G-Cloud 4 framework opens doors to cloud vendors

G-Cloud 4 framework opens doors to cloud vendors

Summary: Cloud companies need to register now if they want their slice of business done through the UK government's CloudStore.

TOPICS: Cloud, Government UK

The UK government has laid the foundations for the next round of public sector cloud procurement with a call for suppliers to join G-Cloud 4, the fourth iteration of its cloud purchasing framework.

Cloud vendors hoping for a cut of the government's small but growing spend on cloud services are being invited to apply now for a place on the fourth cloud framework.

Applicants will be notified about the outcome of their submissions in mid-October and agreements should commence from November, according the G-Cloud 4 (G4) tender timetable.

G4 introduces two new systems for tender submissions to streamline compliance and the provision of documentation during procurement.

The first, the Government Procurement Service eSourcing suite, will help vendors respond to mandatory questions to meet procurement regulations while the second, the Government Digital Service Service Submission Portal, now includes a 'mandatory upload' to avoid suppliers failing compliance for non-submission of documents.

The G4 release also coincides with the sunset on the previous framework G-Cloud II, which expires on 27 October. G-Cloud II suppliers need to apply to G4 to stay in the program while G-Cloud III remains in place until May 2014 but vendors on this which want to add new services need to apply under G4.

The government's G-Cloud initiative launched in February 2012 and attempts to make it easier for public sector agencies to purchase commodity cloud software and services through the CloudStore.

The previous iteration, G-Cloud III, released in January, introduced new service categories including identity services, service integration and management, software support and business process management. Under the framework, there were 459 suppliers selling their wares through the CloudStore, but sales through the government's online marketplace have been limited.

Topics: Cloud, Government UK

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • G-Cloud 4 framework opens doors to cloud vendors

    The government recently admitted that G-Cloud has ‘more to do’ to convince users of its value and it seems unlikely that the launch of the latest version G-Cloud 4 will make any significant difference.

    Even after major deals were signed off in April 2013, the annual purchases up until this point, from the G-Cloud CloudStore totalled just £22 million – a tiny proportion of overall UK government IT spending, estimated at around £16 billion per year.

    There are clearly many challenges to overcome before the G-Cloud can be considered a success. The key problem remains: how can change be managed effectively? How can government, and the wider public sector, whose procurement process often ends up stalled by red tape, add, amend or retire services from the catalogue quickly and efficiently. Public sector pay restraints are making this elusive ‘flexibility for change’ even harder to achieve. After all, this is a significant transformational programme that requires strong organisational management skills to ensure benefits are realised.

    There are also issues around cultural readiness. Government may have created the CloudStore catalogue for public sector businesses to buy from, but are government agencies prepared for this? The limited spending so far suggests they are not and the fact that some suppliers claim that they have been on the framework since launch without ever directly winning a contract through it endorses that view.

    Most government agencies are less culturally advanced than businesses in the private sector – and many users are not ready for the kind of transformation that moving to the cloud may bring to interaction with IT systems and services not least regarding the impact on data security. Indeed, the way G-Cloud iscurrently configured, it is more likely to lead to agencies focusing on these concerns rather than the opportunity to achieve operational efficiencies and financial savings.

    Andrew Carr, CEO Bull UK & Ireland @acarr_bull
    Andrew Carr, CEO Bull UK & Ireland