The Government has cancelled a major technology project that would have allowed it to buy cloud computing services in a way that reduced complexity in the procurement process and potentially cut IT costs.
Almost two years in gestation, the Government Cloud Services Catalogue (GCSC) project was intended as a pre-approved list of IT suppliers and pricing models for services such as email, IT security, HR and payroll and records management.
Extensive in scope, potential users included Ministers and Government departments, non-commercial agencies and organisations, local authorities, contracting authorities throughout the health sector, schools and third-level institutions, An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces.
The project garnered high levels of interest from across the Irish IT industry.
However, in a letter issued to suppliers dated March 16th, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said it was cancelling the project because the economic and technical requirements for it had "fundamentally changed".
In a statement last night, the department said the Government had approved a new ICT strategy for the public service that included a “build to share” objective which envisages a Government “cloud” to provide common IT systems and infrastructure across the public sector. It said work on developing this was under way and that the only costs incurred were internal resources to develop and evaluate the framework and responses.
More than 100 IT companies bid to be included in the GCSC since it was proposed in 2013. Many collaborated closely and dedicated considerable resources to meet the terms of the tender, which underwent revisions during that time.
Former Government chief information officer Bill McCluggage said he was disappointed with the cancellation and the time lost as a result. He said he supported the work of successor Mike McGrath and the new public sector IT strategy, but did not see how the GCSC was incompatible with it.