In the third in our series looking at options for the UK public sector tech supply chain off the former CloudStore, we meet TechnologyOne's UK operating officer, Roger Phare
TechnologyOne is a leading public sector enterprise software company and one of Australia's top 200 ASX-listed companies, with offices in six countries, including an ever-increasing presence in the UK. We create solutions that transform business and make life simple for our customers. We do this by providing powerful, deeply integrated enterprise software that is incredibly easy to use.
Over 1,000 leading corporations, government departments and statutory authorities are powered by our software. We participate in eight key markets: government/local government, financial services, education, health and community services, asset intensive, project intensive and corporate. For these markets we develop, market, sell, implement, support and run our preconfigured solutions, which reduce time, cost and risk for our customers.
For 28 years, we have been providing our customers enterprise software that evolves and adapts to new and emerging technologies, allowing them to focus on their business and not technology. Today, our software is available on the TechnologyOne Cloud and across smart mobile devices.
The UK public sector has started to embrace these concepts, with organisations such as University of Lincoln, University of South Wales, Clackmannanshire Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council all adopting our enterprise software as a service.
In terms of more specific examples of the kind of engagements we conduct, Aylesbury Vale District Council, which was one of our first enterprise customers to be signed through the G-Cloud framework, has said that we provided a proven solution, developed specifically for the cloud, and that our experience in delivering finance solutions to local authorities, the level of customer engagement and overall product portfolio all played a key part in being selected as its supplier: “TechnologyOne’s solution will empower our managers to take control of budgeting processes, and make quicker and more informed decisions with a complete view of financial performance,” its Leader Councillor, Neil Blake, has stated, adding that, “We expect to save time and reduce costs by automating manual processes and removing duplication of data entry.”
TechnologyOne was an inaugural framework participant on G-Cloud: we welcomed the vision and drive of the G-Cloud/GDS team to introduce the public sector to true cloud computing, which would provide organisations with benefits such as; genuine cost savings, vastly increased performance and streamlined procurement processes with pre-qualified vendors. G-Cloud has also opened up the market to a wider range of vendors, providing quality solutions at a lower cost. This has worked well, allowing us to compete and win business that previously would have been difficult.
The first couple of times through it was quite laborious, but subsequent G-Cloud submissions have been made easier. The security assertions are still somewhat unclear, though, which can also affect vendor confidence.
We have had some success, and the Marketplace streamlines the procurement process. There are a number of limitations, though, the major one being the two year contract term. We understood that the original motivation of the G-Cloud initiative was to break down the concept of contract lock-in, promote competition and deliver true Software as a Service (SaaS) purchasing models. But in the case of enterprise solutions, where the life of the system is seven to 10 years and may take at least a year to fully implement, then the two-year timeframe is actually a higher risk to the customer than the vendor. In other words, the system can be switched off after two years and the customer is without a mission critical system. There are rollover provisions and there is no iron-clad guarantee.
It is important to recognise that G-Cloud/Digital Marketplace is a purchasing framework, not a promotional catalogue. It is up to the suppliers to do their own marketing, promotion and sales, and encourage purchasers to look at G-Cloud as a viable procurement option.
The cloud will transform the way organisations interact with their customers and community, now and into the future. Software as a Service removes the complexity of managing costly IT infrastructure and greatly simplifies the decision to adopt smart mobile devices throughout the organisation - because this capability is provided as standard from the cloud; it’s a simple, flexible and cost effective computing model that enables organisations to future proof their business.
For TechnologyOne customers, the cloud opens up a new world of opportunities, allowing organisations to access their data from any device, anywhere in the world and at any time. For public service organisations, it will facilitate staff to work from anywhere, in the office or in the field. It will also enable users to switch between devices throughout the day, with the data being accessed flowing on to the device being used at the time.
We envision a world where work will be done on many different devices in the near future, with the inevitable increase in the use of smart mobiles in the workplace. But there is still a good deal of suspicion and reluctance around cloud amongst public sector procurement officers. Some see it as non-competitive, other an erosion of their influence. We'd welcome more work in this area by GDS and central government.
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From TechnologyOne’s perspective, G-Cloud has worked as it should do – that is, it allows customers to procure true cloud, SaaS solutions from us. However, there does need to be more take up in areas such as Local Government and Education rather than just Central Government.