By Tony Collins
Anti-cloud CIOs should “move on” says Cabinet Office official, “before they have caused too much harm to their business”.
For years Chris Chant, who’s programme director for G Cloud at the Cabinet Office, has campaigned earnestly for lower costs of government IT. Now his work is beginning to pay off.
In a blog post he says that nearly 300 suppliers have submitted offers for about 2,000 separate services, and he is “amazed” at the prices. Departments with conventionally-good rates from suppliers pay about £700-£1,000 a month per server in the IL3 environment, a standard which operates at the “restricted” security level. Average costs to departments are about £1,500-a-month per server, says Chant.
“Cloud prices are coming in 25-50% of that price depending on the capabilities needed.” He adds:
“IT need no longer be delivered under huge contracts dominated by massive, often foreign-owned, suppliers. Sure, some of what government does is huge, complicated and unique to government. But much is available elsewhere, already deployed, already used by thousands of companies and that ought to be the new normal.
“Rather than wait six weeks for a server to be commissioned and ready for use, departments will wait maybe a day – and that’s if they haven’t bought from that supplier before (if they have it will be minutes). When they’re done using the server, they’ll be done – that’s it. No more spend, no asset write down, no cost of decommissioning.”
Chant says that some CIOs in post have yet to accept that things need to change; and “even fewer suppliers have got their heads around the magnitude of the change that is starting to unfold”.
“In the first 5 years of this century, we had a massive shift to web-enabled computing; in the next 5 the level of change will be even greater. CIOs in government need to recognise that, plan for it and make it happen.
“Or move on before they have caused too much harm to their business.”
He adds: “Not long from now, I expect at least one CIO to adopt an entirely cloud-based model. I expect almost all CIOs to at least try out a cloud service in part of their portfolio.
“Some CIOs across government are already tackling the cloud and figuring out how to harness it to deliver real saves – along with real IT. Some are yet to start.
“Those that have started need to double their efforts; those that haven’t need to get out of the way.”