Chris Chant, Director of the government’s G-Cloud programme, has confirmed to Computerworld UK that after a week of being open to the public sector, no services have yet been bought via the CloudStore.
Version 1.0 of the CloudStore opened last week and provides an online portal for the public sector to choose from over 1,700 cloud services provided by 257 suppliers, over half of which are SMEs.
Chant spoke to Computerworld UK this week and said that although no services had been purchased yet, a lot of interest has been generated.
“Have any organisations bought services off the CloudStore yet? No. But there are companies reporting all over the place that they are getting approached by public sector organisations as a result of seeing stuff on there, so it will happen,” said Chant.
“We have got estimated savings for next year of £20m, and due to the nature of the services, if someone signed a Software-as-a-Service solution tomorrow, I don’t see why in a month’s time people couldn’t be using that,” he added.
“It’s not like it takes time to fire up some of these services, and I expect we will soon see people using them”.
Georgina O’Toole, director at analyst firm Tech Market View, admits that it is probably a bit soon for services to have been sold, but also suggests that SME suppliers that have been signed into the framework don’t expect much business from the CloudStore.
“It’s probably still early days to be honest. Having said that, a few people I have spoken to about it, a few of the SMEs for example, don’t seem hugely confident about the level of business they will get through it,” said O’Toole.
“One comment someone put to me was that they certainly haven’t put any revenue forecasts against it. I think it’s just from their previous experience of frameworks,” she added.
Chant, however, states that the CloudStore is a brilliant opportunity for SMEs to secure public sector contracts, where previously it had been too expensive for some to successfully navigate the tender process.
He believes the transparency in pricing on the site will highlight to public sector organisations the disparity between what large system integrators (SIs) charge and what SMEs are able to offer.
“Would I be worried if I were one of the large SIs in the framework? I’d be terrified,” said Chant.
“If you take the time to look through the CloudStore, some of the pricing is massively different. There are compute services on there that we know people are paying over £2000 a month for, where an SME is offering a similar service in the framework for under £200,” he added.
“It seems to me that if I was in their position I’d be a bit concerned”.
It was also reported today that a power outage on Microsoft Azure, the platform that Cloudstore is hosted on, suffered an outage and has caused the CloudStore site to go down for many hours. Meanwhile, Chant also confirmed this week that the next iteration of the CloudStore will be based on open source software.