Crown Commercial Services (CCS) have opened shop on G-Cloud 10, shrugging off fears that it would be delayed till 2019.
G-Cloud is a government initiative that aims to make it easier for local authorities and government bodies to procure cloud-based services. It acts as a government-sanctioned marketplace for cloud-based businesses.
Suppliers send in applications to be part of the market, which are then approved by the Crown Commercial Service. G-Cloud 10 has 3,505 suppliers, with SME’s making 90 percent of that figure.
Commenting to Computer Business Review on the launch Chris Farthing MD at Advice Cloud said that: “G-Cloud framework has so awarded contracts worth £3.1 billion and 48 percent of that is with SME’s. The framework is an amazing opportunity for UK business, one that has been recognised with G-Cloud 10. Over 600 new suppliers have joined the framework.”
Sri Iyer, Practice Director at Unisys which provides UK Police Forces with cloud-based services to capture relevant information digitally through G-Cloud, told Computer Business Review: “We see G-Cloud 10 as a natural progression from G-Cloud 9 continuing on from a well-established and well-used system, with significant improvements, especially around the management of existing services.”
Concern over delay
Suppliers on G-Cloud were concerned that G-Cloud 9, launched last year, would end up running for two years.
Speaking to Computer Business Review, Bill Mew, cloud strategist at UKCloud, told us that “a gap would have been detrimental to many of the suppliers who rely on this particular platform.”
Each new iteration of G-Cloud – typically live every nine months, or in this case over a year – is a chance for suppliers to add new features and set their pricing structure. Once pricing is set it can’t be changed till the next version is launched.
“Suppliers were enormously grateful they went ahead in this time frame,” added Bill Mew. “The fast pace of technological change means that any delay in updating their offer can be disadvantageous.”
Version 10 has seen some new features introduced which have been widely welcomed by suppliers. One such is the ability for existing suppliers to simply move onto the new version of G-Cloud from version nine, thus making it simpler and easier to focus on their new offerings.
Oliver Dowden Minister for Implementation stated in the announcement that: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, delivering innovative solutions in partnership with the public sector, fuelling economic growth and supporting the delivery of efficient, effective public services that meet the needs of citizens.”
“The success of G-Cloud demonstrates how we are breaking down the barriers for SMEs who want to supply to government,” she added.
There are some concerns as the service grows about the CCS ability to police the market; as the number of submissions grows with each iteration, so have fears in some quarters that the CCS team is not growing in tandem.
Bill Mew told us that: “In the past some of the submissions have lacked some the clarity that is mandated in the rules around pricing” and that more needs to be done to “hold buyers to account.”
He noted that G-Cloud are getting better at policing this, but “if you were to look around you would find submissions that are incomplete.”
“There needs to be a level of education for the buyers and there needs to be a certain amount of policing for the supplies.”
“It has been a success, it has provided a level playing field where SME’s and local players such as ourselves can compete with global giants and that has to be applauded,” he added.