The government’s G-Cloud project is celebrating its one year anniversary this week, having undergone many changes and attracted a lot of attention from both the public and private sector.
Launched in Febrary last year, the G-Cloud is the government’s first attempt at making it easier for the public sector to buy commoditised IT products from a pre-approved list of vendors via a constantly changing framework.
“In just 12 months, G-Cloud has shown itself to be a model for efficient public sector IT procurement, establishing a dynamic marketplace for cloud-based IT services. We have simplified the procurement process through G-Cloud to make it more accessible to a wider range of companies, leading to more choice, better value for the taxpayer and growth for the economy. Suppliers are asked what they can offer government, rather than being issued with complicated specifications that stifle innovation.
“This is the way we want government IT to be – simpler, quicker, cheaper and focused on matching solutions to business requirements, reducing waste and cutting costs," said Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.
The government recently launched the third round of G-Cloud procurement, where it hopes to add to the growing list of suppliers (currently 458), and increase on the over £6 million already spent in the public sector.
Alastair Mitchell, CEO and co-founder of Huddle, a company that has been perceived as one of the G-Cloud’s biggest success stories after it secured a string of contracts through the framework, applauded the government’s attempts to break away from the traditional monolithic IT contracts that were being handed to a select few vendors.
“There’s no doubt that the G-Cloud launch signified a new era in government technology procurement. It was truly ground-breaking, for the first time public sector organisations had access to pre-approved and ready to use IT services, freeing them from long contracts for legacy systems with tech goliaths,” said Mitchell.
“Growing UK businesses finally had a chance to secure government contracts and by opening up the playing field to smaller organisations, there’s a real opportunity to drive innovation.”
However, Mitchell did warn that the government shouldn’t become too complacent, as he believes there is still room for improvement.
“The launch was just the first hurdle, before we can celebrate its on-going success we need to get the public sector to purchase through the CloudStore. It’s essential we adopt a Cloud First policy, pushing cloud from the top down,” he said.
“Old habits die hard but we need a shift in the approach to buying IT services, led by the Government Procurement Service. Finally, it’s vital that the Government doesn’t lose sight of its original goals and stays focused on highly specialised services.”
He added: “We don’t want to see the Framework overrun with big tech vendors that undermine the G-Cloud values because they don’t offer the same value for money or innovation.”
The G-Cloud has faced a number of criticisms over the past year, with some claiming that the framework is becoming a ‘ghetto for SMES’ given the absence of cloud giants Amazon and Google. It has also been said that government procurement teams, and vendor sales teams, are actively working against the framework, given the direct impact on their job roles.
For a full analysis on the progress of the G-Cloud framework, click here.