The demands of running legacy IT are holding back councils from adopting new technology such as cloud systems which can improve services and increase operational efficiency, a new research from Eduserv and public sector leaders group Socitm has said.
The joint report, ‘Local Government Cloud Adoption 2018’, found that although most councils are now using cloud, only four in 10 (40%) say they have a cloud policy or strategy in place, while less than three-quarters (72%) say they can use G-Cloud to procure IT.
Even though 62% of councils are found to be using cloud infrastructure, the rate of adoption is slow, increasing by 10% in the two years since Eduserv’s last study into cloud adoption.
At the same time, 81% said they are maintaining on-premise infrastructure. This resulted in a hybrid IT model which combines cloud and on-premise technology, which is being deployed by 64% of the councils.
The research also found that 36% of councils are using hyper-scale public cloud and 27% using private cloud.
Socitm director of policy and research Martin Ferguson said: “It’s concerning that some councils are still hesitant to adopt cloud technology, especially when you consider the benefits that come from it in terms of efficiency, productivity, modernisation, agility and unlocking legacy IT.
“I would urge local authorities to rationalise software portfolios and to put in place intelligent policies to embrace cloud offerings for the benefit of citizens.”
The report said that a major problem for several organisations in adopting cloud IT is a combination of lock-in to existing contracts and the need to maximise the value from the past investment in applications and infrastructure.
Eduserv CTO Andy Powell said: “Speaking to IT leaders for this research it’s clear that there is a cloud-first intent across local government and a real hunger to use the new applications and infrastructure that cloud offers in order to make a real difference to the way councils operate.
“Unfortunately, a legacy IT hangover caused by outstanding contractual obligations and the demands of maintaining or upgrading old systems so they remain fit for purpose, is slowing the rate at which councils can move forward.
“To better equip their organisations for a digital future, it is clear that councils need to move quickly to formalise their approach to cloud IT, educate their organisations about the business outcomes that cloud can deliver and shift focus from maintaining IT to partnering the business through that change.”
Dan Scarfe, Founder of New Signature, which has helped a wide range of public and private sector clients migrate to the cloud, told Computer Business Review: “You can absolutely transform your business by moving your infrastructure and data into the cloud. A modern data centre can enable greater productivity, lower costs and improve business agility – the same thing applies for councils.”
“Many don’t release how much can be done if you have support from an experienced partner in delivering the full-cycle operation of planning, building and operating a suitable cloud environment. It can optimise swathes of processes and transform productivity.”