"Cloud"computing is a term being used in many different ways, many of them seeming to offer the ultimate silver bullet in providing an IT platform. However, many issues currently remain, and it is likely that cloud computing will be many years in maturation and acceptance in the mainstream business and public sector communities.
Governments around the world have been looking at how best to reduce functional redundancy through the concept of "shared services" where different departments share a single source of function. For example, in the UK, a concept for a government cloud ("G-Cloud") has been proposed to provide the shared services described by Sit Peter Gershon in his 2004 report - but this may have to be revisited under the current government spend reviews.
Planning for best practices in next generation IT platforms:
The public sector is under increasing pressure to ensure that IT investments both provide flexible support for a rapidly changing world and also do not overly replicate functionality that may be used across central and local departments and groups. Cloud computing looks like it may provide a solution here - but this will only be the case if a measured and realistic approach to implementation and usage is taken.
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