Local Government to Adopt Cloud Computing

It’s been announced that six London boroughs are co-operating in order to utilise cloud hosting by moving some of their services to the cloud.

Project Athena is the name of the new development to bring local government to the cloud. Lambeth, Lewisham, Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Croydon and Havering councils are moving finance, procurement, HR and payroll services to a single shared cloud-delivered platform. If the project succeeds, it will lead to an increase in opportunities for other councils to share resources. Furthermore, Sunderland is attempting to change its infrastructure too in order to offer to facilities to other councils.

Local authorities are increasingly trying to share resources and, due to the expense of IT systems, it seems like an obvious one to tackle first. The local authorities in London will be combining a multitude of services, which will certainly not be an easy task. Different operating systems, different applications and different infrastructures will all make it a difficult, complex task.

Mike Suarez, of Lambeth Council, has acknowledged that the project will certainly be tricky but he also realises that it will be very worthwhile: “If we can use the same system, we will streamline our processes and save money without cutting services…Managers will have access to budgets in real time and not need to complete endless paperwork for the simplest of tasks – making real savings for the tax payer.”

It has been suggested that the cloud can really make a difference to local authorities as it will be a single ICT platform for all the London public sector organisations. In addition, the boroughs taking part in the project have signed a four-year deal with IT services company, Capgemini, in order to employ the ERP suite as part of its t-Gov (transform government) service offering.

The new cloud based systems are set to launch in July 2013. They will be managed by Capgemini for an initial period of three years.

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