The Government Digital Service has said that although ‘cloud first’ remains government policy, its aspiration should be ‘cloud native’.
The cloud first policy, first published in 2013, says that all public sector buyers of IT products should consider the cloud as their first option.
However, GDS is updating the policy documents and guidance related to the cloud, and has now said that the government is moving away from the phrase ‘cloud first’ to ‘cloud native’.
According to James Stewart, the departing director of technical architecture at GDS, this means not only considering the cloud before other options, instead “it’s about adapting how we organise our work to really take advantage of what’s on offer and what’s emerging”.
Stewart said that unless the government changes how it adopts technologies, and focuses on the core outcomes and principles, it won’t be able to meet either user needs or deal with the increasing amount of data government has to deal with.
This includes taking on new developments automatically and embracing new tools, and investing in retraining staff, with Stewart saying that all staff should be allowed to trial new Software as a Service applications.
He added that many departments are adopting such approaches, but that “we need to make them our default”.
If the government is to become cloud native, Stewart said that it needed to focus on the digital outcomes it wants to achieve and then think about how to achieve them, and transform how it monitors and manages distributed systems so they include more diverse applications.
In addition, he said that government should “deepen” its conversations with vendors on standards and ensure that cloud providers are chosen because they fit government’s needs rather than basing them on recommendations.