Next Generation Data: UNIT4 Business Software - Guest Blog

UNIT4 Business Software

By Simon Taylor 04 | April | 2014

NGD is pleased to feature the following blog from customer, UNIT4 Business Software:

Following the publication of New Ways of ICT Working, independent research into how the public sector is looking to technology as budgets contract, UNIT4‘s Head of Public Sector Sales, James Bouch, looks at how cloud computing can deliver real social and business benefits for councils.

What are the main benefits of councils using cloud services?
More than any other driver cloud is going to have a significant effect on local authorities’ cost base. Councils have developed their IT historically with on-premise solutions, data centres sitting within their own estate saddled with significant legacy costs. For organisations that are looking to commission services, part of that commissioning is going to be through rationalising their existing IT footprint and datacentre cost.

Equally, organisations looking for subscription-based pricing are going to enjoy significant benefits from cloud deployment, where a full service can be purchased on a monthly basis with no need to local software, hardware of ICT footprint – this will be a key element of a commissioning authority’s agenda.

Are councils that make the move now at an advantage over those who do not?
Unquestionably yes, in terms of their cost of operation. The sooner you move services into the cloud to a hosted environment, the sooner you get towards a commissioning model where the council itself is quite lean and focuses on providing frontline services. Councils that retain high levels of ICT footprint will continue to attract high costs of operating and maintenance of their ICT estate.

Why do you think organisations might be reluctant to move to or expand their cloud deployment?
I think there is still a perception among some organisations that the cloud is insecure and that the organisation loses control of its own environment. Quite rightly local authorities are very concerned about data security and particularly data held in frontline services such as adult/children services. Our challenge is to demonstrate clearly that our cloud solution is highly secure. Although data is sitting in UNIT4’s cloud, that cloud itself is a highly compartmentalised and secure environment for them.

What advice would you give organisations who are considering cloud deployment?
Don’t expand your own ICT footprint. Go into the cloud and get someone else to host your applications for you thereby reducing the size of your IT operation. Not all organisations have an appetite for full commissioning, but hosting is something that everybody should seriously consider as part of their cost rationalisation programmes.

This blog was first published on Unit4’s blog