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UK.gov cloud is 'biggest breakthrough' - UK.gov cloud CIO

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CCWF2012 The UK public sector's IT bazaar Cloudstore sold about £500,000 of services between February and April this year, government CIO Andy Nelson said.

Speaking at the Cloud Computing World Forum, Nelson said the launch of the G-Cloud and Cloudstore, from which government departments can purchase technology, was the “biggest single breakthrough” in public sector ICT - but admitted there was still a way to go yet.

At the end of last month the second iteration of G-Cloud was launched, which extended the length of contracts that could be bought to up to 24 months in special circumstances and upped the value of contracts to £100m. The changes aim to get more government bodies and more suppliers onto the G-Cloud.

“[One of our challenges is] maintaining the momentum," said Nelson, “working with all government departments to get them to adopt.”

He also said integration across Whitehall is an issue.

“Every department will need to come out with a digital agenda by the end of this year: how will we integrate all that?” he asked. Improving government services and procurement was something that had to be done in a “world of little or no money”, he added.

The UK government has been trying to force its usually ponderous departments to get up to speed with the agile world of the cloud so it can save a few pounds from the cash often splurged on IT. Getting suppliers together on a project like G-Cloud is supposed to help the government to easily look at all the options and give it access to small and medium businesses as well as larger enterprises.

Cabinet Office Minister and Paymaster General Francis Maude has famously said that G-Cloud and Cloudstore will save Blighty £340m, although he’s been light on details of how and where the millions will come rolling in.

Nelson filled in a few of the blanks on Tuesday when he said the savings would come across G-Cloud and HSC by 2015.

Yesterday, Maude said at the World-Class Public Services conference that his government had to start buying and using IT better.

“We need to make government synonymous with digital services that are cost-effective, and easy to use, not costly, embarrassing failures,” he said.

Nelson echoed those sentiments today, saying the aim of G-Cloud, which hasn’t been fully realised yet, is to get the government procuring IT faster and at a cheaper price, while still staying secure. ®

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