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G-Cloud: Driving Cloud First and service innovation

This article by Sales & Marketing Director John Glover can be found in ‘Public Sector Technology‘, a recent report by Raconteur featured in The Times.

The G-Cloud programme is helping the public sector to rethink the way it buys and uses cloud technology. More than that, it is creating a level playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to better support government innovation – and achieve sustainable long-term growth.

Under a government keen to boost opportunities for SMEs, Cabinet Office figures show that they have generated £92 million in sales over the G-Cloud’s first two years, easily outstripping those by larger firms (£62 million).

Critics claim that the framework is not clear enough for buyers. Others question if government executives fully grasp operational benefits of cloud models. But there are compelling reasons why G-Cloud, and its online CloudStore, will succeed in reshaping the public sector’s use of IT – and inspire smaller firms to look again at supplying Government.

G-Cloud was launched in 2012 with the government and IT industry working together, providing a defined marketplace with common standards and commercial terms. But the G-Cloud programme is the product of an iterative process; it was never going to be perfect from the outset.

G-Cloud gives public buyers access to innovations from accredited SMEs that can help transform public service delivery models. Because the CloudStore is now delivering commodity Cloud products and uniform pricing, it is helping government buyers innovate and maximise value. Cabinet Office G-Cloud Programme Director Tony Singleton has identified a halving of IT prices to government. 

With its open competition and simplified processes, G-Cloud is also changing the game for smaller suppliers that previously found public procurement unattractive. SMEs that once missed out on government deals are gaining access to buyers; small firms are winning 60% of G-Cloud deals. As Stephen Allott, Crown representative for SMEs to the Cabinet Office has stated: “G-Cloud has been the standout success in the [Government] SME programme.” 

G-Cloud’s successive iterations have drawn criticism from large IT firms less able to adjust to a more dynamic marketplace. They have difficulty with the transparent pricing of pay-per-use cloud services while the two-year contract limit is vastly different to the long-term lock-in deals they are used to.

But such complaints fail to recognise the seismic change in government – towards evolutionary and flexible buying behaviour – that G-Cloud is facilitating.

Seismic changes

Public organisations have such a need to engage and collaborate ‒ with colleagues, stakeholders and citizens – that they are further connecting different operations and business systems. They want to bring in exciting, pre-approved IT innovations from small and large suppliers.

With public buyers shy of the huge IT deals of the past, we are seeing pragmatic buying. They like G-Cloud’s ‘easy in, easy out’ deals. Whitehall and town hall IT leads know that the CloudStore’s software trials now let them explore the ‘art of the possible’.

INOVEM has successfully supplied public bodies such as the HSE for over 11 years. Our Kahootz cloud collaboration service can be used by as few as ten users up to a whole organisation. The G-Cloud has already delivered 20 new contracts for Kahootz from organisations as diverse as The Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice, HS2, Derry City Council, and the London Cancer Alliance. With an average access fee for our pan-Government security-accredited G-Cloud service under £3/user/month, Cloud collaboration is now becoming part of wider public sector IT programmes.

Our customers East Hampshire District Council and Havant Borough Council told us: “G-Cloud makes ICT procurement simpler, faster and cheaper. The flexibility of the call-off framework also makes it very easy to expand licenses as the need to support services arises.”

G-Cloud is delivering Digital by Default and exciting public service developments.  The real surprise is how simple it is to get started on this crucial innovation programme.

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