Comparing cloud collaboration software on the G-Cloud CloudStore


The G-Cloud procurement framework allows the UK public sector to buy cloud services through an online marketplace called the Digital Marketplace following recent improvements in the tender submission rules all vendors are now compelled to provide a separate Pricing Document so it’s now much easier for buyers – and sellers – to evaluate and compare different vendors’ pricing models.

Total price transparency – a much needed change!

Whether deliberately, or accidentally, certain G-Cloud vendors opted to provide just a single “Price for most common configuration” in their earlier submissions and then a further option to Call for Pricing. By hiding the true nature of the discounting structures such deal-making was in direct contravention of the G-Cloud Framework Agreement clause, which clearly states:  “The pricing of Call-Off Agreements must be based on the prices stated in the Supplier’s Catalogue Entry.”

To ensure all public bodies are offered the same service, at the same price and on the same terms and conditions, G-Cloud vendors are now required to make their pricing models clear and concise, unambiguously describing any volume and market sector discounts. From inspection of other cloud collaboration vendor submissions on the CloudStore, although still not perfect, it’s now a lot easier for anyone to compare the collaboration software services from different suppliers.

Price – your initial reference point for value for money

As a vendor we have found dealing with public sector buyers via the G-Cloud extremely straight-forward and less stressful for all concerned in the procurement exercise.  There’s no more sealed bids, no more guessing what prices our competition will offer and no more special deals!

Although price is not the only factor, a key part of our success on the G-Cloud has been the great value for money we offer with our very competitive per-user licensing model, both for collaboration across a project or a large enterprise.

To make it easy to get into Kahootz, our G-Cloud pricing model has been designed to scale and offer support to projects with as little as 10 team members. From over a decade of providing cloud collaboration services to the public sector, we understand that in addition to the core project management team there is normally a requirement to consult and inform other, less active, internal and external stakeholders. Our aggressive volume discounting reflects this operational need and avoids confusing, multi-tier pricing models or ‘View Only’ licence options which artificially put barriers in the way of essential stakeholder consultation and engagement opportunities.

As one of the few vendors that have been pan-government accredited to provide a secure IL2 collaboration service, it’s clear from the graph above that Kahootz is extremely competitively priced, even when compared to services that just offer file sharing or are not yet accredited.

In our last G-Cloud framework submission we added an option to purchase a Kahootz Enterprise license via the CloudStore. Functionally there is little difference to our standard Kahootz offering, but we include additional Enterprise-level facilities such as: increased default cloud storage; deeper system administration control and site customisation; and an extremely frugal pay-as-you-use payment option.

Our Enterprise licensing model recognises that many of our clients use Kahootz to engage and work with external stakeholders, which is why the licensing model is designed to scale cost-effectively to support the ‘Extended Enterprise’.  With the recent increase in public sector shared service ICT infrastructures, supporting collaborative partnership networks becomes a key consideration for central and local government organisations looking to save money. The graph above clearly identifies the true cost of success for those organisations worried about service expansion and future budget commitments.

 

Saving money and achieving more for less

The majority of the industry press articles around the G-Cloud are about the sales totals. It’s great to see them growing month-on-month, but they totally miss the point of the G-Cloud initiative which is to increase competition and save money. Ironically, if Kahootz adopted the licensing models of our competitors we would be more newsworthy as we would have some big contract values to add to those monthly sales totals.

To date, we have sold in excess of 5,500 Kahootz IL2 user licenses via the G-Cloud. At an average cost of only £2.84/user/month I calculate that this is a 75% saving on the comparative cost of both Huddle (average £11.59/user/month) and Box (£11/user/month) user licenses. When you also factor in that, unlike these other applications, Kahootz offers much more than simple business file sharing by providing a wealth of collaborative features, such as blogs, questionnaires, custom online databases, document consultation and report writing – it’s clear that our growing number of G-Cloud clients are getting more for less.  So it’s no surprise that Kahootz is seen as a viable Huddle alternative by both the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Justice.

 

Comparing apples and oranges

Of course, price is not the only consideration because each vendor’s service is unique.  In order to do a full analysis, buyers are required to complete a MEAT (Most Economically Advantageous Tender) assessment for each of their short-listed CloudStore services which considers:

  • Whole life cost: cost-effectiveness; price and running costs
  • Technical merit & functional fit: coverage, network capacity and performance as specified in relevant service levels
  • After-sales service management: help desk, account management function and assurance of supply of a range of devices and good value accessories
  • Non-functional characteristics

Against these criteria, Kahootz scores highly across the board because:

  • It’s an inexpensive, secure cloud collaboration service that’s easy to use and quick to deploy
  • It provides feature-rich online collaboration workspaces that can be tailored by end-users to support a wide range of internal and external stakeholder projects at no additional cost
  • We have an exemplary track record built over 11 years of proven reliability and excellent customer service
  • We focus on the things that matter to our public sector clients, such as WAI-AA compliance (web accessibility for all users, including those with disabilities) and independent security accreditation

Finally…

With an increasing number of cloud solutions being listed on the G-Cloud CloudStore it is clear that competition in the cloud will only get tougher as this innovative public sector marketplace develops. With price transparency and short-term contracts as the norm, no-one can afford to be complacent – which is why the Kahootz team are working even harder than ever to provide our clients with great value for money.

All user licensing comparisons were calculated using the prices published on the UK G-Cloud CloudStore at the time of writing (18th February 2014).

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