Canadian high tech association CATAAlliance has launched an advocacy Campaign to make it easier for ICT suppliers – particularly SMEs – to do business with Government through adopting a more efficient and simpler G-Cloud Store procurement model. The Campaign, known as G-Cloud First for Canada, would help govern the procurement of new or existing services, and it would require public sector organizations to consider and fully evaluate potential Cloud solutions first – before they consider any other option. CATAAlliance cited the U.K., as model for government modernization, and has taken the initiative to invite U.K. thought leaders to share their best practices with officials at Shared Services Canada (SSC), the Canadian department mandated to transform the delivery of services to citizens.
“We are committed to ensuring the success of the Government of Canada’s modernization initiatives as it works to reduce operational costs and upgrade aging technical infrastructure,” says CATA CEO John Reid. “Adopting best practices, such as those exemplified in the U.K will accelerate process and cost efficiencies and have a direct impact on the government’s bottom line. Equally important is the need to face our declining innovation metrics.”
A recent State of the Nation Report, “Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation System: Aspiring to Global Leadership” concluded that Canada continues to tread water as a mid-level performer in science, technology, and innovation (STI) and is calling for Canada to aim higher and aspire for global leadership on key STI measures. The Report, released by Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) reflected the collective insights of 18 senior, highly accomplished individuals from the business, research, education, and government communities.
Reid added, “What can we learn from the U.K. experience and then apply to Shared Services Canada’s frameworks in order to accelerate Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship performance? How can we get to first place by adopting 21st Century models in the delivery of services to citizens?”
G-Cloud is the backbone to the U.K.’s cloud first policy; it was designed to help UK government fulfill its pledge that half of new IT spending will be on public cloud services by 2015. The government wants to halve the cost of IT provision by replacing bespoke IT systems with off-the-shelf cloud services, particularly for generic services like email.
According to U.K., Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, “In just 12 months, G-Cloud has shown itself to be a model for efficient public sector IT procurement, establishing a dynamic marketplace for cloud-based IT services. We have simplified the procurement process through G-Cloud to make it more accessible to a wider range of companies, leading to more choice, better value for the taxpayer and growth for the economy. Suppliers are asked what they can offer government, rather than being issued with complicated specifications that stifle innovation. This is the way we want government IT to be – simpler, quicker, and cheaper and focused on matching solutions to business requirements, reducing waste and cutting costs.”
U.K. Program Director Denise McDonagh added, “G-Cloud is a game changer for the way government buys, manages, delivers and operates IT, and interacts with suppliers, driving improved productivity, greater efficiencies and better value services for the taxpayer.”
As part of the G-Cloud, Departments are encouraged to buy cloud services through the government-run online catalogue system, CloudStore – where there are now more than 3,000 services – made up of about 400 IaaS offerings, 80 PaaS offerings, 1,300 SaaS offerings and 1,300 specialist cloud services. These services are targeted at a wide range of public sector bodies, including local and central government, the NHS and police forces. The public sector can thus select the services that best suit their organization’s needs, and then rent the use of services as needed as well as do away with lengthy contracts. Importantly, the system enables SMEs to sell to government departments in equal capacity to larger enterprises.
There are 459 suppliers on the current framework – around 75 percent of them SMEs – who are allowed to offer services such as hosting, storage, email, document management systems, collaboration tools and virtual desktops through the CloudStore. Since the CloudStore launched in February 2012, there have been sales of more than £11 million from across Central Government Departments, NHS organizations, Fire and Ambulance services, local authorities and the Welsh Assembly Government, amongst others.
A similar policy was adopted in the US in 2010, when the then US federal government chief information officer Vivek Kundra set a goal of devoting 25 percent of all federal IT spend to cloud computing initiatives. The aim was to decrease the government’s overall tech spend. The US Cloud First Policy has saved about $5.5 billion annually by moving to cloud services, but it might have saved up to $12 billion had efforts been more aggressive in moving from traditional, on-premise systems to the cloud, a survey of federal IT managers said a study published by MeriTalk Cloud Computing Exchange. This was accomplished within two years of implementing the Cloud First Policy.
Gain valuable insights into the U.K.’s G-Cloud First from a recent CATAAlliance Webinar led by Nicola Westmore, Deputy Director – G-Cloud, Efficiency & Reform Group, Cabinet Office, U.K. please download the following audio and presentation files:
The “G-Cloud First for Canada Campaign” forms an integral part of the industry’s competitive Innovation Nation program, a program developed under the tutelage of Canada’s leading entrepreneur, Sir Terence Matthews that lays out what we must do as a nation to move us from a 13th place ranking to first place in innovation rankings.
CATAAlliance invites you to join the Shared Services Canada (SSC) Forum on Linkedin, which was created for executives to access briefing materials, share information and provide guidance and feedback on matters relating to the mission, mandate and operations of Shared Services Canada (SSC). It comprises some 1600 members from across Canada, representing both small and large enterprises, as well as thought leaders from the public and private sectors.
Please send electronically and/or print out and fax the G-Cloud First for Canada communiqué and follow up with a phone call to your local MP, media and network of contacts, inclusive of posting on your social media. In support of the communiqué, CATAAlliance is also providing upon request supporting documentation. Please email John Reid with G-Cloud First for Canada in the subject line.