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2nd February 2015

Improving Citizen Engagement. Why the Cloud Matters.

not for profit

Today, public sector organisations – in both central and local government – facing three major challenges:

1. Aligned with austerity measures, there are significant pressures on budgets, and hence the need to drive reductions in operating costs whilst at the same time, and improve efficiency levels.

2. The rising demands and expectations of citizens – who seek services to be provided to them faster and through their preferred choice of channel – be it: telephone, web, email, chat or social media.

3. Having the process and technology infrastructure needed to scale and flex to changing demands – in response to legislature, policy, or economic factors.

A little while back (March 2011) the Cabinet Office published the Government ICT Strategy. This document recognised that Government has a requirement to deliver innovative services built around information and communications technology (ICT). It made clear that Government ICT could be better. And one of the means of achieving better and more flexible ICT based services is cloud computing.

“Cloud computing delivers infrastructure, platform or software as a utility service, giving Government the capability to respond to changing operational needs. The standardised cloud platform will also allow developers, especially SMEs, to generate innovative solutions.” Cabinet Office ICT Strategy, March 2011.

Additionally, the Government’s Digital by Default agenda aims to solve the above noted challenges – in that it encourages the public sector to put services online, increasing choice while helping deliver efficiency savings.

Cloud-based Government ICT has created the opportunity for organisations to deliver public services more rapidly and more flexibly than has ever been possible in the past. And successful delivery is about having the right cloud infrastructure in place – the standardised cloud or G-Cloud.

Cloud computing is increasingly the platform of choice for technology and here are the 4 key reasons:

1. Simplicity: The cloud enables the relatively rapid deployment of new applications – with no on-premise implementation challenges. This means that benefits can be realised faster and on-going management is a lot easier.

2. Enables Digital by Default (by default!): Public sector organisations can introduce and communicate information about new products and services – particularly through online channels – much faster and with more ease through cloud-based technologies. People (citizens) can therefore use their channel of choice, deepening engagement, enabling better and more effective collaboration, and helping improve the overall experience.

3. Increased efficiency: The public sector has a constant challenges to “do more with less”. Moving to the cloud, and increasing the use of digital services, helps create more capacity, streamlines processes and removes paper-based manual tasks and related overheads. This translates into potentially high cost savings, without any direct or undue impact front line services.

4. Flexibility & Agility: Scaling services to meet citizen demands easy with the cloud. Flexibility is guaranteed as extra capacity can be added quickly, without needing to invest in new, on-premise hardware.

Whatever the sector – civil service, tax, health, education, or other – people have continually rising expectations. They demand the same level of personalisation, speed, experience and consistency from the public sector that they enjoy from their interactions with retailers, banks or insurers.

Digital by Default and the G-Cloud provide the ability for public sector organisations to meet expectations while still increasing efficiency, benefiting everyone involved.

To date, Hyphen8 has been focused on helping SMEs – in the commercial and Not for Profit space move to the Cloud. Going forward, we are extending our services and share our experiences with help public sector organisations to achieve similar benefits.

To enable this, Hyphen8 are delighted to be accepted onto the latest iteration of the G-Cloud framework and recognised as a Crown Commercial Service supplier – making it easier for public sector bodies to purchase our services.

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