Best Practices

Cloud First Adoption to Drive World Class Digital Government in Scotland


Cloud Pioneers Needed

A key observation and recommendation in the recent report from Audit Scotland on how the nation is lacking digital leadership, is the need for inspiring exemplars of Cloud computing adoption:

The Scottish Government needs to do more to put the right infrastructure in place to support change. Currently it is not leading by example in the use of cloud technologies, a key part of its strategy.

World Class Digital Government

This is a particularly illustrative point of the challenges facing the Scottish Government, as their Digital Economy plan defines it’s adoption as one of the key accelerators towards achieving the goal of becoming a world leading digital nation:

“Mandate the use of common platforms and infrastructure, including cloud hosting, as appropriate across the Scottish Government.”

“Make better use of cloud-based solutions as a source of both cost reduction and service innovation, and move public sector data hosting to a cloud environment wherever this is appropriate in terms of security and efficiency.”

It is a technology central to their digital transformation goals. For example this Scottish Parliament document on NHS technology innovation describes:

“The adoption of Cloud technology and Agile delivery methodologies through the digital transformation at NES has proven that the fundamentals of the UK & Scottish Government digital strategies, when fully adopted, deliver real and lasting transformation of services.”


“By fully adopting the Cloud first approach for applications and systems to deliver redesigned services in support of the Health & Social Care Delivery plan, the data that underpins all aspects of improved care and quality can be made accessible to whomever needs it, whenever they need it from wherever they need it.”

Cloud First best practices

It’s not due to a lack of policy – One key policy tool is a ‘Cloud First’ mandate, as the name suggests a requirement that all new IT procurement opts first for a Cloud service if possible. It was first pioneered by the USA Govt in 2010 and is today recommended as the default starting point for CIOs.

Scotland also set this as a goal a few years ago but as Jim Gordon described for Holyrood magazine it’s not yet translated into major uptake of Cloud services.

Clearly this adoption is the type of leadership that Audit Scotland describes is lacking, and so needs to be encouraged and supported urgently by the Scottish Government.

Using Agile in Scottish Local Government

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