Survey of UK public sector decision makers, commissioned by NetApp, finds that cloud growth will accelerate and investment in skills will increase
London, UK, 1 March 2022 —New research conducted by NetApp, the cloud-led data-centric software company, found that the majority (75%) of public sector leaders believe that the National Data Strategy is imperative to the UK’s future economic growth. The goal of the National Data Strategy is to consolidate the UK’s position as a global digital leader by unlocking the power of data. The NetApp® survey of 200 public sector leaders confirms that steps are in place to achieve this aim across central and local government, health and social care, emergency services, education, and defence, by accelerating cloud adoption and digitally upskilling.
Further to viewing the National Data Strategy as a positive driving force, almost three- quarters (73%) believe that it will help the UK cement its position as a global digital leader. Public sector organisations are using it to guide their own data usage and sharing policies. Almost 4 in 5 (79%) respondents said that their organisation has a policy for how it uses data that is aligned to the National Data Strategy. However, 47% of public sector leaders believe that building a platform to implement more ambitious data strategies and deliver digital services to communities will require additional investment. Supporting this position, over half (56%) of respondents say that their organisation’s data is stored on infrastructure that is not fit for purpose.
According to Tim Skinner, UKI Head of Public Sector, NetApp, “Public sector organisations experienced tremendous digital acceleration in response to Covid-19, and continuing the progress made by increasing their capabilities to use and share data will be fundamental to shaping the UK’s recovery over the next 12 months. Modernising infrastructure, continuing cloud migration, and equipping employees with sufficient digital skills will enable this, but the National Data Strategy is an essential piece of the puzzle, providing clear direction for creating a truly digital society.”
Investment in cloud will continue to grow in the next 12 months as public sector organisations expand their capacity for data sharing and delivering digital services. Almost 9 in 10 (87%) will maintain or grow their expenditure on cloud, with over half (53%) expecting to increase usage in the next 12 months. This study offers evidence that cloud and data strategies are maturing across the public sector. Although 79% of organisations currently store data in the cloud, only 30% consciously adopt a cloud-first approach, indicating that when modernising their infrastructure, leaders remain pragmatic in their selection criteria to ensure that their choices deliver the best performance at the lowest cost.
As well as investing in technology, public sector organisations acknowledge the need to adapt culturally and upskill employees to deliver on the National Data Strategy’s aims. Over two-thirds (69%) say that their organisation must change its culture to transform digitally, while 63% think that further employee training and support from senior management is required to meet digital objectives in 2022. Moreover, there is an opportunity to digitally upskill existing public sector employees, which 65% of leaders believe will help their organisation overcome shortages in technical skills across the UK.
“It is encouraging to see public sector leaders adopting a ‘cloud-appropriate’ approach to investing in IT, which is a financially prudent approach to delivering digitised public services as platform maturity continues to increase,” said Adrian Cooper, UKI CTO, Public Sector, NetApp. “To build on the progress already made, organisations must find partners with proven track records of empowering the public sector to lead with data, while modernising the infrastructure that enables this in a measured and cost-effective manner.”
NetApp partnered with Opinium, an independent research consultant, to survey 200 public sector leaders across central and local government, health and social care, emergency services, education, and defence organisations in the UK.
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