Tim Hearn, Director, UK Government and Public Services, VMware
Last week George Osborne laid out his plans for spending over the next five years. Naturally the part of the announcement that resonated most with us was the government’s decision to invest £1.8 billion in digitally transforming government services across the public sector – and it’s one we certainly welcome.
What’s vital is that this extra spend goes towards actual transformation, rather than business as usual. The sector will need to take a deep dive into data centre environments – at the network, security and storage level. If smart technology investments are made, it will yield almost immediate cost-savings.
As the sector continues to come under pressure to make efficiencies, decision makers should look to the cloud – it would bring a simple but fundamental change in the way services are delivered, increasing efficiencies and saving costs. We’ve estimated that if public sector organisations had fully embraced virtualization – the first step to creating a cloud environment – over the past twelve years, the cost of public sector IT could have been reduced by more than half a billion pounds each year. Yet over a decade later, it’s estimated that less than 30% of the UK government’s server estate is virtualized, with potentially more than 150,000 servers remaining in physical environments.
We’re also encouraged by the government’s pledge to address the UK’s digital skills gap with an ‘Institute for Coding’, digital skills college and national cyber centre. This is a much needed investment – businesses and the economy benefit when their employees are equipped to use technology. While it’s not yet clear who these resources will be aimed at, our hope is that it is accessible to all. Organisations need to upskill across the board, among all ages and levels of seniority – only then can they fully utilise their talent and realise its potential for business. It’s something we’re passionate about at VMware. We explored it through some research a few weeks ago which found that older generations of the workforce are just as keen to learn technical skills as the younger generation, with 35% of 45-54 year olds, and 23% of over 55s seeking advice on designing and building mobile applications.