The government’s G-Cloud initiative, launched at the beginning of 2012, is aimed at driving the uptake of cloud computing in the public sector, streamlining the process for government departments and allowing them easy access to suppliers as needed.
The framework currently has a choice of 3,200 services from 459 vendors, three-quarters of which are SMEs, through a marketplace called the CloudStore where vendors compete for contracts with the Government Procurement Services.
McDonagh took over the programme in April last year, having taken charge of major government IT projects for 33 years.
She stepped down from the post earlier this month to focus on her role as head of IT for the Home Office, handing over responsibility of the project to the Government Digital Service (GDS) following a spending review.
McDonagh has also been vocal in calling for a “cloud first” mandate across central government.
At the beginning of the year the government claimed that purchases of G-Cloud services stood at £6 million, with over 70% of this going to support SMEs.
However a lack of funds and resources has stirred doubts that the government will reach its target of having 50% of all new IT spend through G-Cloud by 2015. As of this month spending on the CloudStore website was just £22 million – a small amount in government spending terms.
Uptake of the G-Cloud scheme has been slower than anticipated, with the scheme coming under fire for being “underused” by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, Tech Week Europe reported earlier this month.
In her keynote address at the Think G-Cloud 2013 event in London today, McDonagh admitted that the G-Cloud scheme had so far fallen short of its ambitions, telling reporters from V3 that “when we put out CloudStore we knew it wasn't brilliant, but we have made significant strides. But there's still a bit more to do.”
She was also keen to promote the “experimental” aspect of the scheme as a way for government agencies to try out the advantages of cloud services without having to commit to a long-term contract.
Also on the Queen’s birthday honours list announced this week are Nigel Shadbolt, Open Data Institute co-founder and Neil Wolstenholme, Department for Work and Pensions’ IT leader working in the Major Programmes Project Management Office.