Week in government tech: G-Cloud 4 open for signups; researchers show how speed can help control IT costs

Top Story:

Suppliers can now sign up for G-Cloud 4, according to the Government Digital Service. The latest version features a number of improvements to the Invitation to Tender process, making it easier for new suppliers to apply and including additional options for uploading documents for the submission process. Suppliers have until 23 September to apply, with the Framework Agreements expected to kick off on 29 October. G-Cloud 2 will expire in October, meaning that G-Cloud 2 suppliers will need to apply for G-Cloud 4 to stay in the programme.


 Check out the contract notice for more details – and keep checking this blog for more G-Cloud news.

Cloud first:

Microsoft is now making Office 365 uptime data public on quarterly basis – with newly released data showing uptimes of better than 99.9% in each of the past four quarters. The data includes weighted rates for Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office Web Apps. 

The importance of having reliable cloud apps can’t be overstated, of course. Because these days, work is an activity, not a place. Of course, as Microsoft’s Nick Morris points out, having the right tools is only half the battle. “The key message is empowerment. Technology is here to empower people. But that doesn’t work if human structures, habits or fears constrain them,” he writes.

Government tech on the move:

Consolidation and integrating services and systems will be key priorities for incoming HMRC Chief Information Officer Mark Dearnley, says outgoing CIO Mark Hall. Going forward, HMRC will be looking to aim more
digital services at individual taxpayers, through initiatives such as online pay-as-you-earn projects, Hall adds.

Taxpayers aren’t just getting easy ways to pay their tax online – they’re getting tools to monitor public spending as well. The Government  Interrogating Spending Tool gives the public access to two spending
reporting systems, said Cabinet Office Minister Chloë Smith, who announced the tool.  “Greater transparency can help us identify wasteful spending. That’s why we’re launching a new, easy-to-use, interactive tool that gives the
public the chance to compare data in a smart and intuitive format,” she said.

Digital by default:

The average speed of a rural Internet connection in the U.K. more than doubled during the past two years, growing at a faster rate than urban connections, but rural citizens still trail behind city residents when it comes to speedy Web access, data from Ofcom shows. “We are yet to see the full effect of Government measures to improve broadband availability in rural areas, which should also help to boost speeds,” said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Assembly Government announced it will spend as much as £420 million during the next seven years to build a country-wide network. The network will be available to  a variety of public sector service delivery organisations, including dentists, opticians or pharmacies, as well as private sector partners and charitable organisations.
Transforming your organisation:

Are you a change advocate in your organisation? New data on procurement in the social housing sector may help you make the case for embracing more business-like procedures in your organisation. Researchers from the University of Liverpool studied the buying consortia Procurement for Housing and found that embracing market intelligence can lead to improved procurement outcomes

Management innovations, such as agile development principles, are changing the way organisations deploy technology, leading to greater flexibility and more control over costs, write Bent Flyvbjerg
and Alexander Budzier. The duo write that their research shows that organisations fare better when they embrace short time frames for rolling out new systems, but embracing speed for speed’s sake can have its perils too. “We observed that IT projects are planned and supervised with very scant information. Basic budget and scheduling data are important signposts to steer the IT project organisation.
A CIO must know when the IT organisation can and ought to go fast and when it is better to push back against the powerful forces that demand IT to deliver
faster and faster,” they write.

Want to learn more about ways your organisation can re-invent itself in a changing environment? Business Reimagined, by Microsoft Chief Envisioning Officer Dave Coplin, is a quick read focused on a handful of essential ideas organisations of all sizes can start applying now.