Posts tagged ‘public sector’

Public Sector Cloud World Forum – Day One Highlights

photo 2Day one of Public Sector Cloud World Forum has just come to a close. Here are the highlights:

  • Dirk van Rooy from European Commission outlined the European cloud policy framework and called for proposals for Horizon2020
  • Panellists from Government Digital Service, European Commission, Ministry of Finance in Denmark, Dutch Central Government, Kahootz and Fraunhofer Fokus focused on the level of real Cloud uptake in the public sector in different countries. Tony Singleton, Director, G-Cloud & Digital Commercial Programme gave an update on the UK experiences with G-Cloud and then the panellists discussed G-Cloud as a model for EU-wide G-Cloud.
  • Delegates learnt from the University of Sweden on how to move a decentralized public university to the cloud. Sören Berglund, CIO of the University talked about challenges, legal aspects and the results of the project.
  • A speaker from the Agency for Governmental IT Services, Ministry of Finance gave an insight on how they design Innovative IT services and cloud solutions for the Government

Day 2 will continue with more case studies from a number of leading councils in the UK as well as BBC, PolicyExchange and Health and Social Care Information Centre.

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Putting Cloud prejudice aside in the cultural heritage sector

Pre-event interview with Pavel Kats for the Public Sector World Cloud Forum.

Pavel Kats is Chief Technology Officer at the Europeana Foundation, and is chairing a panel session at Public Sector Cloud World Forum, entitled Reviewing European Cloud Initiatives for Societal Applications.

Beyond core public services, cloud solutions are increasingly being adopted across Europe for societal applications such as education, arts and culture, science and digital citizenship. Key stakeholders in societal cloud adoption will discuss issues including:

  • Outlining cloud initiatives in the cultural heritage sector – the current work of Europeana (the European Culture portal)
  • Designing and implementing an aggregated infrastructure to support local content in the Europeana cloud (LoCloud initiative)
  • Examining cloud services and applications to foster ‘creative cities’
  • Understanding the strategic plan for scientific cloud computing in Europe
  • Reviewing educational applications that can be supported by the cloud

We took a few minutes to talk to Pavel about his experience, responsibilities and hopes for the event. Public Sector representatives can claim a free pass for the event.

Which opportunities, from your point of view, can cloud computing bring to the cultural heritage sector?

The opportunities are immense because cloud computing has the potential to drastically change how this sector works. Contrary to associations that the word may invoke, cultural heritage institutions are increasingly involved in the digital, like everyone else today. Museums, libraries and archives have entered the new world, where they are expected by citizens, policymakers and sponsors to be active in cyberspace in many ways. They are expected to feature their content online and engage audiences, create rich media experiences on par with commercial media outlets and play by the rules of social media. This is quite a challenge for institutions traditionally oriented towards preserving the past rather than adapting to the future. Add to this financial limitations due to the crisis and you get the idea. Cloud computing provides exactly the opportunity required in this time of change. The good news is that a lot of what the sector does requires expertise already available elsewhere: efficiently operating IT infrastructures, the ability to handle large amounts of media, collaboratively improving the quality of content and making it more accessible to users, developing big-data applications using content etc. A lot of this expertise comes from using or building cloud computing services. If the cultural heritage sector is bold enough to proactively adopt cloud computing, then the prominence cultural content can gain in our lives is limitless.

How does Europeana plan to leverage cloud computing in the next 12 months?

We have ambitious plans for cloud computing. We start with critically assessing our own operations and farming out to cloud providers those parts which are better run by them. Continue to the infrastructure level where we adopt a novel Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) approach to developing and hosting applications. Here, we expect to gain efficiencies in how Europeana and its wide network of technology partners develop collaboratively the Europeana service. Last, but definitely not the least, when it comes to content, which is the lifeblood of everything we do, we launch an ambitious Europeana Cloud Services initiative whose goal is to build a Europe-wide cloud-based infrastructure for sharing and distributing cultural heritage content. This is our flagship project aimed at gaining efficiencies in how the European cultural heritage sector aggregates and distributes data. And there is a lot to gain there.

What are the main steps in building success and managing failure in cloud implementations in your sector?

Making the cloud a success is a lot about overcoming prejudice through better education and knowledge sharing. Cloud is a natural next step in the evolution of computing services, but it has undeservedly got a bad press thanks to some juicy stories. But also because regulation is lagging after technological development and that is not technology´s fault. The main steps should be to put prejudice aside. We need to quickly get away from cloud ‘gossip’ and look at specific functional and non-functional requirements. We have to choose experienced technology partners and work in short implementation cycles to mitigate problems. Cloud implementations have to be firmly backed by management because you never know where you will end up after stepping on the cloud path. A lot of changes in an organisation may be required to implement the cloud efficiently.

Why are you speaking at the Public Sector Cloud World Forum and what do you hope to get out from your time at the event?

There are not many cloud initiatives in our sector and we are interested in sharing our plans but also getting feedback from others. It would be great to connect with like-minded initiatives and exchange ideas and experience. Novel technologies, such as cloud computing, is not the first thing that comes to people´s mind when they think of the cultural sector. This might be changing today and we are here to talk about it and raise awareness of the very cool things going on in our sector.

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CERN; world-leading research in the Cloud

A fascinating insight on hybrid cloud and other initiatives in a publicly-funded research organisation, from Bob Jones, Head of the Openlab Project, CERN. Bob is participating on a panel session at Public Sector Cloud World Forum entitled Regional Roundup: Reviewing European Cloud Initiatives for Societal Applications. Download the brochure here. Public Sector organisations can claim a free pass.

Bob Jones, CERNWhich opportunities, from your point of view, can cloud computing bring to the public sector?

Cloud computing will allow public authorities to revitalise their in-house IT systems with opportunities to rationalise their installations and off-load demand to commercial cloud service providers. While the initial interest is to reduce costs, further opportunities quickly arise by which we can expand the services we offer and their impact. In particular, cloud computing will allow us to generalise the access to our data sets so that the results of publicly funded research can have a greater impact on the economy and society as a whole. By working with commercial cloud services suppliers and networks of SMEs, such datasets can be exploited to develop new value added services for a range of business sectors.

How does your organisation plan to leverage cloud computing in the next 12 months?

At a technical level, we have been working with companies such as Rackspace via the CERN openlab project ( and making important contributions to the OpenStack software suite which is used to manage the resources in our two data centres. We expect to see the positive impact of many of these extensions and improvements  in the services we offer to our users over the next 12 months.

Through our work with the Helix Nebula initiative (, we have been able to deploy a hybrid cloud system linking our publicly funded resources to commercial cloud services. This now provides an integrated system where we can expand the nature and capacity of services available on-demand to meet our users expectations.

By working closely with commercial cloud services providers, research organisations including CERN, EMBL and ESA have provided the stimulus for the development of the Helix Nebula marketplace ( We expect this platform to expand in 2015 with new services, suppliers and procuring organisations. In particular we will be working towards what we refer to as ‘Information as a Service’ which builds on the datasets to establish an ecosystem of services which will potentially accelerate our research activities.

A key step now is to share our experiences and build a network of publicly funded research organisations that can work together to jointly procure innovative cloud services.

What are the main steps in building success and managing failure in public sector cloud implementations?

We have invested significant resources to investigate cloud computing technologies and their impact on our users, which has allowed us to develop a deployment plan that has ensured uninterrupted quality of service. The hybrid cloud model we see as being particularly attractive for the public sector since it gives us the freedom to choose which services, taking into account aspects such as policy, cost and maturity of the market, are offered on in-house resources or externally via commercial providers.

Why are you speaking at the Public Sector Cloud World Forum and what do you hope to get out from your time at the event?

I see the Public Sector Cloud World Forum as the occasion to share experiences with representatives from various domains within the public sector as well as cloud service providers and this will surely help shape our strategy for the future.

Join in the debate with Bob and the rest of our fantastic speaker line-up at Public Sector Cloud World Forum, 2-3 December, Kensington Close Hotel, London.

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Insights from the first UK Council to ‘Go Cloud’

We caught up with Rocco Labellarte, Head of Technology and Change Delivery, Royal Borough Windsor and Maidenhead, for an in-depth study of what public sector agencies should look for when rolling out a Cloud solution. Rocco is presenting a case study at Public Sector Cloud World Forum entitled First to the Cloud! Reflections on RWBM’s Journey to becoming the first UK Council to ‘Go Cloud’. Download the brochure here. Public Sector representatives can claim a complimentary pass, here.

Rocco LabellarteWhich opportunities, from your point of view, can cloud computing bring to the public sector?

The UK Government aims to drive down cost, improve efficiency and transform services with a Digital by Default choice. Significant savings will only start to flow when the public sector is able to challenge providers robustly, and their offerings can be compared like-for-like. This will grow as more Authorities move to the Cloud and share their collective experience. Transforming services will need much more than channel shift. Public sector delivery needs a complete overhaul to respond to the diverse and fast-changing demographic makeup of our country. By far the biggest opportunity, not yet centre-stage for local authorities, is that of simplifying through sharing solutions, moving from the parochial “we’ve always done it this way” to centres of excellence. Cloud computing, more than anything before, can enable this movement, if enough leaders across the public sector want to make it happen.

How does your organisation plan to leverage cloud computing in the next 12 months?

We have been recognised by GOV.UK as the first local authority in the UK to move fully into the Cloud. In eighteen months we have moved from a fully in-house maintained infrastructure to a Cloud computing environment with multiple providers of Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service. Having a more stable, resilient platform provides the foundation upon which to move toward Software as a Service solutions. The drivers are a major rationalisation of our massive software portfolio. We intend to reduce down from over 300 applications to a few dozen over the next 12 to 36 months. This will enable far greater control over the information we store, allowing us to provide far better access to that data both to individuals and through Open Data protocols. Equally importantly, SaaS will enable us to fully embrace Agile as a technique for continually improving the way we deliver our services. Finally, as more and more Authorities move to an “infrastructure-light” delivery model, the ability to share resources and services will take a big step forward.

What are the main steps in building success and managing failure in public sector cloud implementations? 

Infinite time, infinite resource and infinite budget mean you should never fail to deliver a project. Building success means ensuring your plans take any constraints on those three factors into account and managing expectations accordingly. Then you need to factor in the people, the politics (with a small p) and changing priorities as these are the three most common variables that constantly affect your ability to deliver.

Why are you speaking at the Public Sector Cloud World Forum and what do you hope to get out from your time at the event?

Not for the first time, the Public Sector is under pressure to deliver more with less. Doubts about whether or not Cloud computing is achievable or even desirable are voiced all the time. Sharing experiences is one of the values that underpin working in Government and, having delivered our own Cloud strategy, I’m interested in sharing our own and other people’s experiences, so we can build a more comprehensive picture of how best to succeed.

Join in the debate with Rocco at Public Sector Cloud World Forum, 2-3 December, Kensington Close Hotel, London.

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Next iteration of G-Cloud to be launched next month

The next iteration of the UK Government’s G-Cloud initiative will be rolled out for usage from next month, the Government Digital Service has announced.

In a the September Update on the Digital Marketplace blog, Tony Singleton OBE, Director of Digital Commercial Programme, Government Digital Service, states that the next iteration will be launched by the end of October, with the target for getting the frameworks in place being “as early in 2015 as possible”. Alongside this, GDS will be making the Digital Marketplace live, as a one-stop-shop for “cloud-based software, infrastructure, platforms, and the people and teams needed to help design and build digital services on a per-project or phase basis”. The Digital Marketplace, which is currently in its alpha testing phase, will combine the current CloudStore and Digital Services Store.

Singleton cites recent success stories of G-Cloud as evidence for its transformation of the way the public sector buys commodity IT services. These include:

  • total sales so far reaching over a quarter of a billion pounds
  • a total spend of £136m to SMEs
  • the average spend so far this year running at £22m per month
  • at least 356 new jobs in SMEs created as a result of G-Cloud

This statistics provide something of a PR boost for the G-Cloud programme, with early iterations of the platform reported as not being widely used, and many local authorities not knowing what they would actually use it for, with CIOs of others bemoaning the complexity of it. However, the HS2 CIO bucked that trend, describing the system as “relatively straightforward”.

Either way, global trends indicate that some of the most successful economies in terms of Cloud rollout have a top-to-bottom government Cloud policy; a recent notable example being New Zealand’s Cloud First programme, which has helped it leap up to 2nd place behind Japan in the Asia Cloud Computing Assocation’s Cloud Readiness Index. So even if G-Cloud and the Digital Marketplace aren’t immediately everyone’s cup of tea, they would appear to be here to stay.

Tony Singleton OBE and several local authority and national government CIOs will be addressing the audience at Public Sector Cloud World Forum, 2-3 December 2014, London.

Public Sector Cloud World Forum: full programme announced

cloud-ps-468x60The Cloud World Series team is delighted to announce that the full brochure and agenda for Public Sector Cloud World Forum is now available to download.

Building on the knowledge, experience and contacts of the Cloud World Forum team, the agenda has been specifically designed to take you on a journey through a Cloud adoption strategy. Day one of the event consists of a top-level European Commission keynote session, and National Government case studies and panel debates (with participation from the CIOs of the Dutch and Austrian governments, and Tony Singleton OBE, G-Cloud Director), with the following headline themes.

  • European Commission official keynote address on cloud computing in the public sector
  • Latest updates on the UK’s G-Cloud Programme
  • Applying commercial world best practice to government cloud implementations
  • Utilising cloud solutions for societal applications including education, culture and science
  • Leveraging cloud for data management and sharing and in research and university institutions

Day two is all about practical implementation, packed with Local Authority CIO case studies, and data, regulation and privacy briefings. The headline themes of the day are:

  • Making the business for cloud in terms that will help achieve buy-in
  • Managing the architectural and operational challenges of a local authority cloud migration
  • When things go wrong! Strategies for surviving cloud vendor failure
  • Why do some public sector organisations avoid cloud? What are their concerns and how do you overcome them?
  • Security, governance and data protection considerations in public sector cloud

Download the complete brochure and agenda here.

Interested in sponsoring?

The event offers complimentary passes to public sector organisations, and we are already taking plenty of senior-level bookings. So don’t miss out on this opportunity to network with and learn from some of the leading lights in public sector IT, giving you the contacts and knowledge to apply to your Cloud infrastructure plans when you return to the office. Register today, and we can’t wait to see you in December.

Public Sector Cloud World Forum 2014 – Event Brochure Announcement #publicsectorcloud

Public Sector Brochure imageWe are delighted to announce that the event brochure for the Public Sector Cloud World Forum is now available for you to view today!

Taking place in London between the 2-3 December this year, the Public Sector Cloud World Forum will look at Government insights into:

  • European Commission cloud strategy and progress so far
  • Cloud solutions for central government applications
  • Local authority implementation experiences – benefits delivered and lessons learned
  • Benefits of cloud in culture, health, policing and education sectors
  • Security and data protection considerations

After the leading EMEA event, Cloud World Forum, attracted over 350 Public Sector delegates in June, the Cloud World Series is delighted to bring the much called for dedicated Public Sector Cloud event. As the requirements and limitations of the public sector are very different from those of enterprises, the Public Sector Cloud World Forum is the first and only event dedicated to the Cloud needs of the Public Sector in the EMEA region!

Click here to view the event brochure today!


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