Guest blogger: Stuart Lauchlan is Head of Editorial, SiftMedia, publishers of PublicTechnology.net, for all buyers and sellers of public sector ICT, (www.publictechnology.net) and BusinessCloud9, the UK’s first dedicated Cloud Computing publication (www.businesscloud9.com). Stuart will be discussing the topic below in more depth at Huddle’s government cloud computing conference on 12 October. Read more and register here.

“But where’s the Cloud,” we said. “We were promised there would be Cloud.”

And indeed we had been – many times. We’d talked about it, we’d seen the Yanks doing it (and do it well) and we’d assumed it was a done deal.

Yet when the Cabinet Office published the UK National ICT Strategy back in March this year, where was the Cloud? Barely present, that’s where it wasn’t!

So is it off then, this grand adventure in revolutionising the way ICT enables the delivery of essential public services? Or merely postponed?

Actually probably a bit of both – and that may be no bad thing.

As I write this, we await the publication sometime in September (probably!) of the revised UK government Cloud Computing strategy. We don’t know for certain what will be in it, what recommendations it will make and crucially what sort of a time frame it will happen within.

But we can make some educated guesses.

There will an Apps Store of some kind at some point. There will be a lot of talk about data centre consolidation and server utilisation and optimisation.

And there will a rejection of the concept of an over-arching national G-Cloud of the sort we were semi-promised under the Labour government.

Good!

The demise of the uber-Cloud isn’t something I can find it in myself to mourn. I’ve spent so much time over the past decade writing about the horror of the NHS’s National IT Programme – and the billions of pounds thrown away on something that will never work – to relish the thought of another grandiose, all-embracing national strategy.

But at PublicTechnology.net and BusinessCloud9.com, we’ve tracked enough local successes in the Cloud, such as Westminster City Council’s use of Cloud technologies to transform service delivery, to believe that local Clouds for local people is the way to go – and fortunately all the signs from the Cabinet Office are that this is the way ahead.

In my day job as an editor writing about both the public sector and Cloud Computing, I’ve spoken to and heard from die-hard Cloud sceptics and fervent Cloud evangelists – and the overwhelming majority that is the Cloud agnostics.

As we all await the publication of the UK Cloud strategy. the one thing I can say with confidence is: “We were promised Cloud – and we’re going to get Cloud. What kind of Cloud it is…that’s another question altogether.”


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