The government's G-Cloud is set to be rebuilt and reformed in a bid to increase transparency outside the procurement and purchasing of just cloud based products.
Computerworld UK has learnt that since the G-Cloud team has moved under the control of Mike Bracken within the Government's Digital Service, plans have been developed to rebuild the online purchasing tool.
G-Cloud was developed to not only increase the use of commodity cloud-based products within the public sector, but to also break-down the purchasing of goods with a select few suppliers ('the oligopoly') and increase access for SMEs wanting to sell to government.
It is also understood that a ratings tool is soon to be introduced on the CloudStore - something that has been complained about by buyers since its launch. By being able to rate products, new buyers will have a clearer idea of what solutions and vendors have been a success - much like on eBay.
Sources also told Computerworld UK that the G-Cloud has been used as a bargaining tool to procure "one of the most sensitive IT buys within government", where those purchasing were able to use the transparent pricing on the G-Cloud to drive down costs with traditional vendors. It is understood that the final price was actually lower than that found on the G-Cloud.
There have also been examples of hosting projects that the traditional systems integrators quoted government tens of millions of pounds for, which were then priced at hundreds of thousands of pounds on the G-Cloud.
It is hoped that when rebuilt this transparency in pricing for commodity tools could be extended to products outside of cloud computing, with everything from off-the-shelf computing products to pencils being listed on the framework for the public sector to browse and buy.
The third iteration of the G-Cloud was recently launched alongside a cloud first policy, which mandates that the public cloud should be the first option considered by public sector buyers of IT products and services.
G-Cloud iii now has some 708 companies signed up – over 80 percent of which are SMEs.
Timelines for the expansion of the G-Cloud to products outside cloud computing are not clear, but the CloudStore’s URL was registered as govstore.service.gov.uk, suggesting broader online purchasing tool for the public sector is on the way.
In other news, the Office of Fair Trading has launched a shock investigation into the supply of ICT goods and services to the public sector and is calling for suppliers and purchasers to get in touch and share their experiences.