suggest that enterprise software, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions purchased through a subscription rather than as a capital expense, has not taken off in the private sector (related blog post here). Statistics also show that public sector entities tend to use cloud computing simply for document sharing, but have been slow to take advantage of the other benefits that the cloud has to offer.
In the public sector in the UK, however, the government is seeking core benefits and efficiencies in IT procurement and driving central government departments to consider a designated public cloud offering subscription-based SaaS first in any IT procurements.
The public sector can embrace the immediate upfront benefits of avoiding capital expense with SaaS technology, and deployment in the cloud offers huge benefits in flexibility of service associated with clustered servers and outsourced application administration. Here at IFS, we have identified three distinct advantages government bodies in the UK will derive from the G-Cloud in addition to the lack of a capital outlay for the software license:
1. Greater agility in administration
There is no need to buy more server capacity than you need to accommodate future growth.
Cloud computing means government departments can upscale their server capacity during peak times, for example during national emergencies or in the run up to deadlines, while downscaling when demand is lower. There is also greater flexibility in working locations, meaning that mobile employees do not need to be present in the office to perform tasks.
2. Focus on running government, not IT
Users will also simplify the roll-out of enterprise solutions. This means that government departments can spend time focusing on governing rather than implementing their IT solutions, thereby managing business change more effectively and avoiding costly, often seemingly never-ending projects.
3. Easy collaboration – no more siloed government departments
The third benefit is greater efficiency: ranging from fewer misplaced documents to greater collaboration between departments. Without the cloud, colleagues in a given government entity must share documents back and forth over email – and with documents stored on physical devices, the potential for document loss, revision control problems or accidental leakage is high and costly.
G-Cloud can also improve collaboration across various departments. If the same system is selected from G-Cloud across multiple branches of government, collaboration becomes much more efficient and effective as information can be more readily shared.
How is IFS involved?
Nine functional modules of IFS Applications can currently be procured by government ministries and other bodies in the United Kingdom using the G-Cloud framework (increasing to 11 in the next G-Cloud iteration in April), covering the key government department requirements from a full suite Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, to individual solutions for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and document management, to expense management and time recording. Read more about IFS solutions here.
IFS is attending this year’s Think Cloud for Government event on March 25th. If you’re planning to be there, come and visit us at booth number 5 and see how our solutions can help government departments make the most of their IT budgets. We look forward to meeting you!