I was stirred by an article in the Guardian’s government computing section: No Minister: No chance for the G Cloud which questions the viability of the Government’s approach to cloud computing. Whilst doing anything transformative in government IT is going to be hard, I see much to recommend in the approach being taken. I wrote this comment in response (copied here)…
If you’ll allow me a pinch of counter-rhetoric, I can’t help feeling this is wrongheaded old-think.
To me, it seems likely that ‘Cloud’ is the beginning of the maturing of computing into a utility. This maturing will probably take some time, but it is inescapable. It is a fundamental economic tide that public sector culture and government interests will not (in the end) hold back. So, it absolutely makes sense to experiment with these ideas now, even if it is not immediately possible to see how things will turn out. The incremental approach being taken with G-cloud seems spot on.
The post talks of the ‘public sector not being ready for’ G-cloud. It may be that much of it isn’t; but it only takes one Department to be ready – one to show how it might be done. If genuine value is demonstrated, others will follow; behaviours, and eventually culture, will change. There is no need for ‘selling’ or ‘being pushy’, particularly not ‘being pushy’. I would be deeply worried if someone had successfully persuaded Government that this was the way to go (and another farm-sized bet was being placed).
The bit about Bill McCluggage caught my eye. I do not know Mr McCluggage or anything of the circumstances of his moving on, so please don’t take this as a judgment of him. The paragraph picks on ‘tough talking’ and an ability to ‘drive through’ as principal qualities needed to make things change in this situation: but I just don’t believe they are. They are (perhaps) needed to deliver big technical programmes; but I don’t see the move to utility computing, or the other changes needed to put government IT on its feet, in this bracket. Genuine, transforming change happens organically. It happens as a result of planting seeds, nurturing them and keeping back weeds: it does not get ‘delivered’.
I see signs of gardening. There is not ‘no chance’ for the G-cloud’.
What do you think? Perhaps post a comment yourself, either here or on the original post?
Update: Foden Grealy is now a supplier to the G-Cloud framework contract. Here’s what we offer.