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The UK Department of Health and up to twenty arms-length bodies will deploy cloud-based collaboration software, bolstering info-sharing across the organisation

The UK Department of Health and up to twenty arms-length bodies will deploy cloud-based collaboration software, bolstering info-sharing across the organisation

The UK Department of Health on Tuesday signed a shared services agreement through the G-Cloud framework with a number of arms-length bodies to deploy a cloud-based collaboration platform from Kahootz as it moves to replace its legacy collaboration systems.

The shared service agreement between the Department of Health and digital collaboration specialist Inovem will see the cloud-based collaboration platform deployed across NHS England, NHS Health Research Authority, the Care Quality Commission and twenty other agencies and public bodies.

The platform, which was purchased through the G-Cloud, will allow the health department to retire its legacy IBM Quickr software and shift away from the traditional license-based model of procuring software.

“Our Department is actively replacing legacy business systems in favour of more flexible Cloud-based shared services for departmental and partner operations,” Bob Armstrong, head of ICT futures and shared services at the Department of Health.

“The acquisition of the Kahootz cloud collaboration service, via the G-Cloud store, will enable us to improve the way we securely share knowledge, collaborate on policy, consult with stakeholders and engage partners in our work.”

Armstrong explained that the organisation will explore using the platform for project management, communities of interest, committees and policy development workgroups as its rolled out across the various departments and associated bodies.

“Our evaluation team was keen to assess the ‘art of the possible’ by examining modern cloud collaboration services,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong told Business Cloud News that its Kahootz deployment is about 5/6 of the way through at the Department of Health and plans to add more arms-length bodies and organisations in the coming months. He also said collaboration software is just the beginning, and that the DH plans further systems and application modernisation initiatives. It already operates a Windows 7 desktop environment deployed on a private cloud platform run by Atos.

“We want to get out of the business of running legacy systems. We’re now attacking legacy applications and we’re also planning to move to VoIP soon,” he explained. “Cloud services will be a big part of that; it’s a smarter way of doing things and makes the whole process of IT service delivery more agile. It means that if we had an organisation that needed an IT estate set up, we could be deployed and running by the end of tomorrow.”

The deployment is also a sign of the growing maturity of the G-Cloud programme, which has so far netted over £154m in sales, with SMEs winning 60 per cent of the contracts awarded through the procurement framework.

John Glover sales & marketing director for Inovem, the consultancy that advised on the collaboration solution said that with many legacy public sector ICT contracts coming to an end, G-Cloud and related public sector ICT procurement reform is providing new opportunities for SMEs to cater to government, which traditionally incurs high administrative overheads.

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