Government launches public sector app store

Government launches public sector app store

I came across this artcle on the BBC website today. For those who remember my involvement with the early design and business requirements for the Knowledge Hub, the Khub App store was one of the main features of the new platform. Regretably it got lost in the budget cuts (or was de-priotised?), and hence an opportunity lost.  As can be seen from the announcement, this could have been a net revenue stream for LGA as opposed to being perceived as adding to bottom line costs. See this earlier blog post.

To quote from the BBC article:

“It is hoped the service will allow organisations to purchase services on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, rather than be locked into lengthy contracts. They typically include services such as email, word processing, system hosting, enterprise resource planning and electronic records management.

The Cloudstore would help contribute to overall planned savings of £180m by 2015, the government said, although a spokesman admitted it was “difficult to anticipate total saving with the constant changes in technology”.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “Simply stated, purchasing services from Cloudstore will be quicker, easier, cheaper and more transparent for the public sector and suppliers alike.This bold move has potential to showcase the UK as a global leader in online service delivery, providing the procurement culture in government evolves to take advantage.”

And the following could almost have been lifted word for word from my original business case:

“Cloudstore (read Khub Appstore) represents a revolution in how the public sector buys (procures) software and services,” Chief executive Suraj Kika said.  My additions in brackets.

However, whilst feeling (perhaps understandably?) frustrated that the App Store never got implemented for KHub, I am encouraged that UK Gov have seen the benefits of using an app store as a cost-effective way of procuring and delivering business software, at a time when more and more users are getting familiar with this way of accessing and using new functionality. As I mentioned in my original article, the benefits of this distribution model are:

  • Easy to use and trusted conduit of software.
  • Download model is widely understood by both consumers and developers of software.
  • ‘Mashup’ tools will make it easy for apps to be built and shared by anyone.
  • Provides centralised control and value-add including commercial, security, access controls, digital rights.
  • Stimulates ideas for compelling new business scenarios and service innovation.
And of course users have the advantage of discarding or updating their apps if they no longer serve their immediate business requirements.
So, presumably local councils seeking to make cost savings in the procurement and distribution of new business applications will make the most of this new Cloudstore. I think the business case is pretty compelling.

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