G-Cloud: takes outside-in approach

Thursday 10th November 2011
Outsight-in and Insight-out over Outside-in thinking: customer centricity and relevance Courtesy:phoenixcentre.com

The Scottish Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service was due to put Capgemini's Phoenix systems into offices across Scotland after a 2-year trial that spent £2.3m. The scheme was mothballed in April. However, Capgemini is still tasked with overseeing the controversial HMRC Real Time Information System, put in place for Universal Credits introduction by 2013, with trials to begin April 2012.

In his article Making sense of the G-cloud, Andy Mulholland Capgemini Global CTO (right) writes inEGovMonitor illuminatingly on a range of large and smaller government entities and their approaches to the Clould and identifies a change in  thinking.

In the US, for example, (left) Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has launched the Federal Cloud Computing strategyin February this year. President Obama’s administration is adopting what it calls the ‘Cloud First’ approach and from 2012 federal agencies must default to cloud-based solutions.

In the UK, the proposal for a government cloud, the G-Cloud, was back in 2009 from government CIO John Suffolk (right). It’s taken two years, but in early October this year The Cabinet Office announced plans to begin procurement of services for the G-Cloud with the publication of a tender notice for a framework contract later in the month.  

The Australian Government has been working with technology vendors on the development of government cloud services.

Its draft strategy paper early 2011 gave December 2012 as its target date for the development of a web-based “storefront” type service catalogue of pre-approved cloud computing services for federal government agencies to choose from.

In the Nordic region, Capgemini is already working with public sector CIOs to explore a ‘Nordic Cloud’.could make select public data transparently available so diverse government organisations can tap into it from inside their organisational boundaries, rather than working from their own siloed data stores.

Inside-out approach reduces cost of out-side-in
This cloud use is referred to as ‘inside-out’, as opposed to using Cloud technology to deliver the new generation of citizen services externally which is called ‘outside-in,’ This model reduces the huge cost and complexity of operating numerous siloed IT systems, many performing similar tasks, by sourcing the same technology, information and services from a single source outside the organisation. Nordic CIOs are amongst a number fast recognising the huge range of possibilities that cloud creates in terms of new ways of serving customers or running corporate functions. |

In Scotland there is another great example of what is, in essence, a private G-Cloud. eProcurement Scotland (ePS) a multi-agency procurement platform launched in 2002. It has evolved into a scalable, ‘as-a-service’, multi-tenant system to which new users and organisations can always be added.
It currently represents about one third of total public procurement in Scotland. It has made a marked improvement to public sector efficiency, and created significant public value.

In the Netherlands, a security-sensitive cloud implementation known as the Information Pool is currently piloted. Designed for use in emergency situations, the system enables multiple public agencies to exchange their data on a single platform to enable high speed information sharing ‘on the fly’ at times of crisis.

In the UK the Information Workplace Platform (IWP) at the Department for Education facilitates on-demand content management, collaboration, workflow, management information, and sophisticated enterprise search via a web browser. It allows the government department to provision new business information and collaboration services quickly, cheaply and with a high degree of user engagement.

Five essential features of cloud computing
All these exhibit some or all of the five essential features of cloud computing as defined by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These features are:
  • On-demand service: users provision computing capabilities when needed
  • Broad network access: capabilities can be accessed over a network via diverse devices 
  • Resource pooling: computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers
  • Rapid elasticity: capabilities can be quickly provisioned, in some cases automatically
easured service: resource usage can be monitored, controlled and reported.
The argument in favour of the value, flexibility and quality these features provide is so compelling that Capgemini believes the transition to cloud will define the technology landscape of government in the coming decade.

However, starting the journey to the cloud is proving a challenge for some governments. Many are daunted by the complex questions that cloud appears to pose around data security, business roles and commercial models.

New joined-up mindset versus traditional IT
Adopting a cloud strategy demands a change in mindset. Government leaders across the fields of business and technology need to consider the impact of cloud on the overall strategy of their organisations and on their service delivery models. They must approach cloud adoption in a cohesive manner, assessing all the potential cloud touchpoints, including internal stakeholders and partner agencies.

The impact of new models on frontline services and corporate functions should be explored to ensure that the technology aligns with the direction of the business. By moving corporate functions from inside an organisation to an external cloud, costs can be reduced while improving performance and flexibility.
Equally, innovative cloud models can bring the outside environment – customers, partners, and the service delivery chain – into the heart of an organisation and continue the progress being made towards greater customer-centricity, choice, data sharing and joined-up service provision.

Capgemini defines this as the ‘outside-in’ model in contrast to the traditional IT model that supports the internal government services and operates as ‘inside-out’. In the ‘outside-in’ model, we see government engaging the customer in its service delivery.
The flexibility of cloud computing allows services to be developed that are centred on events making sense to the customer. In ‘outside-in’, flexibility and citizen-centric delivery can be achieved without the constraints or security issues of existing ‘inside-out’ IT.

As technology fundamentally changes the way citizens want to interact with their governments, it is now time for government agencies to appoint a leader for cloud, set out a strategic roadmap involving business and technology, and test its potential with a pilot cloud implementation.
Capgemini’s own EU eGov annual survey now incorporates cloud provisioning and new business models, allowing peers across EU governments to benchmark their own journeys to the cloud. 
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