G-Cloud is a UK Government initiative targeted at moving over 35,000 Public Sector organisations to Cloud, making procurement easy, flexible and swift. Driven by the Cloud First policy, G-Cloud consists of:
The UK is the world's second biggest market for Cloud. G-Cloud is the biggest digital marketplace for Cloud services in Europe - it has as one of it's core principles to make a level playing field for Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and you do not need a place of business in UK or EU. £1,000m ($1.4bn) of Cloud services have now been bought through the marketplace and the current run rate is between £40-£60m ($56-$84m) per month. The marketplace is not over-supplied and there is real opportunity. Qualify the opportunity this way: if you have successfully sold SaaS into Public Sector in your domestic or another territory - there is a strong probability you will be successful on G-Cloud. We assess and report on the suitability of your offering before any commitment is made.
The definition of the customer base of over 35,000 organisations is very broad: Central, regional & local government, all public health services, emergency services and armed services, tax, welfare, schools & universities, right down to the local levels of town libraries and scouts and girl-guides organisations. We can supply the full listing if requested. It is specific to the UK, but it is open and searchable from any country, succeed on G-Cloud and you will be seen to provide successful SaaS services anywhere.
It is an open, fair and transparent marketplace open to all Cloud vendors (including service providers and resellers). It has as one of its founding principles the encouragement of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) over 50% by volume and by value of the accumulated sales have gone to SMEs. You do not have to have a business location in the UK or EU, you just have to be able to supply Cloud services competitively.
(The Digital Marketplace)
IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and professional/technical services associated with them can be listed. The emphasis is on Commercial Off The Shelf ("COTS") Cloud services which are available now and Cloud is defined using the accepted NIST definitions. To be clear: bespoke development is not appropriate for marketing on G-Cloud, but implementation, configuration, data migration, integration, training and support type services are appropriate. We will advise you on what services are going to be compliant and provide input on how to show-case them appropriately for the target market.
(How is it different from other ecommerce sites?)
There is a strict buying process, very unlike an individual buying (say) a calculator from an online marketplace where he might select something on the first search page at a price he is prepared to pay. The Public Sector buyer must define their requirements, define search terms and use the catalogue to create a long list of all suppliers who may have a solution to fit their requirements. This is manipulated to a short-list by use of filters and a review of the documentation on the marketplace against the project requirements. A strict and audited process of selection according to fit, price and capacity to deliver is applied to all the shortlist and results in a call-off contract. For simple commodities, this can happen in minutes. For more complex services there may be some dialogue with vendors - but no negotiation. The contract has got to be for the service described at the price described. The maximum length of contract is 2 years before the purchaser must repeat the process to check there are not better or cheaper solutions.
The process is fair, open, audited and subject to challenge. It is transforming procurement with over 50% of spend now going to SMEs and timescales shortened from months to days, sometimes even minutes.
The objectives are to deliver the transformational benefits of Cloud to the public sector and thereby the citizen. Lowering cost and capital investment, increasing flexibility and efficiency. Public sector procurements are governed by sclerotic regulation that typically involved long timescales and a high cost to participate in the tender process. This created an oligopoly of very large suppliers arguably exploiting this dominant position to the disadvantage of the taxpayer. The innovative development of a "Framework Agreement" and creation of a catalogue has opened the market to SMEs and created a highly competitive and open procurement marketplace for that component of the ICT spectrum that is Cloud computing & services.
It can be said to benefit the citizen. Yes, there are arguments regarding risk in the supply-chain, integration and security, but as our industry evolves, maturity is winning these arguments . Undoubtedly G-Cloud benefits Cloud vendors who have not previously had free access to the vast Public Sector opportunity.
If you have any queries or wish to make an appointment, please get in touch without delay. The timetable for making a successful application to G-Cloud is notoriously short.
Why was G-Cloud created?
In 2013 Institute for Government showed 20 firms accounted for £10bn of supplies to Central Government in the UK. It was a surprise to see 6 of these were IT firms.
Making the market more competitive by lowering the cost of selling, shortening procurement timescales and encouraging SMEs is as important as the transformational benefits of Cloud, if not more so.
"G-Cloud brings a step change in the way government buys IT. It’s quicker, cheaper and more competitive, open to a wider range of companies, including a majority of SMEs, and offers more choice and innovation.
Many government departments already use G-Cloud, but IT costs are still too high. One way we can reduce them is to accelerate the adoption of Cloud across the public sector to maximise its benefits. The Cloud First policy will embed the skills a modern civil service needs to meet the demands of 21st-century digital government and help us get ahead in the global race.
G-Cloud is fundamental to public service and IT reform in creating a friction-free commissioning point for government IT services, and facilitating the move away from dependence on an oligopoly of large suppliers and lock-ins to long contracts. "
Francis Maude Minister for the Cabinet Office