Shared services are viewed as important to address ongoing concerns about funding levels, but security is still the major barrier to adoption of cloud computing in the local government sector, according to new research for enterprise app supplier Unit4.
Perhaps more worryingly, its survey of over a 1000 senior Town Hall staff established that 34% of them don't know what G-Cloud is.
The study probes the sector’s thoughts on the external challenges faced, and whether shared services, cloud and G-Cloud are being adopted to help to maintain services in the face of shrinking budgets.
Thus when asked about the greatest threats to their organisations over the next 12 months, 98% responded reduced funding and 65% listed it as a severe threat. The second biggest threat of the five measured was the loss of key staff through redundancies or retirement.
A clear majority, 65%, of respondents believed shared services will help address funding challenges, with business transformation the next highest at 63%. Interestingly, and pointing to its strategic importance, 80% of senior executives at board level or above believe technology will help save money, compared with 51% of the sample as a whole.
When asked which areas are considered a priority by your organisation to reduce costs, only three per cent said government frameworks were a high priority, suggesting little awareness of the various schemes which have been implemented.
According to the research, two thirds of the individuals surveyed asserted that their organisations already used a shared service, and 34% see it as a high priority.
HR & Payroll was viewed as the most likely area for sharing with other organisations, by 63%, and shared services wide appeal was evident among senior staff.
Security is the main concern for local government, with 50% seeing it as the greatest barrier to adoption. However, 27 per cent didn’t see any of the seven listed barriers as a concern.
When it came to the G-Cloud – the government’s framework for procuring cloud-based services – only three per cent said they used it already and 34 % didn’t know what the term referred to.
“This report lays bare the considerable and ongoing concerns about reduced funding,” said Mark Wilson, Interim Managing Director of Unit4 for the UK and Ireland.
“It is encouraging to see that senior management in local government see the strategic role technology has to play in meeting the challenges.
"Shared services has also rightly gained traction over the last few years as councils seek to maintain services despite funds falling.”
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