Chartering the development of the G-Cloud
by Rupert Hodgson, sourcingfocus.com
The government’s G-Cloud is growing, increasing in both size and scope after the success of the first framework rollout. The second framework of the G-Cloud, designed to provide the public sector with the benefits of cloud sourcing was announced last week, coming on the back of the release of the second iteration of the Cloudstore.
The G-Cloud was designed to reduce criticism of the public sector, which was widely seen to be failing in offering cost effective contracts for tenancy, combined with a view that big business won out against SMEs even in cases where they had not presented the best proposal.
The first framework, released in February, saw 257 suppliers sign to the service offering around 1,700 services to the public sector with over 50 percent of the suppliers being SMEs.
The G-Cloud model is one of constant re-releases in order to rapidly update the framework and ensure that the procurement service keeps up-to-date with changes in technology, while providing a rapidly updating service.
Whitehall has already released examples of where according to the government the G-Cloud has been successful. The NHS Central Southern Commissioning Support Services (CSS) employed the services of INOVEM Collaborate software in order to increase communications and collaboration. Natural England (NE)has also bought an e-tendering SaaS product from supplier Bravo Solutions and gave positive feedback regarding the simplicity of buying services via the cloud.
Michael Bateman, G-Cloud office support and ‘personal shopper’, said in regards to NE: “When we discussed using G-Cloud they were ‘very pleased with the experience’ and felt ‘it’s a fantastic framework, very easy to use’.”
IMGROUP, a member of the G-Cloud supplier community, have seen an increased demand on the services they provide via the G-Cloud. Jeremy Neal, Head of Online Services at IMGROUP, when interviewed by Sourcingfocus.com, commented that he expects the service “to become a central point for public sector procurement, augmenting and in some cases replacing legacy buying frameworks. The public sector now has the means to leverage the benefits of cloud computing, taking advantage of the greater agility and breadth of choice offered by the G-Cloud market”.
Jeremy Neal anticipated that the G-Cloud would become “the new normal” in IT services and that users have “yet to see the tipping point that delivers this market reality, but it will happen. The prevailing economic climate presents the same clear business case for the cloud in every sector”.
Business undertaken through the Cloud is increasing however users still want to see proof of purchase before contracts are undertaken through the service. The G-Cloud has faced challenges from both security concerns and in persuading departments from using the service efficiently.The G-Cloud represents a new service with issues still existing that require refinement.
The G-Cloud is expected to cost £4.93 million including the CloudStore, with expected savings to amount to £340 according to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. The actual cost of the G-Cloud ranks as a very inexpensive project when compared to past public sector IT contracts. While still early days the G-Cloud seems to be experiencing success in offering multiple vendors in an open market through an intuitive service.