A greater number of public sector organisations, including Central and Local Government, are now expected to switch their data centre requirements to the Crown Hosting Framework following the move from the Government Digital Service (GDS) to Crown Commercial Services (CCS).
CCS became the new custodian of the Framework Authority of the Crown Hosting Service (CHS), transferring from the GDS on March 1 2017.
One of the main aims of the CCS service is to provide a transition point to the Cloud in support of the Government’s Cloud First policy, by making it easier for public sector customers to procure data centre services. The immediate result saves them money and gives the commercial flexibility needed to transform their ‘as-is’ infrastructure environments.
Stephen Hall, CEO of Crown Hosting, said: “Crown Hosting has seen fantastic success within its first two years which have far exceeded everyone’s expectations. The move to CCS was a decision taken with the Cabinet Office and is designed to drive the benefits even further forward by closer integration with central government department transformation plans’, alongside increasing savings in the local government, police and health sectors, to name but a few.
“CCS has been tasked with assisting the delivery of more customers which will then derive more significant savings in IT infrastructure costs across the public sector. Without exception, each and every customer of Crown Hosting is already recognising that CHS provides the commercial flexibility, increased resilience of service, greater transparency of costs and immediate cost savings required during their transformation.
“This move will further strengthen the Joint Venture between Ark Data Centres; one of the UK’s leading, most efficient data centre operators and the Government. It will create a stronger team able to better identify and support organisations wishing to move to the Crown Hosting Framework, whilst simultaneously providing commercial agility and immediate cost savings throughout any business transformation.”
A key component of the joint initiative is to raise awareness across the public sector of the Crown Hosting Framework. It has already delivered significant savings to public sector organisations, including the Ministry of Defence (MOD), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Office for National Statistics (ONS) amongst many others, all of whom have switched from legacy data centres to the new, agile Framework.
Crown Hosting is a key transition platform for the Government’s Cloud First strategy, with the overarching objective of providing highly efficient, flexible data centre co-location.
CCS will add the benefits of a large procurement support organisation. This includes dedicated customer and specialist procurement teams, online web presence and physical call centres, all to help organisations choose the specific Framework they require to transform their IT estates.
Given the high degree of take up by both central Government and regional Government bodies, the move to CCS will help further adoption by sectors outside Crown Hosting’s current portfolio. Organisations will be able to access more support material, learn about case studies in their respective sector and receive dedicated support on their journey to using the Crown Hosting Framework.
So far, Crown Hosting has benefited several organisations on their journey away from legacy data centres.
Ranging from large scale organisations such as the mentioned MOD, DWP, The Home Office and the ONS, to smaller organisations like Derby City Council, the Framework has proven to be an adaptable and viable option for all public sector bodies undergoing a digital facelift.
For the MOD, the Crown Hosting process has been described as being like “a hot knife through butter compared to previous experiences”, with flexibility, high security and savings at the height of their experience working with the Framework.
Commenting on its move, the ONS said: “It is our longer-term view that our data centre requirement will continue to benefit from the comprehensive service provided by Crown Hosting and we are exploring the extent to which this could increase in the future.”
Moving forward with CCS means the Crown Hosting Framework can be applied to a multitude of projects with the capacity for consistent growth, in even tighter timeframes that previously achieved.