Adoption of cloud services by UK government bodies grew sharply in March, with sales through the public sector's CloudStore portal during the month reaching more than half that of the entire year before.
Sales of services through the CloudStore, the online portal where IT buyers can access over 3,000 cloud services made available to UK government through the G-Cloud framework agreement, rose to £6.5m in March. The figure marks a significant increase in sales via the store: in the 12 months between the CloudStore being created and March 2013, about £11.7m of services were bought.
Sales during March represent a rise of more than 300 percent over February 2013, when services costing about £2m were purchased. It brings the total sales through the CloudStore to date to £18.2m.
Large central government departments, NHS bodies and local government were among the buyers, including the Cabinet Office, the Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice and Transport for London.
The Home Office spent £150,000 on an 'operating model change programme' and £100,000 on agile consulting, while the Ministry of Justice spent £114,468 on a biometric security visits system.
A tranche of new services are expected to be added to the G-Cloud framework and be made available through the CloudStore in May, including new categories of offerings such as identity services and service integration and management.
Spending through the CloudStore is still only a fraction of the amount UK government is estimated to spend on IT each year — thought to be in the region of £18bn. The government has a target for half of all new IT spending to be on public cloud services by 2015.
Earlier this year the director of the G-Cloud Programme Denise McDonagh criticised large IT vendors for price matching G-Cloud services in order to hold onto government departments as customers, which she said is hampering attempts to move government to commodity cloud services.