The Government trumpets that it wants to “save money” and “be more efficient” yet when presented with a golden opportunity to do just that it does next to nothing, said ANS Group founder Scott Fletcher.
“Government continues using internal information technology systems, with all their equipment and personnel costs, instead of embracing ‘The Cloud, which could save them as much as 80 percent on operating costs.
“This move is critical yet it’s taking years longer than it should. Fear and inertia are all that’s keeping Government from making this change, not legitimate technology or policy concerns,’” he said.
Fletcher is the founder and chairman of ANS Group, which he started from his back bedroom in 1996 at 22 years old and grown it to a £100m turnover company. Fletcher, has been previously named Chairman of the Year at the Manchester Evening News Business Awards has advised Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Fletcher said using The Cloud instead of internal servers and other equipment means not having to buy the “newest and best” equipment as well as not spending for the space to house it all and the people to operate and maintain it.
“Cloud computing” means storing data on remote servers instead of your computer’s hard drive. Cloud computing suppliers conduct the server maintenance, including security updates. The services usually are pay-as-you-go, eliminating the need for capital expenditures. They also have minimal start-up costs and operating expenses are easier to forecast.
Salesforce and Google, the first cloud computing services websites, began in 1999. Google Apps now provides common business applications online with the documents being stored online. This gives start-ups more flexibility and reduces costs.
Cloud computing suppliers also conduct the server maintenance, including security updates. The services usually are pay-as-you-go, eliminating the need for capital expenditures. They also have minimal start-up costs and operating expenses are easier to forecast.
Fletcher said beyond the normal bureaucratic inertia, the other big obstacle to this change is fear and that is unnecessary.
“Concerns about “online security” are outdated. This isn’t the 90s, where teenaged hackers took down entire companies and networks. Encryption has been far more advanced in the past two decades.
“Just look at how much sensitive financial information will entrust to The Cloud. Consumers have embraced ‘cloud computing,’ it’s time for 10 Downing Street to do the same,” he said.
Reducing these personnel and equipment costs could help the U.K. balance its books without raising taxes or impacting services, Fletcher said.
“Quite to the contrary, not only would this save money but services could be delivered more efficiently if they were run from The Cloud,” he said.
Government’s biggest expense is people, so finding ways to do the same tasks, or more, with fewer people will provide tremendous cost savings, Fletcher said.
The role of technology isn’t to replace people, it’s to help them do their jobs better, he said.
“So it’s time the Government fought through its fear and inertia and embraced Cloud computing. The larger departments, such as NHS and defence, could particularly benefit,” Fletcher said.
The global cloud computing market is projected to grow to £149 billion in 2020, according to Forrester Research. The UK cloud computing industry’s annual growth in the next five years is predicted to be 13.2 percent, reaching £10.8 billion.
An estimated 18 percent of small and medium UK businesses use cloud computing and another 30 percent are expected to do so in the next year. By 2015, it is expected to account for nine percent of the UK’s IT services and software market.