The majority of public sector executives see digital transformation as the biggest challenge of the coming year, but are failing to prioritise cloud initiatives, according to research by British cloud and network provider Exponential-e.
Despite total sales on the government’s G-Cloud Digital Marketplace reaching £1.39bn, recent research has shown that over half (58%) of public sector IT executives have not used G-Cloud in the past year.
Although the government is aiming to drive digitisation in public services through the G-Cloud framework, public sector IT leaders are still missing the opportunity to use the system to innovate through key digital initiatives such as cloud adoption and big data projects. In fact, despite rating digital transformation as the top challenge facing their organisations over the next year, only 8% of executives have used the Digital Marketplace more than five times in the last year.
The study queried IT professionals across the UK, covering local and central government, health, emergency services, education and the third sector.
Public sector organisations are increasingly viewing the implementation of new digital systems as a key objective to help boost efficiency and improve services. The majority of IT executives (57%) rate digital transformation as being of considerable or high importance for their organisation. Over half (54%) also view compliance and security as a matter of importance, indicating that the need to improve data handling practices is an essential element of digitisation for public sector IT teams. However, only around a quarter (27%) indicate cloud adoption as an important challenge for the next year.
“Many public sector organisations are missing the opportunity which cloud provides to cost-effectively support innovative digital transformation initiatives,” said David Lozdan, head of public sector at Exponential-e. “According to government data, out of the £1.39bn total sales since the launch of G-Cloud, central government departments have been responsible for £1.06bn, compared with only £73m from local authorities and £245m from the wider public sector. In order for these organisations to achieve their digitisation goals, there is clearly a gap to be filled when it comes to engaging within the G-Cloud framework to access secure, flexible cloud services capable of servicing the sector’s growing needs.”
A third (33%) of respondents also indicated that concerns over data sovereignty would stop them from using public cloud services as part of a digital transformation programme. This issue is particularly pressing given the uncertainty of the UK’s political status following its decision to exit the European Union, with 41% of public sector IT executives believing that Brexit will have a significant impact on their organisation.
“With questions over what Brexit means for the future of UK still looming large, data protection regulation is set to become increasingly complex as the government negotiates the departure. As such, it’s essential that public sector organisations carefully consider how their IT services are provisioned and take advantage of the flexibility, accreditations and quality assurance available within the Digital Marketplace,” concluded Lozdan.