Innovation and changeCloud ComputingCouncil cloud adoption barriers confirmed

Council cloud adoption barriers confirmed

Freedom of Information requests reveal majority of English councils are now using public cloud services to some extent but widespread adoption still a long way off

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted to all London Borough, Metropolitan, and County Councils in England have revealed that 80% of English councils are now using public cloud services to some extent.

Microsoft Azure is by some distance the most commonly used public cloud service (94%), followed by Amazon Web Services (31%), and Google Cloud (11%). However, the FOI findings do reveal that so far, councils are only dipping their toes in the water of public cloud, with most (68%) running less than a quarter of their IT infrastructure there.

Major barriers

The FOI requests also revealed the reasons for this limited adoption. Application migration (60%), security concerns (55%) and compliance (48%) were cited as the top three barriers, while other challenges include budget constraints (43%), lack of appropriate skills (40%), difficulty in proving return on investment (ROI) (38%), licensing concerns (35%) and vendor lock-in (33%).

“The FOI data indicates councils are showing a growing appetite for public cloud. However, they still face challenges to adoption around application migration, security, and compliance. The 40% of councils worried about a lack of cloud skills will need help addressing this gap,” said Chris Bartlett, Business Unit Director – Public Sector at COMPAREX UK who submitted the FOI requests.

“Cloud has the potential to deliver significant benefits, both in terms of productivity and reduced costs, which is significant when budgets are squeezed. However, councils need to ensure they have a clear roadmap and ongoing optimisation plan in order not only realise these benefits, but also minimise any unplanned spend.”

Email leading the way

The FOI data also reveals that one area where English councils are embracing cloud services at pace is email, with more than half (55%) of English councils already using a public cloud email service. Further, 90% of those not using public cloud email currently, plan to do so within the next three years. Of the councils using cloud email services, Office 365 overwhelmingly proved the most popular option, chosen by 90%; G-Suite (Gmail) was the second most popular option with 10% of councils using it.

“The relatively widespread use of cloud email services signifies an understanding among English councils of the benefits of migrating some services to the cloud, even if there are challenges in migrating more complex business critical infrastructure and applications,” continued Bartlett. “When it comes to the impact cloud email services can have, research shows that successful adoption of Office 365 can give businesses a return on investment of 162% within three years.

“Despite that, many organisations, including councils, aren’t unlocking the product’s full potential – which means they are not getting all the bang for their buck. More than that, they miss out on the cost savings that cloud can deliver. When councils can overcome barriers to more widespread adoption and move beyond using the cloud for just email, they’ll find the benefits multiply dramatically, along with their ability to maximise the cost-effectiveness of cloud.”

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