Moving to the Public Services Network is a “game changer” which could help councils save millions of pounds by hosting services on the Cloud, according to BT’s business development director for PSN.
Speaking to PublicTechnology.net, Neil Mellor said that PSN would provide a “security assured Cloud” which will save them the costs of dedicated connectivity to suppliers.
And he added that he was confident that the next iteration of G-Cloud framework will provide virtually all of the services needed by councils to run their businesses by the cloud.
He said: “People have always used hosted or outsourced applications, but before PSN you had to have dedicated connectivity. If you had to do it over a private line, you would have the costs of adding encryption. It is a game changer and there will be an increasing shift to delivering digital services through the PSN.”
Services provided over PSN networks via G-Cloud will not require this expense, he said, and will also save money by not requiring a formal tender process.
He admitted that some councils had had an “uncomfortable introduction” to the PSN, and that more needed to be done to promote trust of the channel among local authorities.
But he said that a positive relationship between local authorities and central government over the issue was developing, and credited the work of public services ICT professional body Socitm.
Because the G-Cloud framework refreshes the services it offers every six months, “the opportunity for suppliers to keep pace with demand is going to be there pretty quickly”, Mellor said.
“Undoubtedly a lot of the sales through G-Cloud so far have been consulting services aimed at helping public bodies understand how to make the most of the service.
“I think we are on the verge of seeing a healthy shift towards the purchasing of the services themselves via G-Cloud,” he said.
He also accepted criticisms made by a government digital developer last week that private sector suppliers needed to do better in describing their services on G-Cloud in order to make them easy to find for customers.
He said: “It is a shop window, and if you don’t accurately display and price your goods then you will lose business.”
Mellor also denied that bigger suppliers such as BT were under threat by the influx of smaller suppliers into the digital market enabled by initiatives such as G-Cloud.
He said: “Prices are being driven down, to the benefit of the customer, and we would be silly if we didn’t change our business to respond. We are partnering with a lot of small and medium sized firms.”