Government CIO moots ‘G Cloud’ app store plans


John Suffolk, the government's chief information officer (CIO) has been garnering feedback on the idea of a public sector app store.

In response to interest in plans to create a government cloud computing infrastructure or G Cloud' as part of the proposals outlined in last week's publication of the Digital Britain report, Suffolk joined a discussion group.

He asked the Google Group the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum whether the government's approach to G Cloud, as a result of work carried out over the last three years, would enable it to move to a Government App Store,' (G-AS) like that available for the iPhone for instance.

Suffolk said steps towards creating a G Cloud already taken included standardising desktop design, the rationalisation of network provision under the Public Sector Network Programme and data centre utilisation, and driving through an open source, standards and reuse strategy.

"This gives us the ability to start moving towards cloud in a sensible way," he wrote, where the cloud would be preferred to the current shared services model, where the next logical step would be to create an app store.

For the public sector to maximise the value from it many applications could be moved into and accessed from a G-AS, which would offer the benefits of speed, simplicity, cost-benefits and innovation, according to Suffolk.

But he said securing such an infrastructure and standardising any application testing and certification processes would be key to any successful implementation, where commercial software-as-a-service (SaaS) models could show the way.

Suffolk commented that "the European law on procurement for public sectors in complex," but added: "If we can crack this we shift the paradigm again."

But he added the caveat that "we are at the early stages of our thinking," asking "would it be possible to design a Government Cloud and a Government Application Store in a web 2.0 environment?"

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.