A Year in Review
“This year has been like no other in recent memory. Please let me begin by, on behalf of all at UKCloud, extending my condolences to those from whom this year has taken the most, and thanking those who have powered through to keep us safe and healthy.
At no other time have I been more passionate about the critical need for public sector organisations to modernise and digitally transform. With the health sector embracing accelerated digitalisation during the pandemic, now is the time for all public sector organisations to follow suit and transform at pace. This is especially critical, given the influence of cloud and advanced technology in enabling a much more comprehensive, collaborative, and swift reaction to this global crisis.
With recent news, we can all begin to hope that COVID-19 will soon be behind us, so the focus must now shift to how the UK can lead the world’s recovery and thrive again. But, as this year closes, I want to recall some of the vital steps we have taken to achieve our collective vision of a much stronger national digital capability.
The UK Government’s National Data Strategy consultation placed data at the forefront of a comprehensive national digital strategy, highlighting the value, and expressing the importance of data to public sector organisations. Further, the introduction of Social Value as a mandatory element for all public procurements will drive economic growth, wider societal benefits and accelerate the UK’s COVID-19 recovery. It will also level the playing field for smaller UK businesses.
Here is to a safe and transformative 2021.”
– Simon Hansford, CEO.
Our Highlights of 2020
UKCloud, our customers and our partners have made some big strides this year, in some of the most uncertain and challenging circumstances in recent history. Here is a round-up of our proudest achievements this year, from across the business:
- The State of Cloud Adoption in the UK Public Sector Report
9/10 organisations would move their IT to the cloud if the perfect solution existed, yet a reluctance to move legacy workloads, and the most secure systems, to public clouds has inhibited digital transformation in many organisations. The State of Cloud Adoption report, conducted in January, uncovered many reservations and misconceptions held by public sector organisations about cloud. Impeding cloud adoption was, lack of strategy (79%), lack of skills and resources (83%), cost and affordability (85%), budget misalignment (82%), and non-native applications (77%).
However, though secure, or legacy dependent workloads perhaps do not belong in public hyperscaler clouds, there are alternative solutions that can host workloads with these requirements.
There is no one-size fits all with cloud.
As such, this emphatic desire from organisations to adopt cloud has driven us to develop solutions that can advance the public sector’s digital maturity. Whether that means providing a secure, flexible multi-cloud platform to host legacy applications, or helping transform organisational capabilities with cloud native.
- Crisis Response and Digital Workplace.
This pandemic has tested every organisation’s ability to react and respond to a rapidly changing environment. Organisations have adopted new working practices in order to maintain critical national infrastructure and essential public services in the fight against COVID-19. Remote working technology has been at the core of this evolution, with video conferencing systems and collaborative applications helping organisations and individuals to stay connected. The innovative use of cloud services to deliver digital services has accelerated during this pandemic with significant strides taken in the health and education sectors.
Yet, the pace of change has not come without its security challenges and organisations now need to review whether the digital services they have adopted are safe, secure, and compliant. Rising to the challenge, we have offered highly flexible digital workplace solutions capable of delivering virtual desktops and applications on a choice of security domain (Official/ Above Official/ Secret) to meet stringent data security requirements. We are here to help and provide expert guidance from initial assessment and service design through to support and ongoing management.
- UKCloud achieves recognition as Strategic Cloud Provider to UK Government.
In June, UKCloud signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Crown Commercial Service (CCS), underlining our alignment to the One Government Cloud Strategy (OGCS) and our core value to do the right thing. Everything we do is driven by our mission to deliver better services to citizens and better value to UK taxpayers. With this recognition, we have aligned with robust principles that matter to public sector organisations, and provided greater commercial benefits to customers, making the jump to cloud adoption much easier and less risky. It is our commitment to accelerate the UK public sector’s digital transformation, with better outcomes delivered to the citizen, being a Strategic Cloud Provider to the UK Government reinforces that.
“This agreement with UKCloud builds on the government’s Cloud First policy and incorporates key elements of the recent One Government Cloud Strategy. It shows the government’s determination to adopt value for money technologies which improve services and ensure government departments and their staff have the digital tools they need, now and in the future.”
– Gareth Rhys Williams, UK Government Chief Commercial Officer.
- Continuously Outstanding Customer Service
In contrast with global cloud providers, UKCloud is consistently credited for our exceptional commitment to our customers and partners, ensuring expert support always. The hard work of our Service Delivery team and every single member of staff epitomises UKCloud, our brand and our core values. This year is no different. We rounded off the year with an NPS score of +48, well above industry average and a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff during an uncertain and disruptive period for everyone.
‘’UKCloud provide a secure and reliable service with a helpful Service Delivery Manager & support team who will always work hard to ensure the customer is happy with the service provided.’’
– Rashid Hussain, Head of Application Support and Cloud Hosting at SynApps Solutions.
- UKCloudX: Transforming the mission to keep our nation safe.
Two years on from announcing our intention to build UKCloudX, a brand focused on the specific needs of the Defence and National Security community, we have successfully deployed multiple technology environments that meet the accreditation requirements of Tier 2. Further, throughout 2020, we have invested even more in hiring people with the skills and experience to help customers harness this disruptive new capability. We have recruited a team with extensive customer experience who are now driving deeper relationships across end customer and partner stakeholders, shaping our technology roadmap, and building a substantial forward pipeline of new opportunities. After signing up to the Armed forces Covenant in 2019, in August were awarded the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award in recognition for all our support of ex-military personnel.
Despite what 2020 has thrown at us as, the UKCloudX engineering team has worked tirelessly to deliver projects, including numerous private and multi-tenant clouds using a variety of IaaS technologies, for customers across the whole Defence and National Security domain. Looking ahead to 2021, as well as continuing to deliver high-profile projects using our traditional IaaS offering, UKCloudX, in line with wider UKCloud, is expanding the waterfront of products and services available at OFFICIAL and Tier 2, including security services, collaboration services, and remote working.
- UKCloud Health: Advancing digital maturity to transform patient outcomes.
Over the last three years we have steadily grown our portfolio of partners to an impressive list of over 300. This year, the work UKCloud Health and our partners have conducted together has reshaped the way many end-users operate and respond to crises. In particular, our work with Imperial NHS Trust was revolutionary. The Imperial Clinical Analytics, Research, and Evaluation (iCare) solution developed and hosted on UKCloud Health’s secure platform, allowed for rapid and agile data sharing across a selection of North West London Hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exemplified by our work with Imperial and reinforced by the unpredictability of the pandemic and urgency required in the response, at no other time in history has the national asset of data been more vital. The value of data, sharing and spotting trends, wide use of cutting-edge data analytics tools and apparatus, and a collaborative but secure data usage, goes beyond being operationally beneficial, it saves lives. Our work with partners such as IMMJ Systems on their MediViewer™ service, and RIVIAM’s Wellbeing platform, have changed the way end users operate and harness crucial data during a health crisis. In 2020 and beyond, UKCloud Health and our partners are committed to leading the charge to help the Health and Care sector harness the benefits that data can provide.
- Renewed focus on Partners
We are committed to advance the UK’s national capability. Together with our partners, we have enabled better outcomes and better efficiencies using digital technologies in the public sector than ever before. Further, our partnerships foster a community with a collective vision to grow and develop the UK technology sector into 2021 and beyond, as part of the post-Brexit industrial strategy.
This year, we have focussed on investing in our UKCloud Partner Team, recruiting new members to support and further increase our commitment to the Managed Service Providers, Systems Integrators and Independent Software Vendors that are powered by UKCloud. Our personnel changes have allowed ISV communities to drive innovation in AI and Risk Management, whilst our MSP communities have benefitted from the launch of our Managed IT Operations Portfolio, whereby UKCloud help run their businesses by monitoring networks, providing disaster recovery services and remote desktop provision. Our global Systems Integrators have been able to close more business by placing secure and sensitive workloads in our UK Multi-Cloud Infrastructure.
In order to continuously improve the way in which we power our partners, we’ve simplified our partner programme to be more accessible for all partners and have launched the UKCloud Document Centre, where partners can go to consume sales, marketing, product and technical collateral. To request access, sign up here.
Our partner communities continue to be at the heart of everything we do, and we remain devoted to powering public sector innovation with you into 2021.
- Unveiling our suite of services on the G-Cloud 12 framework.
In September, UKCloud announced its expanded portfolio of services on the G-Cloud 12 framework, realising and reinforcing our commitment to the UK public sector as a Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Strategic Cloud Provider. With emphasis on choice, high-level assurance and expert support, this portfolio was designed to accelerate the government’s legacy IT transformation programme; overcoming the resource, assurance, availability and commercial constraints that often stop public sector organisations reaching their digital transformation objectives. Through G-Cloud 12, we invested further in our portfolio of services that help customers at every stage of their journey. We reduced the gap between legacy and digital to provide customers with a more actionable and affordable route to modernise their IT environment in preparation for wider adoption of transformative digital technologies.
- VMware License Service Launch
Just as the March COVID-19 Lockdown started to bite, UKCloud launched the VMware Licence Service (VLS) to the market. This innovative new solution for on-premises support of VMware licences, developed by UKCloud and VMware, has been positively received and adopted by many organisations for its subscription principles and flexibility.
A key element of the VLS approach allows customers to move VMware fully onto OPEX. For one of the early adopters of this new solution, University of Manchester (UOM), this was an important requirement. Further the process was smoothened, as UOM could resize and re-configure licences for today’s needs rather than for requirements defined over 4 years ago when the licences were purchased.
Other VLS customers are now looking at the advanced features of VMware’s vRealise Operations Advanced and short-term deployments of vR Network Insight to support that network design element of transformation. We look forward to the exciting opportunities and cost savings this new solution can bring to more public sector organisations in the future, as we continue to break the boundaries of what is possible, delivering the best service to our customers and partners.
So what’s to come for 2021?
Though 2020 has been a tough year for many, now there is an opportunity for cloud technology to enable a strong economic recovery. For those organisations willing to build the digital foundations and begin their cloud journey, next year and beyond will be bright.
In 2021 and beyond, UKCloud are encouraging the public sector to change their mindset, to welcome cloud as an opportunity, not a burden, and begin planning for a digital future by laying the digital groundwork – moving legacy workloads to the cloud – it’s time to do more than just keep the lights on.