G-Cloud Celebrates Birthday But ‘Needs Government To Change Its Ways’

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Director of the programme admits G-Cloud success relies on a shift in government attitude

The G-Cloud is celebrating its first official birthday today, but the programme director and one prominent supplier believe the government needs to change for the project to be truly successful.

The procurement framework, which opened up pay-as-you-go purchasing of IT services, was launched in February last year and has seen two different frameworks go live, whilst the third is due to arrive soon.

Candles out for G-Cloud

Cloud computing © Sashkin Shutterstock 2012Only £6 million worth of deals have been signed off over the G-Cloud, leading some to wonder whether the government has really embraced this new model, however. The fear is that the traditional suppliers are continuing to get most IT contracts across Whitehall and the various government departments, even though the G-Cloud was supposed to bring small to medium-sized vendors into the fold.

Three-quarters of suppliers are SMBs, according to the G-Cloud chiefs in the Cabinet Office. They said today that  £4.6 million has been with SMBs.

G-Cloud programme director Denise McDonagh  admitted a shift in mind-set was needed for the project to be truly successful. “The move to purchasing IT services as a commodity requires a culture shift for the public sector that won’t happen overnight,” McDonagh said, in a statement.

“After only a year, though, most big government departments have bought services from the Cloud, and there is significant buy-in from local government.”

Alastair Mitchell, CEO and co-founder of Huddle, which has won more contracts than any other supplier over the framework, said “we need to get the public sector to purchase through the CloudStore”.

“It’s essential we adopt a Cloud First policy, pushing cloud from the top down. Old habits die hard but we need a shift in the approach to buying IT services, led by the Government Procurement Service,” he said, in comments sent to UK media.

“Finally, it’s vital that the government doesn’t lose sight of its original goals and stays focused on highly specialised services. We don’t want to see the framework overrun with big tech vendors that undermine the G-Cloud values because they don’t offer the same value for money or innovation.”

TechWeekEurope recently found Amazon and Google were struggling to get on the G-Cloud framework, even though they had expressed their interest.

The third iteration of the G-Cloud’s front-facing procurement platform, CloudStore 3, is expected to go live in the spring.

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