Tech giant IBM has signed a three-year public cloud agreement with Crown Commercial Services and the UK Cabinet Office, allowing preferential commercial terms for public sector organisations, including the NHS.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the public sector will be enabled to “embark on a secure public cloud journey and innovate with digital solutions and services to help evolve essential services for UK citizens,” according to an IBM press release.
Eligible organisations will have access to a suite of solutions including IBM Multicloud Manager, IBM Cloud Paks, Red Hat OpenShift, Cloud Garages, Power Virtual Servers on Cloud, VMware and Cloud Migration Services.
WHY IT MATTERS
IBM’s public cloud is built on a foundation of open source software with more than 190 cloud-native APIs, such as AI, blockchain, Internet of Things, serverless and DevOps.
The deal aims to break down barriers to public cloud adoption by enabling public sector organisations to access services without vendor lock in and capitalise on the speed and agility of the public cloud.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The move follows a UK government deal with Google Cloud in June, which enabled public bodies, including the NHS, to benefit from discounts on products. Google Cloud said the deal would make it easier and more affordable for public sector agencies to leverage its services in order to increase innovation and deliver digital transformation.
Meanwhile, UK leading cancer centre, The Royal Marsden, recently launched its first AI virtual agent using IBM Watson, delivered via the IBM public cloud. It aims to enable hospitals to manage its workforce efficiently while alleviating additional stress key workers may be experiencing during the COVID-19 crisis.
ON THE RECORD
Simon Tse, chief executive of Crown Commercial Service (CCS), said: “This agreement with IBM provides great value for public sector organisations as they continue to innovate and improve essential services for citizens throughout the UK.”
Janine Cook, vice president for public sector at IBM UK and Ireland, said: “As the public sector continues its rapid digital transformation, government organisations crossing many industries need a reliable, resilient and secure technology environment to meet the needs of citizens and address complex security and regulatory requirements.
“An open hybrid cloud platform, built and managed with IBM’s deep industry expertise, can allow the public sector to accelerate its innovation and offer a more agile way to develop new digital services and take the next step along their cloud journeys.”