Cloud computing: Still too risky for government CIOs?

Plans to encourage the use of cloud computing across government have got off to a slow start

A store offering cloud services to UK government is likely to go largely unused by the biggest departments for the near future, according to an analyst's report.

The UK government launched the CloudStore in February, an online store where government bodies can buy sofware as a service, infrastructure as a service and platform as a service offerings from more than 250 companies.

The store is designed to help government fundamentally change the way it buys IT, shifting away from multi-year contracts with major vendors to smaller cloud-based deals. By 2015 the government wants half of all new IT spending to be on public cloud services.

However, CIOs of major government departments do not expect their departments will buy through the CloudStore in the foreseeable future, according to a report by analyst house TechMarketView.

It's UK Government CIO Agenda Report said: "The CloudStore is being heralded as a great advance by departmental CIOs, but it appears that the CIOs of the major central government departments see little reason to use the framework extensively themselves; certainly not in the short to medium term."

CIOs are likely to argue they can't use the store because they are constrained by existing contracts, the report said.

One CIO interviewed for the report said many departments see using the CloudStore as

untried and therefore a bit of a risk, while another said the store is likely to be used more by smaller agencies and arms length bodies in government.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency was the first customer of the CloudStore in February, purchasing agile training software, followed by the Department of Work and Pensions, which used the store to purchase digital communication management software.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: "G Cloud is about having a range of the best industry IT services and solutions available off the shelf. G-Cloud received expressions of interested from over 600 suppliers and tenders from nearly 300 offering a combined total of over 1,700 individual services. We've had an enthusiastic response not just from industry but from within government, including CIOs."