With G-Cloud 13 launching later this year, Will Huggins, CEO of Zoocha, takes a look back at the ten years since the first G-Cloud service

Cloud computing is now so widely used that it has become the ‘new normal’, with ‘on premises’ infrastruc- ture largely consigned to history – at least for many public sector digital services. However, this is really quite a recent shift and one that was facilitated in no small part by the transformation in Cloud service procurement via The Government Digital Marketplace (originally created as CloudStore).

This transformation began in earnest in 2012 with the launch of G-Cloud, enabling public sector organisations to more easily adopt a ‘Cloud first’ approach to IT. Now, with the launch of G-Cloud 13, Zoocha looks over their ten years of success in digital transformation.

SME access to public sector contracts

One of the greatest impacts of G-Cloud has been to provide a mechanism for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to offer their services to public sector organisations. This is not only transformational for those businesses, but creates a vastly greater choice for buyers to achieve the best value for money, without increasing procurement bureaucracy.

By May 2013, a little over a year after launch, there were over 700 suppliers on the framework, the vast majority of which were SMEs. Today, SMEs account for over 90% of all suppliers listed on the G-Cloud framework.

Simplifying Cloud service procurement

Another key to the success of G-Cloud is the clear structure of the services offered. Since G-Cloud 9, services have been classified into three lots:
• Lot 1: Cloud Hosting (IaaS) and (PaaS): Cloud platform or infrastruc- ture services that can help buyers to deploy, manage and run software as well as provision and use processing, storage or networking resources.
• Lot 2: Cloud Software (SaaS): Appli- cations that are typically accessed over a public or private network, for example, the internet and hosted in the Cloud.
• Lot 3: Cloud Support: Services that support buyers to implement and maintain their Cloud systems.

This is designed to provide buyers with an easier way to identify and procure solutions and service providers, without the need for an intensive and expensive tendering process. The process for buyers is simple:

• Define their requirements.
• Search on the digital marketplace using keywords relating to your requirements.
• Save and export your search results both ease the audit trail.
• Evaluate the services in the search results and shortlist the ones that meet your requirements and budget.
• Ask further clarification questions of the suppliers in your shortlist.
• Decide on the preferred supplier and award the contract.

Similarly, for suppliers, both the process for listing your services on G-Cloud and the direct award procurement process described above, have dramatically simplified the task of selling to public sector organisations and enabled them to compete against larger businesses on a level playing field.

What is new with G-Cloud 13?

In addition to Lots 1, 2 and 3, G-Cloud 13 includes a new fourth Lot. Whilst Lots 1-3 services will continue to be offered via the Digital Marketplace for buyers to search, shortlist and direct award contracts, Lot 4 will be separate, with procurement following a bidding process rather than service listing and direct award.

Lot 4 is designed to enable buyers to source providers who can implement larger-scale transition projects, from early business analysis through to migration, implementation and legacy systems integration.

The future of G-Cloud

In the last decade, almost £12 billion worth of Cloud services have been procured through the framework with 39% of that spend awarded to SMEs. In terms of breakdown, Cloud Support has overwhelmingly been the most successful Lot on the framework, with £6.7 billion spent since 2013 and accounting for 65% of total framework spend, with Cloud Software contributing 23% of spend and Cloud Hosting contributing 12%.

Perhaps more tellingly, the breakdown of spend by sector (i.e. type of public sector organisation) highlights that whilst G-Cloud has been successful in attracting central government buyers, accounting for 78% of framework spend, adoption by local government buyers has yet to gather pace, accounting for only 6% of spend. This means there are a huge number of organisations who are yet to access the benefits of the framework and represents one of the key future growth opportunities for G-Cloud and the suppliers listed on it.

G-Cloud has come a long way since its inception, driving transformational change in government technology procurement and in the ability for SMEs to access government contracts. We expect this trend to continue as the wider landscape of public sector organisations, including local government and health service providers, realise the benefits of using the framework for Cloud service procurement.

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