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November 6, 2014

GDS launches new Digital Marketplace

Government hails new, simpler cloud procurement process.

By Vinod

Launched today, the Digital Marketplace aims to simplify the way government bodies buy IT services. The marketplace provides one single place for public sector organisations to procure cloud-based services like analytics and hosting, fully replacing CloudStore.

The Digital Marketplace replaces both Digital Services Store and CloudStore to become the only way to procure cloud services, and will support the second iteration of the Digital Services Framework (DSF) when it goes live in the New Year.

Previously, DSF was used to procure skilled knowledge workers with the requisite tech skills and G-Cloud to buy in commodity cloud services. With suppliers of the former listing on G-Cloud, obersvers have claimed that the frameworks grew less distinguishable rendering two distinct frameworks less necessary.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude acknowledged that having multiple procurement frameworks for G-Cloud was confusing for suppliers and buyers.

He said: "We know that the range of frameworks and stores can be confusing. That’s why the new Digital Marketplace, which makes it clearer, simpler and faster for the whole of the public sector to buy digital products and services when it needs to, is a vast improvement for both supplier and customer.

"This will ultimately lead to the delivery of better services for the public, and means that we can continue to work with a range of quality suppliers of all sizes."

Today’s launch coincides with the next iteration of G-Cloud, G-Cloud 6, now taking applications to be listed as a supplier.

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Mike Bracken, executive director of the Government Digital Service (GDS), which is driving Whitehall’s digital policy, said: "We are developing a whole new way of buying digital. Modern services need to be continually iterated and improved to meet users’ needs.

"And we need a platform that allows us to flexibly commission what we need to deliver those services, drive down cost and drive up value.

"The Digital Marketplace demonstrates that we can build a service that meets these needs and allows government to work with a wide range of innovative suppliers of all sizes."

The fifth iteration of G-Cloud has 1,517 suppliers offering 16,000 listed services, 88% being SMBs, and 53% of public sector spend going to those SMBs, according to Whitehall.

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