Government details its vision for cloud, green and end user IT

By Nicola Brittain
28 Oct 2011 View Comments
Francis Maude

The government yesterday fleshed out its ICT Strategic Implementation Plan with the release of four follow-on reports covering cloud, green IT, general ICT capability and end user devices.

In a statement, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude (pictured) said, “The four strategies link together to fully exploit the cost opportunities arising from technology developments, and to increase the capability and capacity of government to manage its own ICT and reduce reliance on expensive consultants and contractors.”

Further reading

Government cloud strategy

The Government Cloud Strategy report says the government will adopt a "public cloud first approach", meaning it will consider whether new services can be procured via the public cloud before considering alternatives.

The G-Cloud strategy will be coordinated by the G Cloud Delivery Board, while the long-term adoption and assurance of cloud services within government will be managed by the G Cloud Authority.

The strategy details 14 milestones set between now and 2015. The milestones are divided between datacentre consolidation work, work related to the cloud and app store and governance issues that need to be tackled.

All the governance milestones have now been achieved, the report says. Other significant milestones include the drawing up of public datacentre standards by January 2012 and the spending of 50 per cent of central government ICT funding on public cloud computing services by 2015.

Green IT

The Greening Government ICT report states that although ICT contributes globally only 2-3 per cent of carbon emissions, it has a key role to play in combating climate change.

The first part of the strategy details how to improve efficiency across the ICT lifecycle (manufacture, design and disposal) and the second part looks at how ICT can enable more green government operations.

Opportunities for rationalisation, according to the report, include the creation of an ICT Asset and Service Knowledge Base (ASK). This will allow government to identify surplus and redundant ICT equipment and applications that can be switched off and recycled.

It also states that sharing and reusing infrastructure and services across government through programmes such as the Public Sector Network (PSN), G-Cloud and video teleconferencing will help to reduce emissions.

Finally, the green strategy aims to remove duplication by consolidating and rationalising servers and datacentres where possible across the ICT estate.

End user strategy

This report calls for the introduction of pan-government standards, the separation of layers within the device infrastructure, the exploitation of new device technology for business benefit, and managed refresh cycles that best meet business needs.

It argues that the separation of the application and device layers will lower costs by enabling standard application packages that can be consumed across government. This would cost less because government would only need to integrate applications and test devices once.

It would also allow the government application store to provide standard applications across government, reducing procurement and overall license costs, and enable licence sharing and application re-deployment across departments.

Some 25 milestones have been created in this area, including the creation of a technical architecture by December.

ICT Capability strategy

Underpinning all the above is the ICT Capability strategy, which Maud said "uses a professional framework to increase the capability of ICT professionals at all levels and reduce expenditure on external expertise”.

The Capability Strategy looks at the skills and governance requirements to enable implementation of the technical strategies and build a "cadre of expertise that continually and sustainably develops to keep up with a rapidly changing technical and commercial environment". Among the many skills it seeks to promote is agile programming.


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