UK government signs public cloud agreement with IBM

All public sector bodies hoping to pursue digital transformation projects can benefit from “preferential commercial terms”

The UK government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IBM to allow public sector organisations to embark on their own cloud-based digital transformation projects.

All central government organisations, including local authorities, education and the NHS, can benefit from “preferential commercial terms” as a result of the three-year agreement to help transform workloads and develop new services.

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IBM says it’s agreement with the government offers the public sector the opportunity to take advantage of the speed and flexibility of cloud computing, while helping to keep data, applications and workloads secure and compliant.

The agreement with the Cabinet Office’s executive agency and trading fund, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), allows the public sector to pursue cloud arrangements several years after the government first green-lit the safe use of cloud

The CCS also announced a very similar agreement with UKCloud a month ago, with the British cloud provider able to offer its services to the public sector, either directly or indirectly through its partner community.

IBM’s three-year MoU would give public sector bodies a degree of choice when pursuing agreements with public cloud providers.

“CCS provides commercial agreements which help organisations across the entire public sector save time and money on buying everyday goods and services,” said the CCS chief executive Simon Tse.

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“This agreement with IBM provides great value for public sector organisations as they continue to innovate and improve essential services for citizens throughout the UK.”

The MoU builds on the government’s Cloud First policy, which requires public sector organisations to evaluate cloud systems first before considering other options when embarking on digital transformation journeys.

The strategy, first pushed in 2013, has been spreading across the public sector, with organisations such as the police and the NHS gradually adopting cloud technologies. Research has shown that a swathe of public sector organisations, including local government authorities as well as police forces, had been slow to adopt cloud services.

IBM has touted its global network of data centres to help meet its clients’ performance and deployment needs. This is in addition to a secure local facility as part of Ark Data Centres, the government’s joint venture partner for delivering public sector data centre services across the Crown Hosting Framework.

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“As the public sector continues its rapid digital transformation, government organisations crossing many industries need a reliable, resilient and secure technology environment to meet the needs of citizens and address complex security and regulatory requirements,” said IBM’s vice president for public sector, Janine Cook.

“An open hybrid cloud platform, built and managed with IBM’s deep industry expertise, can allow the public sector to accelerate its innovation and offer a more agile way to develop new digital services and take the next step along their cloud journeys.”

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