Maude Says G-Cloud Costs £4.93m

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Cabinet Minister Says G-Cloud is making “good progress”

Cabinet Minister Francis Maude has confirmed that the estimated cost for the G-Cloud programme is around £4.93 million.

The information was revealed when Michael Dugher, Labour MP for Barnsley East asked Maude how much the project cost.

“The estimated cost for the G-Cloud programme (including the CloudStore) is £4.93 million,” replied Maude. “This is being met from the Cabinet Office SR10 settlement and is subject to the ERG spend and controls process. The savings it is expected the programme will deliver are estimated at £340 million.”

“The G-Cloud programme is making good progress,” he added.

Gov getting greener?

Maude has also answered questions regarding the government’s Green ICT Strategy, saying more details will be revealed in the annual update shortly.

Dugher also asked about the government’s plans for data centre consolidation and reducing its carbon footprint, Maude was more guarded and refused to disclose any exact details.

“The Government’s plans for data centre consolidation were laid down in the Government ICT Strategy Implementation Plan published in October 2011,” said Maude. “The Government is currently on track against this plan, and an update will be published shortly in the Green ICT Strategy.”

“The Cabinet Office has collected the baseline information from Departments around the cost and energy consumed by Government data centres and their servers and is actively working to consolidate and rationalise Government data centres which will save energy and costs,” he added.

The government launched the CloudStore in February with the aim of creating a competitive marketplace for cloud-delivered services pre-approved for public sector bodies. However, the former director of G-Cloud, Chris Chant, hit out at the government’s IT systems and managers, which he said were 10 years behind industry standards, while his replacement Denise McDonagh also warned that the government was unprepared for the mass adoption of the cloud.

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  1. The government’s comments about the savings that can be achieved through the use of G-Cloud and the likely costs of the project need to be taken with a large pinch of salt. It is unclear how they have calculated these figures. Whatever method they have used, it is unlikely that they have factored into their equations the many issues and challenges, which need to be overcome before the G-Cloud can become successful.

    One problem it faces is how to manage change. How can government, and the wider public sector, whose procurement process often ends up stalled by bureaucracy and red tape, add, amend or retire services from the catalogue quickly and efficiently? In other words, how can it maintain ‘flexibility for change’? The restraints on public sector pay announced in the recent budget look set to make matters worse, as this elusive flexibility will become even harder to achieve. . This is a significant programme of change that requires strong organisational management skills to ensure benefits, primarily cost and flexibility, are realised.

    There will also be problems around cultural readiness, again likely to be made worse by the changes announced in the recent budget. Government may have created a catalogue in the shape of CloudStore that public sector businesses can buy from, but are government agencies prepared for this? After all, these agencies are typically less culturally advanced than businesses in the private sector – and it is debatable whether government users are ready for the kind of transformation that moving to the cloud may bring to interaction with IT systems and services. Again, the way the G-Cloud is currently configured, it is a project that is more likely to lead to escalating cost rather than one to drive efficiencies and financial savings.

    by Andrew Carr, sales and marketing director, Bull UK & Ireland