Whether you work in the public or the private sector, there are certain innovations taking place within the IT industry that can be beneficial for all to be made aware of. In the UK, one such development in the world of cloud computing of the last decade is G-Cloud, or Government Cloud, and many organisations are impacted in some way. For the uninitiated, all can be explained by one of many London-based IT consultancies that can offer IT solutions for streamlining and developing practices that will improve productivity, efficiency and take things forward.
G-Cloud is an government initiative launched in 2012 to make easier the procurement of cloud services for public sector organisations in the UK, and to promote the government adoption of cloud computing. The G-Cloud framework is a series of agreements with suppliers of cloud services. When G-Cloud 10 launched in 2018 there were a total of 3,505 suppliers, most of which were private firms, and G-Cloud 11 is set to be up and running in July 2019.
G-Cloud uses Digital Marketplace as its platform for users to find services, and the cloud services are divided into hosting, such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software services, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, and cloud support, including training and ongoing support.
For the various government organisations working in various fields, the G-Cloud and Digital Marketplace were created to make a highly technical service more accessible and easier to implement. However, the installation and management of cloud technology will still – in most cases – require external assistance from experts.
Many users of G-Cloud have listed speed as the main benefit of using the services. These include Nick Halliday from the National Audit Office, who said making use of G-Cloud avoided ‘a large procurement exercise saved us a lot of time’.
In addition to the time and resources saved, many organisations found that using the government cloud meant more competitive prices could be found. For some, this can be attributed to the fact that suppliers are required to price their services on Digital Marketplace, and will feel the need to do so competitively. Andrew McHattie, from Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, said that using G-Cloud meant that they were able to save on 10% of their estimated costs.
For cloud services providers, there are a number of reasons cloud companies will benefit from becoming a supplier listed on G-Cloud. As of 2018, public sector buyers had spent £2.8 billion through G-Cloud, and this has been increasing every year since its inception. With a global cloud industry that’s expanding at an astonishing rate, there’s no reason for this growth to abate.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) account for 90% of suppliers on G-Cloud, while cloud giants such as as Amazon and Google can also be found on Digital Marketplace. All companies are listed democratically on the platform with all services and prices given, so the big players have no unfair advantage. All providers have an equal chance through the bidding process, so G-Cloud offers opportunities for smaller enterprises that aren’t usually possible.
The government accreditation shows your business has passed government standards and you have passed with the G-Cloud seal of approval. This will help to improve business reputation, brand recognition and trustworthiness for potential clients.
For those already providing services to the public sector, the G-Cloud accreditation will surely improve sales, while those enterprises that have yet to work with government bodies can increase exposure and find a whole new market from which to win business. It will also help organisations become more well rounded by serving clients in both the public and private sectors.
A government accreditation shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to marketing and communications, as this is something to be added to your list of credentials and potentially make a big difference in landing new clients – even those that are not G-Cloud users.
The usual procurement processes can be disorganised and inefficient, with additional stages that are slow and unnecessary. With G-Cloud, the whole process is standardised so time can be saved, contacts can be signed quickly and work can begin. In the cases that filtered searches deliver a single supplier, a direct contract can be awarded instantly.
For those that offer one of the three services offered on G-Cloud – cloud hosting, software, or support, all are able to apply though the digital marketplace. The application process has been simplified to make it accessible to companies of all sizes. Companies also do not need to be based in the UK to become G-Cloud providers.
All-in-all, the G-Cloud initiative offers a number of different opportunities for government bodies and private enterprises alike, and has had a considerable impact on the cloud industry in the UK. It may come as a surprise that a government can be such a large influence in an industry that is largely corporate, but the programme has served to democratise and create opportunities for SMEs, as well as providing a fairer and more competitive marketplace.