UK government CIO wants to build a "government app store"

19 Jun 2009 View Comments
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John Suffolk and clouds
Suffolk: Taking government IT into the cloud

Government chief information officer (CIO) John Suffolk has raised the prospect of developing a “government app store” of software applications, as the public sector moves towards a cloud computing IT infrastructure.

Suffolk responded to a post on a Google Groups forum discussing G-Cloud, the plan to adopt cloud-based IT services for all government technology projects, announced in the Digital Britain report earlier this week.

Further reading

In his post, Suffolk suggested that five million public sector employees could ultimately use G-Cloud, and that would then make it viable to build a government app store – modeled on the mobile phone app store concept popularised by Apple’s iPhone.

“Rather than having shared services in departments we will move them to the cloud so the sharing across the public sector - more than 5 million people - can be even greater,” Suffolk wrote.

“How easy would it to build a Government App Store? The European law on procurement for public sectors is complex but if we can crack this we shift the paradigm again.”

All government departments are to be encouraged to procure new IT services based on a cloud computing model. Development of G-cloud is to be made a priority, according to the Digital Britain report, and while the plan is developed over the next three years, all other IT services procurement should look to follow a similar model in preparation.

Suffolk also highlighted work towards IT standardisation across government as a critical part of making the move to cloud computing.

Suffolk’s post in full said:

“Our approach to G-Cloud stems from the work we have been doing over the past three years: Focus on getting desktop designs standardised; rationalise the morass of telecommunications infrastructures into a ‘network of networks’ under the Public Sector Network Programme; rationalise the datacenters; drive through the open source, open standards and reuse strategy; surround each of those individual elements with the Green IT strategy and our Information Assurance strategy.

"That gives us the ability to start moving towards cloud in a sensible way. As part of this rather than having a shared services in departments we will move them to the cloud so the sharing across the public sector (more than five million people) can be even greater. The open source, open standards and reuse policy provides an interesting opportunity. How easy would it to build a Government App Store? The european law on procurement for public sectors is complex but if we can crack this we shift the paradigm again. More than happy to listen to your views on this.”

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