UK public sector should embrace the cloud for flexible working

The UK Government is looking to push more ICT onto the G-Cloud and with new legislation allowing public sector staff to request flexible working, Cem Ahmet, sales director at Gamma Business Communications, argues the Cloud is the right platform to enable this

UK public sector should embrace the cloud for flexible working

The UK public sector is making a steady move towards cloud based telephony, a direct result of government schemes and reduced call prices. The schemes which have been introduced across the UK include BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and the right to request flexible working. This affects the workforce as staff members need to be able to work remotely, as well as connect to the business system when and where they need to.

Despite the G-Cloud smashing through its £200 million revenue barrier in June 2014, the Cabinet Office still wish to raise its profile. It is increasingly apparent that cloud based telephony is become increasingly central to UK workplaces - but you either need to embrace this change, or risk being left behind the success of others.

The top 5 things you know are in the cloud already

Cloud is increasingly being accepted as a way for us to access a wide range of applications such as Data storage (e.g. every Amazon UK customer gets 5GB free to store their photos and music files in the cloud), Music (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play), Social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Google), Apps (Google Docs, Play Store) and various Communications (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! - but also Skype, WhatsApp).

But what about cloud in the UK public sector? There are several areas where cloud services are starting to become a viable option for many IT leaders within the public sector. Take a look at email and Office software; Office 365 is being adopted by many public sector organisations, whilst the Cloud has been put at the centre of the Government’s vision of the future of ‘digital’ public service delivery.

The decision for the Cabinet Office to push for more ICT to be provisioned off the ‘G-Cloud,’ via its CloudStore procurement portal, speaks volumes in that the public sector is moving forward and allowing for new technologies to centralise processes.

The Cloud

Being just one of its benefits, the Cloud can be seen as the platform for flexible working. Changes in legislation at the end of June 2014 mean that any staff member can request the right to apply for flexible working if they have been in the organisation for a minimum of 26 weeks (previously it was only parents or guardians).This means you may need to introduce a way for staff to be able to access systems and work remotely. Could the cloud be your only real option here?

According to 2013 Ofcom research, the availability of superfast broadband has seen an upsurge in internet use at home for work purposes – with 30% of respondents saying they are using it to upload work to the cloud.

Similarly, we can regard the cloud as a platform for remote working. Gartner produced a report in January that found 73% of UK public sector leaders are already using mobile technology to deliver services to employees and the public and 26% of respondents said they already offer it as a tool for staff in the field.

Talks of Generation Z - the generation who don’t know life without the internet - have led to dramatic shifts in the way people work being that many people work from home or are based in different locations but rely upon cloud based technology in order to stay connected.

Is it time to look at cloud telephony?

From the end of 2013, the Government has allowed the use of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in the public sector – which includes access to the cloud by employees - meaning greater flexibility for the user. The rise of PSN, the Public Services Network, is encouraging public sector ICT leaders to look at new ways of delivering connectivity via shared services.

Cloud-based telephony looks set to be central to the UCaaS, or Unified Communications as a Service – in both the public and private sector. Now could be an ideal time to start using cloud-based telephony in your comms infrastructure in the same way as you are in your desktop, remote working and general ICT procurement.

by Cem Ahmet, Gamma Business Communications. 

Cem helps SMEs and corporate clients gain greater value and maximise their return on investment from their telecoms spend. Cem has worked for large multinational corporate businesses, small companies and also run his own business. He has a passion for taking the time to understand peoples' challenges and find a telecoms or a software solution that will help solve them.

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