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Eighty per cent of councils still primarily rely on on-premise IT because of ‘legacy IT hangover’

Four fifths of councils are still relying primarily on on-premise IT, despite an increase of cloud services used in local government.

Socitm, the society for IT and digital leaders in government, and Eduserv, the not-for-profit technology partner for public and third-sector organisations, found in a report that although two thirds of councils are using cloud computing, the rate of cloud adoption is being slowed by the need to maintain old IT infrastructure, thanks to what they refer to as a ‘legacy IT hangover’.

The report, dubbed Local Government Cloud Adoption 2018, found that only four-in-ten councils had a cloud policy or strategy in place, while just under three-quarters (72 per cent) said they could use G-Cloud to procure IT.

Although 62 per cent of councils now use cloud infrastructure, the rate of adoption has only increased by 10 per cent in the two years since Eduserv conducted its last study into cloud adoption.

The result of maintaining on-premise infrastructure and slowly adopting cloud services is a hybrid IT model, which is most common in the sector, with 64 per cent stating their organisation deploys IT in this way. More of those councils that are using cloud are adopting the public cloud (36 per cent) than private cloud (27 per cent).

Andy Powell, chief technology officer at Eduserv, said that when speaking to IT leaders for the research it was clear that there was a cloud-first intent across local government, with the aim of using new apps and infrastructure that are cloud-based to make a difference to the way councils operate.

However, he said this aim was hard to achieve because of the vast swathes of legacy IT infrastructure that remains in local government.

“Unfortunately, a legacy IT hangover caused by outstanding contractual obligations and the demands of maintaining or upgrading old systems so they remain fit for purpose, is slowing the rate at which councils can move forward,” he said.

“To better equip their organisations for a digital future it is clear that councils need to move quickly to formalise their approach to cloud IT, educate their organisations about the business outcomes that cloud can deliver and shift focus from maintaining IT to partnering the business through that change,” he added.

Martin Ferguson, director of policy and research at Socitm, said that he was concerned that some councils were still hesitant to adopt cloud technology.

“I would urge local authorities to rationalise software portfolios and to put in place intelligent policies to embrace cloud offerings for the benefit of citizens,” he said.





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