Google Cloud lays flag in UK public sector with government MoU

By Lucy Ingham

Google Cloud has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UK government in order to increase adoption of its products and technologies by the UK public sector.

Under the MoU, Google Cloud will become easier for public sector organisations, including central government departments, broadcasters with public funding, local councils, NHS bodies and charities, to begin using the company’s cloud products.

Crown Commercial Service (CCS), the UK Cabinet Office executive agency and trading fund, which has arranged the MoU on behalf of the UK government, has also agreed a discount with Google Cloud for such groups, on the basis of the overall demand the MoU is expected to produce.

“CCS provides commercial agreements which help organisations across the entire public sector save time and money on buying everyday goods and services,” said Simon Tse, chief executive of CCS.

“This MoU with Google Cloud unlocks large-scale business benefits for our customers, and demonstrates CCS’s role in helping the public sector serve UK citizens in more innovative ways.”

Google Cloud MoU with UK government to help support digitisation of public sector

Cloud technologies that public sector organisations are able to access under the MoU include application modernisation and development; artificial intelligence; collaboration solutions; infrastructure and analytics.

Many of these technologies are likely to be particularly useful in supporting longer term remote working, and digitising or upgrading legacy systems.

Under the agreement, CCS and Google Cloud will also support UK small and medium sized enterprises that partner with public sector organisations.

Additionally, Google Cloud has said that the MoU “contemplates” giving public sector organisations access to the company’s managed and serverless products, including Anthos, a hybrid and multi-cloud product designed to enable organisations to work across multiple cloud and on-premise systems at once.

Google Cloud agreement marks key win in race for government infrastructure

For Google Cloud, the MoU is a key win in the ongoing race between leading cloud providers to secure lucrative government infrastructure projects.

In the US, the rivalry between Amazon Web Services, the market leader, Microsoft, Google Cloud, Oracle and IBM has at times become particularly heated, most notably with the awarding of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract with the US Department of Defense.

While Google dropped out of bidding due to moral objections from its employees, Microsoft’s awarding of JEDI was aggressively challenged by AWS, with an ongoing court case that has delayed the project’s launch.

With the UK public sector being a far less contentious area – and ultimately unlikely to rival the $10bn value of the JEDI contract – Google Cloud has placed itself in a strong position for dominance in the UK government cloud market.

“This is a significant milestone for us, as we see the results of our focused investment in cloud services and solutions primed and tailored for the public sector,” said Mark Palmer, head of public sector EMEA, Google Cloud.

“The UK public sector is a major focus for Google Cloud, and this is an opportunity to further support Her Majesty’s government in their digital transformation.”

Read more: Amazon goes to court over JEDI contract award process