Headlines: April 26th, 2011

The public sector is moving into cloud computing with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs signing a major contract with Huddle. Cloud computing allows oganisations to share resources, software and applications.

The significance of the contract is that it marks a shift away from data centres and outsourcing and towards a situation where public bodies will be able to operate without owning a single server or having a share in a data centre. The contract will also reduce costs and risks and bring scalability and resilience.

The Society of IT Management has agued that the advent of cloud computing means that ICT strategies must be rewritten with cloud adoption as a central theme. It is equally vital to avoid any moves that will delay or compromise this, so investing in a new or enhanced data centre would probably be ill-advised at present. Similarly, outsourcing the IT service now might mean that the benefits of moving to the cloud would be very much delayed.

Huddle is already working with more than 60 per cent of central government departments including the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The company has become the first cloud supplier to recognise government as a single ICT customer, actively working together to deliver increased value for money.

Under the new arrangements, any government body, including central government departments, local government, executive agencies, arms-length bodies and NHS agencies, can benefit from government-specific Huddle pricing, training and support. The agreement follows the release of the Government ICT Strategy, highlighting the need to move to cloud computing, increase collaboration and remove the barriers preventing SMEs from participating in the government ICT marketplace.

Cloud computing is the next stage in computer driven human transformation. Ultimately it will shift data storage and management from organisational servers and the personal computer to remote servers and networks. The ICT industry will be transformed because individual users will need little more than a screen and a minimally powered terminal. All processing will be done in the cloud. No one has yet been fool-hardy enough to suggest how this development will affect organisations and the lives of people.