HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will use DataCentred’s OpenStack public cloud to host its multi-channel digital tax platform.
The cloud platform will be used to store data for online self-assessment, PAYE for employees and the Your Tax Account service for small and medium-sized businesses.
DataCentred’s open source cloud platform uses OpenStack architecture, and gives the HMRC a scalable cloud infrastructure that can flex to suit the department’s needs and deliver the digital tax platform at peak times.
DataCentred is a relatively unknown player in the cloud market, but has already worked with other government organisations. The firm is one of many cloud vendors from which the government can acquire products, services and consultancy through the G-Cloud procurement framework.
Dr Mike Kelly, chief executive at DataCentred, explained that the company is committed to helping the government go digital by starting with the HMRC tax platform.
“DataCentred’s UK-based OpenStack public cloud is robust and flexible enough to store this data and ensure that individuals and businesses are able to rapidly access their data and manage their tax accounts online securely,” he said.
HMRC's use of an OpenStack-based cloud service suggests that open source systems are likely to find their way deeper into Whitehall, potentially knocking the likes of Microsoft and their long-term government contracts off their pedestals.
The use of DataCentred’s public cloud for HMRC’s tax platform is part of the government’s drive to inject more digital services into Whitehall departments by 2017.
The strategy is driven by the Government Digital Service (GDS), and has seen a pilot of a digital payments system designed to work across government departments.
This approach is part of GDS’ government-as-a-platform ambitions, which aim to provide a way to create digital services from common components to cut down on siloed and costly bespoke systems which have a lot in common but lack interoperability with IT systems in other Whitehall departments.
It has yet to be seen how well this strategy will work in the long term for the government, but its embracing of a ‘learn by doing’ attitude is at least indicative of a motivation to pursue digital systems with gusto.
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