In the final instalment of our Introduction to cloud computing in government sector series, I’m covering cloud computing in action and how UK government departments are already benefiting from the cloud.

The first thing to remember is that we aren’t just talking about data centres here. Cloud services include social networking tools, video and photo sharing, blog sites and webmail.  In the majority of cases, your team is probably already using these services on a daily basis when not in the office. As a result, transitioning to products like Huddle is often very natural. People find it intuitive to use and it’s straightforward to get started. Here are some examples of how cloud services have already been implemented by government departments.

Policy making

Huddle workspaces are used widely for consultations, petitions, debate and discussion. For example, the Department for International Development (DFID) used Huddle to hold a massive online consultation on the economic empowerment of women. Huddle’s discussion boards were filled with fantastic ideas, and certain individuals were then invited to join a round table discussion offline.

Communications and campaigns

Cloud-based tools enable direct communication with citizens, allowing them to provide forthright responses to questions through social media channels.  The kind of approach to citizen engagement requires quick and honest responses from the departments involved. When done correctly, there are fantastic opportunities to increase public understanding and goodwill.

Democracy and scrutiny

Social media services allow elected officials to reach out to their constituents publicly and efficiently. Other cloud tools enable you to publish data that would have previously been kept within the walls of the organisation, providing full audit trails so you can see what is being done with the data and who’s using it.

Collaborative working

Collaborative working can bring huge benefits.  Cloud tools, such as Huddle, enable users to work with colleagues within their own organisation and provide input to programmes and campaigns with other government organisations. Perhaps most importantly, secure cross-firewall collaboration enables interaction with external stakeholders such as customers, partners or suppliers.  Cloud tools allow you to share knowledge and ensure that this information is made available to a wide group of people, even after a programme or project has ended or an organisation has ceased to exist.

Huddle is one such collaborative working environment. It’s already used by more than 60 per cent of central government departments, numerous local councils and many NHS organisations.  Huddle is used for private consultations, effective collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, distribution of documents to disparate groups, project management, knowledge sharing and website rationalisation programmes. To find out more about our work within government and how it might apply to your organisation, head to the Huddle for Government section of our website.

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