Vipul Patel, Divisional Managing Director for Technology Services at Civica, charts G-Cloud 12’s role in driving public sector digital transformation plans in 2021 and beyond
COVID-19 has proven that digital transformation in the public sector can happen in a matter of weeks, not years. With the right resources in place, new technologies can be deployed to meet surging demand and respond to urgent needs. We can see the citizen benefits already, such as Liverpool City Council’s Community Helper solution that delivered emergency support to the elderly and vulnerable during the first wave of the pandemic. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella put it succinctly when he said that the firm had seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in just two months in Q2 2020, with cloud underpinning the shift to remote working, online learning and digitised service delivery.
Digitisation has been catalysed by the pandemic. According to Gartner, the surge in public cloud adoption brought about by the pandemic will continue through to 2024, and there will be an 18.4% increase in cloud spending this year, reaching an all-time high of $304.9 billion.
To continue driving this fast pace of transformation, organisations will increasingly rely on G-Cloud 12 as a one-stop-shop for all their cloud-based computing needs. Providing a fast and simple procurement path for the public sector, G-Cloud 12 gives IT leaders access to more than 38,000 services from 5,200 suppliers that are refreshed on a four-year cycle.
The pandemic has shown us that under pressure, the public sector can and will deliver faster more efficient citizen services. But there are concerns that this momentum could stall when everything ‘goes back to normal’ as government priorities shift. With its access to the latest technology and innovation, G-Cloud 12 will play a vital role in ensuring organisations keep up the pace with intensified citizen expectations and a galvanised demand for more digital public services
Delivering better value for money
Since its launch in 2012, the G-Cloud initiative has facilitated £7.9 billion worth of cloud spending, with the majority coming from central government. One study shows that for every £1 spent on the framework, £1 is saved. While these anticipated savings figures fluctuate, there’s no doubt that the framework saves public organisations money. With transparent pricing and flexibility around contract length (the max duration is 24 months), long-term, tied-in contracts can be avoided. This means public sector IT leaders can adopt innovative tools in a more cost-efficient way, trialling new software and services and easily scaling existing solutions.
Facilitating access to reputable suppliers
Put simply, the framework boosts public-private partnerships that are transparent and not subject to lengthy and costly OJEU procurement processes. This improves the quality of the technology on offer, as private organisations compete to ensure they are reputable, and their services are efficient. As such, the public sector can test the market with new technologies and services in a transparent, reliable and most importantly, GDPR-compliant way.
New channels for citizen services
Citizens – and particularly the younger generation – expect public services to match those of their bank or favourite online retailer. They want to be able to submit tax forms online instead of having to visit or call their local council. They want to access GP services on their phone via an app, so they can fit it around work and their personal lives. G-Cloud 12 provides a springboard from which the public sector can easily scale and enhance digital services to meet the demands and expectations of the post-COVID digital age.
The G-Cloud service will continue to grow, encouraging more public sector organisations to try out new technologies and reap the benefits of the cloud. The framework has made it easier and quicker for the public sector to implement cloud services. It has also kept the UK ahead of the curve when it comes to streamlining digital service procurement practices and looking ahead, it could become a blueprint programme that will benefit other European governments while driving healthy competition among technology suppliers.