The clock is ticking on G-Cloud, the UK government's IT shopping catalogue for the public sector. A year in, those running the programme are already dreaming of life after the project and admit significant cultural hurdles stand in the way of their success. G-Cloud is the Cabinet Office’s plan to make government IT more modular …
> elements of IT work ... duplicated needlessly across departments
> elements of IT work, such as supporting PC users and providing email, that are
> duplicated needlessly across departments, wasting money and IT technicians' time
Call me Mr cynical, but I'm not totally convinced that beyond a certain point there are many savings to be made. Most engineers only seem to be able to fix one fault at a time, so if you double the size of the organisation all you do is make its management more remote from the users...
"Accreditation of IL1 and IL2 services is taking up to nine months, the always-optimistic EMC advisory technology assistant and former deputy government chief information officer Bill McCluggage said on the UKAuthority.com webcast."
Great news if what is wanted is suppliers of IL3 services....which covers a great deal of government!
FCO services WAAS (whatever as a service) IL3 data centre exists, but who's going to trust that lot.
1) The G-cloud is too wooly in definition to be usable. 2) Yer typical dept Data Guardian isn't going to let data out of his/her sight unless the "ass of responsibility" is clear, signed off and defined. 3) Departmental IT don't want anything to do with it because it means redundancy and item 2 above is a nice ass coverer in the meantime. 4) Security isn't going to accredit stuff they can't control. 5) The typical G-Cloud SAAS providers (usually of the silly-cone roundabout variety) don't know rat shit from rice krispies about government security so no one is going to trust them and finally 6) Dept management isn't going to let some other dept's management hold them to data ransom. In a nutshell the whole thing was doomed from the off.
Just looked at the product store.
Frames and table-based layout galore! It's like it's 2003 all over again!
"G-Cloud" then isn't a technology just a supplier list? The suffocating inertia of government machinery is quite awe inspiring.
'Cheaper' in Gov speak generally means 'Insanely expensive'. And at the moment the whole IL0-3 stuff is in flux while the Cabinet Office rejig it. 1-3 might become 'Tier 1' which might make it a bit of a bugger to people offering IL1-2 products.
Not all small suppliers have trouble getting listed -- Skyscape, for example
Skyscape Cloud Services Ltd have only £1,000 of share capital, all owned by one man, but they got onto the Mr Crothers's G-Store and they're now due to host ex-Guardian man Mike Bracken's https://GOV.UK and Phil Pavitt's HMRC local office data. If they got past Mr Crothers's stringent procurement tests surely anyone can.
Soory to say but Chris Chant on Twitter not impressed
Remember what a good job Bill Crothers did at IPS on the ID cards scheme ...
... G-Cloud in safe hands, UK in safe hands
Yer 'aving a Larf
Back in the day (that'll be 2010 then), I attended a series of 'workshops' with the CTO/strategy team of a very large Gov Dept. there sat about 20 of us, representing the most significant IT Players n the industry. The topic was focused discussion on Cloud enablement strategy for the Dept.
1) the Dept team had no notion of any deployment above IaaS and only the sketchiest view of what that meant
2) over 3/4 of attendees (allegedly a group of experts) had no knowledge of NIST, when asked what should be the applied definition of Cloud
3) my erstwhile colleague, another 'expert', spent the entire time talking about virtualisation in the DC, which...
4) the Dept team were excited about. Bottom line, this group of forward thinkers were looking at Cloud=virtualisation for this Department, in isolation from all Gov areas. Period. Rationale? I refer you to xyz's Post!
As for G-Cloud. Please, don't get me started - I could write a book, probably entitled "The Blind (IT Company), leading The Stupid (Gov Strategists) over the Cliff (of Political Puffery).
I will say this - the majority of senior folks from IT Companies that engage regularly with their Government customers tend to adopt the self-same conservative approach to everything. E.g. If I'd had a £ for every presentation/conversation I gave to those people where the answer was "hmm, interesting but MY Department Customer could never use Cloud, it would contravene security/control/authority/CESG/whatever AND I personally think Cloud is just a fad anyway" I'd have retired! What's most galling is the knowledge that most of those folks are now touts for whatever Cloud-washed inanity their respective IT Company is now flogging to HMG.
Hmm. A book. ;-)
Contracts for everybody!
Some excellent comments, XYZ in particular. I know exactly how many people work at the PGA (REALLY not many - budget cuts, you see). Looking at it from a Govt CIO's perspective makes it very clear indeed. Its very easy to put a list of suppliers online who might be able to sell you a useful service however you can never buy or use that service because they have none of the security and governance that goes with the data (mostly yours and mine may I add). So you end up in front of the ICO for a dressing down, a tasty fine and a good helping of potentially career destroying PR. Not good if you're a senior Gov IT manager 3 months off a pension and a burgeoning career in consulting. We'll leave it to Atos, IBM, HP/EDS, CSC et al to lose data/cock up. then it can't be anyone's fault!
I nearly was sucked into another twatting mess like this for the MOD.
Crap Gemini were behind the fiasco. 1 Month before live day the idiot from CrapG could not tell me what datatype a field was in their record so we could interface into their crock 'o shit.
Needless to say after another two years of missed 'go live' dates it was quietly dropped after Scabby Wood had paid out god knows how many millions.
UK = The Most Corrupt Country on Earth.
McDonagh's world view....
Denise McDonagh says it all about herself & her views of Government computing when she talks about "endured different types of IT delivery, from market testing to outsourcing ".
"Market testing" was the euphamism used in the old days when a Department wanted to outsource and had to justify it; in all practical terms the existing in-house team would have to bid alongside the potential suppliers. Unfortunately not only were the in-house bid teams very naive compared to the external bidders, but as the whole purpose behind this "market testing" was to ensure the work was outsourced the playing field was about as level as mount Snowdon.
If these are Ms McDonagh's only experiences of Government IT services, I'm not terribly impressed by her experience!
"significant cultural hurdles"
Maybe there are some cultural challenges in other areas of the public sector. But not in ours - most of our PHBs are big fans of "the cloud". They can't agree on what it means, of course.
There's a simple reason I've not yet gotten anything through the cloud store: it's bollocks. For small-ticket items it's so far been easier to use Google, or just go to the supplier's website.
So how many governemnt data centres are there in the UK?
I've heard figures of around 190+
A government business cloud system hosted in the UK sounds like a good way to consolidate a lot of stuff.
But can you handle all that proprietary Unix?
And those big iron IBM (and perhaps some ICL/Fujitsu) mainframes apps as well?
A really big data centre on the the English/Scottish or English/Welsh borders should be well supplied with lots of cold water for cooling (and lots of power if it's next to an HEP dam). Probably best not to site it below the dam for safety however.
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