The public sector must go beyond low-hanging fruit to achieve meaningful, cloud computing-fuelled digital transformation | Cloud industry forum

The public sector must go beyond low-hanging fruit to achieve meaningful, cloud computing-fuelled digital transformation

Research report from CIF and UKCloud reveals that while 82 per cent of public sector organisations have deployed at least one cloud service, true digital transformation is far from being realised

While the UK public sector is rapidly adopting cloud-based services, migration challenges and a lack of leadership and skills in the sector mean that the majority of organisations have yet to move beyond the ‘low-hanging fruit’. This is the key finding of a new research report published today by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and UKCloud, who argue that if the public sector is to achieve the sort of transformation needed to keep pace with citizens’ expectations and do more with less, it must embrace cloud more wholeheartedly.

Vanson Bourne conducted the seventh annual body of research on behalf of the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) to determine the level of Cloud adoption among participants and to gain insights into attitudes, experiences and trends across the UK public sector. It found that whilst 82 per cent of public sector organisations have formally adopted cloud-based services, up from just 62 per cent a year ago, adoption remains shallow.

This limited adoption can be attributed to several obstacles, which necessarily slow the pace of adoption. 40 per cent stated that they lacked the budget needed to move more applications to the cloud, over half (54 per cent) cited an unwillingness to take risks and a quarter 24 per cent) of respondents reported that they were held back by a lack of appropriate skills.

Alex Hilton, Chief Executive of CIF, expanded on this problem: “The take-up of cloud computing within the UK public sector has been a story of consistent growth, and the overall adoption rate of has more than doubled since we first started charting the cloud market seven years ago. This growth is thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of the Government Digital Service (GDS) to accelerate the sector’s move to digital services and the launch of G-Cloud. But while comfort with cloud is clearly increasing, and public sector organisations are achieving a wide range of benefits as a result of their use of cloud services, for many organisations, penetration cloud services remains relatively shallow.

“Public sector organisations tend to find moving to the cloud a more complex challenge than their counterparts in the private sector. Long-standing and heavy investments in legacy technology can be obstacles to rapid adoption, while a lack of appropriate funding and a shortage of people with the right skills to manage cloud services act as a significant brake on progress. These obstacles must be navigated and addresses as a priority if the public sector is to progress and make a lasting break with old ways of working,” he continued.

Commenting on the findings, Simon Hansford, CEO at UKCloud, said: “The data indicates that many of the migrations that we have seen to date in the public sector have targeted the so-called low hanging fruit – typically virtualised applications that can simply and easily be shifted into the cloud. While this is a good start, to unlock the full potential of cloud and digital transformation, organisations need to tackle the complexity inherent in many processes, overcome the cultural barriers to adoption and seek to breach departmental silos. In many areas, this will require them to rethink the way that services are delivered and then truly embrace an agile, cloud-native approach while radically changing their internal operations. I hope that, with the right assistance from the industry, we will see more progress along this path when we come to reveal next year’s research findings.”

Peter Middleton, Director at Cloudline Ltd and Chair of the CIF Public Sector Special Interest Group (SIG), concluded by stressing the joint role of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), government, and CIF itself in facilitating a more cloud-savvy public sector: “In order for public sector organisations to avail themselves of the best of cloud computing they need to understand what’s available in the marketplace and how it aligns with their requirements. This requires better collaboration within the established G-Cloud procurement framework and the Government Digital Marketplace. It is for this reason that we established a Special Interest Group dedicated to helping public sector organisations better understand the cloud marketplace and to helping CSPs meet their requirements.”  

For more information about the research or to download the white paper – Cloud: Unlocking transformation across the UK’s public sector – visit: