Government organizations make unlikely tech trailblazers, but trailblazers they undoubtedly are when it comes to cloud adoption. Cloud computing for government is becoming increasingly prevalent and the Huddle team has watched the adoption of cloud services in the public sector grow exponentially over the last few years.
Since Huddle was founded in 2006, we have worked extensively with the public sector. Enabling information to be securely shared across departments and externally with stakeholders, contractors and partners, Huddle is used by 80 percent of central UK government departments to drive efficiencies and reduce operational costs. In addition, Huddle’s intelligent content collaboration platform is used by a whole host of UK local councils and NHS organizations, European governments, including Belgium, Italy, Greenland, Finland and Spain, and numerous U.S. government organizations.
Why cloud computing for Government is so important
Huddle’s impressive credentials when it comes to cloud computing for government mean we are particularly well-placed to understand just why cloud services are so important, so valued and have such high adoption rates in the public sector.
What works for an organization currently will undoubtedly change over time, so the ability to scale technology requirements up or down with no fuss is important for Government organizations.
The public sector is a prominent supporter of flexible working. It provides staff with the opportunity to work how, when and where they need to and achieve greater work/life balance as a result. Such flexibility is simply not possible without cloud services. As pan-government projects become increasingly common, bringing together geographically dispersed teams to work together, the ability to provide staff with access to required content from wherever they are via cloud services is becoming increasingly important.
Cheltenham Borough Council works with five other district councils in Gloucestershire, using Huddle to share documentation securely and keep all conversations and comments in one central place. Recent TechValidate research with Huddle customers revealed that 77 percent of government organizations agreed that Huddle provided workers with a central location to view files and discussions.
Using cloud services allows people to work more efficiently and productively, saving time on tasks such as chasing document approvals and searching through inboxes for the correct content, that can be used elsewhere in an organization. More than half of government customers (54 percent) questioned stated that communication had been improved with Huddle and almost two thirds (62 percent) agreed that Huddle makes government more efficient.
Public sector organizations have always been under pressure to manage costs effectively, drive efficiencies and continue to improve public services. Now, there is an increasing amount of pressure falling on cloud computing technologies. By shifting to Cloud computing for government, they are hoping to save £20million in 2012-13, £40million in 2013-14 and £120million in 2014-15.
These are ambitious goals, but with cloud services there are no extra costs for servers, support, or maintenance. By deploying Huddle, for example, 67 percent of government IT organizations have seen savings in software licensing costs and 31 percent have reduced overall costs.
Public sector projects can involve multiple departments as well as external agencies, consultant and suppliers. For collaboration to be effective it cannot be impacted by firewall restrictions and the TechValidate research showed that 70% of surveyed government IT organizations have partially or completely replaced email attachments with Huddle. East Devon District Council has succeeded in bringing together 11 authorities and two external consultants to work together on projects using huddle.
Leaping to the cloud and away from legacy ICT systems
The past year has seen a particular increase in Government departments coming to us seeking an effective replacement for SharePoint. 40% of government IT organizations surveyed by TechValidate have partially or completely replaced Microsoft SharePoint or other Microsoft products with Huddle.
Key reasons for this include the need for mobile and remote working in the cloud, improved cost efficiencies and cross-firewall collaboration. Providing external users with access to legacy on-premise ICT systems can prove both a time consuming and costly process. As Chris Cox, Program Manager at Cheltenham Borough Council explains:
“Having used Huddle for some of my own projects, I recognized its potential for Cheltenham Borough Council’s partnership projects. For document management and secure collaboration, in particular, I felt it would be invaluable. We also looked at deploying other collaboration tools, including SharePoint, but they required a lot of infrastructure work and had a slow design and deployment process. We could get up and running on Huddle immediately and everyone could access the information they needed from wherever they were, which is great for remote teams.”
Whilst the public version of Huddle is secure enough for many public sector organizations and the service has pan-government accreditation at IL2, we realized that for certain public sector teams, security was of the highest importance.
So in the UK Huddle joined forces with FCO Services to launch Huddle IL3, the first commercial public cloud service to be modified and accredited for pan-government collaboration on restricted data. Huddle IL3 has all of the features for users to collaborate on projects, share documents, review content and much more, but with the very highest levels of security.
In the U.S., Huddle has just agreed a partnership with In-Q-Tel that has enabled a FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002) certified instance of Huddle to begin development. This will enable government organizations to collaborate effectively and securely and is already being developed for the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
For more information about cloud computing for government and how Huddle is being used by public sector organizations all over the world, take a look at our government collaboration credentials.
About the author:
Ian Topliss, Director of Public Sector, Huddle
Ian leads Huddle’s public sector team. He has more than 15 years experience within the IT industry and over the last six years has focused specifically on the public sector. Prior to joining Huddle, Ian was area manager for public sector at Gartner where he managed a team of ten people focusing on central and local government clients.