Local authorities trailing in cloud adoption

New analysis of cloud adoption across councils, public bodies, universities and emergency services reveals slow progress and hurdles to climb.

The report by Eduserv and Socitm raises concerns that progress in the public sector still faces some serious challenges, six years on from the 2013 launch of the government’s Cloud First strategy.

The research, based on data from 633 organisations and interviews with IT leaders across the public sector, found that universities top the public sector cloud rankings, with 36 per cent storing at least 10 per cent of their data in the cloud, followed by public bodies (29 per cent) and local authorities (21 per cent).

Meanwhile, 91 per cent of public bodies still use on premise data centre storage, compared to just 34 per cent of local authorities. This figure rises to 61 per cent of emergency services and 72 per cent of universities.

In terms of having a cloud infrastructure policy or strategy, public bodies lead with 79 per cent having a strategy in place, followed by universities (55 per cent), emergency services (51 per cent) and councils (44 per cent).

Andy Powell, CTO at Eduserv, said: “As the report highlights, the journey will start on-premise and will almost certainly transition into a hybrid phase, possibly for quite some time, as many organisations are insufficiently mature in their IT management and information governance. During their journey to the cloud, public sector organisation IT departments will need to refine their IT delivery models, based on an improved understanding of cloud technology and its potential, new governance models and opportunities of information and data. There is no better time to start thinking about those issues than right now.”

Martin Ferguson, director of Policy and Research at Socitm, said: “The rate of cloud adoption by public sector organisations reflects some serious challenges their IT leaders are currently facing with austerity’s budgetary cuts, lack of understanding by the leadership in other parts of the organisation and a need for culture change.

“Cloud can be a useful vehicle to facilitate collaboration. It is important that public sector organisations understand that cloud technology is not the end result. Rather, it can be one of the enablers of better ways of working and more effective service delivery to achieve better outcomes for citizens.”

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