Cloud First Adoption to Drive World Class Digital Government in Scotland

Scotland's plans for a Cloud First approach to digital services infrastructure

Cloud and Data Centre

The Scottish Govt Digital Economy plan defines a number of specific action points for accelerating adoption of key technologies like Cloud computing:

“Mandate the use of common platforms and infrastructure, including cloud hosting, as appropriate across the Scottish Government.”

“Make better use of cloud-based solutions as a source of both cost reduction and service innovation, and move public sector data hosting to a cloud environment wherever this is appropriate in terms of security and efficiency.”

World Class Digital Government

If Scotland is to realize their goal of Building a World Class Digital Government it’s clear this technology is a critical foundation. For example this Scottish Parliament document on NHS technology innovation describes:

“The adoption of Cloud technology and Agile delivery methodologies through the digital transformation at NES has proven that the fundamentals of the UK & Scottish Government digital strategies, when fully adopted, deliver real and lasting transformation of services.”


“By fully adopting the Cloud first approach for applications and systems to deliver redesigned services in support of the Health & Social Care Delivery plan, the data that underpins all aspects of improved care and quality can be made accessible to whomever needs it, whenever they need it from wherever they need it.”

Cloud First best practices

One key policy tool is a ‘Cloud First’ mandate, as the name suggests a requirement that all new IT procurement opts first for a Cloud service if possible. It was first pioneered by the USA Govt in 2010 and is today recommended as the default starting point for CIOs.

Scotland also set this as a goal a few years ago but as Jim Gordon describes for Holyrood magazine it’s not yet translated into major uptake of Cloud services.

This isn’t unique to Scotland either, SOCITM reports that council adoption of Cloud is still quite immature. Cloud Pro argues why and how this needs to be stepped up.

The Scottish Government’s Data Hosting and Data Centre Strategy is a major policy to drive this forward in Scotland.

This describes the situation, a common scenario where IT teams are still building their own data centres, still spending huge sums of taxpayers monies on reinventing the wheel and implementing under-utilized, cost inefficient infrastructure that inhibits innovation and scalability and perpetuates the legacy burden.

Cloud Migration Journeys

It also identifies the different types of Cloud Migration Journey you might undertake to begin addressing this situation.

Specifying service models such as Co-location, Managed Service, Hosted Private Cloud and Public Cloud, it spells out the basic framework for hosting environments you can migrate to:

It also includes a data centre efficiency assessment tool and offers helpful case studies. For example the case study covered in the data centre report for St Andrews University describes how they migrated from Novell Groupwise to Office 365, a ‘legacy to SaaS’ migration journey.

Not only did they identify how to reduce costs by £500k over five years through cost avoidance and reduced IT admin and server hardware costs, but they also equipped their workers with appropriately modern collaboration and communication apps. O365 comes with other tools like Lync and Sharepoint – and when combined with new phone upgrades et al, then this offers really quite a substantial leap in productivity boosting modernization.

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