Tag: G Cloud

Government confirms G-Cloud 10 delay

Downing_Street-Whitehall_-_geograph.org.uk_-_862190Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has extended the G-Cloud 9 framework until May 2019.

It is saying that G-Cloud 9 is being extended past its May 2018 expiry date as G-10 stalled.

In a message sent to suppliers today, CCS confirmed that G-Cloud 9 will be extended for a period of “up to 12 months”, with the expiry date now set for “on or before” 21 May 2019.

The note said: “The decision to extend G-Cloud has not been taken lightly. It will allow time for CCS and GDS to deliver a revolutionary transformation to the platform to meet user needs – for suppliers and buyers both central government and wider public sector.

“Previously, we have undertaken continuous and regular refreshes for each of the individual agreements. However, this hasn’t always given us adequate time for the Digital Marketplace to be developed beyond simply the refresh of these agreements, to meet user needs.

“More time is now needed to transform the platform and make it scalable and more flexible, enabling more framework services and improved customer and supplier functionality based on what user needs have identified.”

That’s from The government’s Digital Future Twitter page, which added that G-Cloud 9 had been extended to give time to enable wider functionality improvements.

Along with G-Cloud, the Digital Outcomes and Specialist 2 framework, and Cyber Securities Services 2 framework have also been extended until 2019.

The move will allow the 70 percent of suppliers who are yet to make a sale on G-Cloud 9 a bit longer.

Large suppliers focusing on G-Cloud now

lightning-cloudWhile it was supposed to encourage small suppliers to bid for government contracts, bigger suppliers still managed to snaffle more than half of the G-Cloud contracts.

Large suppliers have taken 53 percent of the £2.4 billion spending all spending through G-Cloud and account for the lion’s share of spend through G-Cloud, according to figures from Crown Commercial Service (CCS) released today.

This is a significant jump on the 44 percent of spend large suppliers accounted for when CCS released data in January, when the overall sales figure stood at £1.7 billion.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson suggested that at least some of the difference could be explained by the fact that some SME suppliers on G-Cloud were reclassified following their expansion.

“We have improved the way we manage our data and we know that a number of suppliers have grown beyond SME status over the reporting period”, the spokesman said.

“Today we published figures that show SMEs have delivered over £1.2 billion of cloud and digital services for government and the public sector since 2012. This means that almost half of digital spend, or £1.39 in every £3, is going to SMEs – giving a major boost to the technology SME sector.”

It is also possible that larger suppliers are now beginning to take the government’s frameworks more seriously.
Larger suppliers had avoided the frameworks because they were public and that would mean showing their price lists to the public domain.

Government stuffs up G-Cloud figures

Epic_FailThere was a sharp intake of breath as the government announced that its  G-Cloud sales figures had fallen by half and the feeling was that Brexit was to blame.

Now government has since admitted it stuffed up the numbers and there is nothing to worry about.

The figures were important because they show the success of a scheme which was supposed to give IT contracts to smaller suppliers rather than a single large supplier which might have a powerful lobby group.

The government publishes G-Cloud figures periodically, and the most recent data up to October, published before Christmas, shows that in that month, spending through the framework was just £38 million  – down 22 per cent annually, down 45 per cent on a monthly basis, and far below the average monthly spend on the framework for 2016 (January to October) of £59.7 million.

In fact the framework’s spending has not been this low since May 2015. However it is expected that the shortfall to be made up in the coming months as departments use their budgets before they expire.

The Cabinet Office confirmed that the data for October does not reflect any Brexit-related slowdown, but was in fact an administrative error. The correct data is expected to be uploaded shortly.

Government procurement system is just the old system in drag

_68879492_3164103The UK government’s new procurement process, G-Cloud, is failing to cut through enough red tape to be of any use at all.

The government hit on the idea of G-Cloud to encourage small vendors to pitch against the larger IT companies by using an online “App Store”.

But Memset founder Kate Craig-Wood – who became involved in 2009 – said the plan is falling short.

Writing in her bog she said: “We passionately believed in the dream of G-Cloud and kept doing so despite the goalposts being repeatedly moved, the marketplace continuing not to function properly and buyers continuing to behave in the same old ways.”

Since 2011, the G-Cloud has totalled more than £1 billion in sales, which is more than enough to get the government spinners claiming it is a success.  But it would appear that some

However, the Infrastructure-as-a-service sector in which Craig-Wood operates has been tricky than other areas of the framework, which don’t need so much supplier investment.

Memset has had to make huge investments to job through the government’s hoops on security. It has had to invest £2 million on a high-security data centre.

But if you invest you should get more money back right?  Memset only saw  a return of £100,000 per year and no new business since 2013.

Now it is getting too late for small business.  Microsoft and Amazon cloud services will knock all the small providers out of the market because they can produce economies of scale. The government is not really interested in propping up the small businesses, it wants to reduce the costs. It also is not moving much stuff to the cloud as it originally thought.

Craig-Wood  thinks that the old procurement practices are still at work and this requires armies of sales teams to tackle.  This was exactly the sort of thing that G-Cloud was supposed to bring to an end.

 

Suppliers supporting G-Cloud 7

cloudThe number of suppliers using the G-Cloud 7 has jumped 11 percent even though some are concerned that it will help them win business.

G-Cloud 7 went live this week, and according to the award notice, the number of suppliers on the scheme reached 1,615, up 11 per cent on the 1,453 which were accredited on G-Cloud 6.

For those who came in late, the UK Government G-Cloud is an initiative targeted at easing procurement by government departments for cloud systems. The G-Cloud consists of is a series of framework agreements with suppliers, from which public sector organisations can buy services without needing to run a full tender or competition.

It started in 2012 and by May 2013 there were over 700 suppliers—over 80% of which were small and medium enterprises.

As you would expect, G-Cloud 7 has the usual suspects such as SCC, Computacenter, Kelway, Memset, Agilisys, Skyscape and Liberata.

Initially there were some problems after suppliers moaned about the framework placing restrictions on how much they can scale up their services, but it looked like the expected boycott never happened.

This is probably because filling in the paperwork for a G-Cloud application takes months and once you started you might as well finish.

But the strange thing about the framework is that few will make much dosh on it unless their sales teams are entirely focused on G-Cloud business.

OFT launches public IT investigation

poundsThe Office of Fair Trading has just launched an investigation to scrutinise government IT procurement and the companies that supply it.

The top IT software and service providers earn roughly £10.4 billion a year through public sector contracting. That said, public IT projects are known for their disastrous implementation and frequent high profile bungles. Top providers often lock the public sector into excessively long contracts which must be seen to the end, and in some cases drag on even longer.

This is not a phenomenon specific to the UK. The public sector often finds itself duped into taking on bloated contracts that arguably provide little value for money, and serve more as a cash-cow for funnelling public money into private pockets without noticeable gains or efficiencies to the public.

The OFT announced that it wants to ensure market competition is up to scratch so that all firms can, at least, bid for projects without contracts automatically going to the biggest players.

“Healthy competition in any market drives down costs, drives up efficiency and promotes innovation,” an OFT statement read. “While a lack of competition can hinder productivity and, in turn, economic growth”.

G-cloud, a government project to open up procurement away from the the IT giants and offer SMEs a fighting chance, has been fairly successful but elsewhere the big hitters still dominate.

Phil Dawson, CEO of Skyscape Cloud Services, offered his comments on the investigation. “For far too long, IT giants and incumbent suppliers have been allowed to reign supreme,” Dawson said. “It is precisely this dominance that has created a stagnant public sector market, which is exactly what the G-cloud programme was established to tackle”.

“Through G-Cloud, public sector organisations are able to avoid inflexible contracts and the locked-in clauses which have been all too common with some of the big incumbent providers,” Dawson said.

The OFT will be examining whether there are barriers stopping smaller businesses from competing, as well as the difficulties associated in the public sector for switching suppliers.

This review aims to look specifically at if market supply is hampering competition rather than a general overview of public IT.

An approach oriented along the lines of G-Cloud would certainly be welcomed by British SMEs, as these companies can offer services that do not lean as heavily on the public purse.

To push further still, perhaps it is worth exploring open source products and services as other flexible, and potentially far cheaper, options.

A reorientation in public IT towards smaller firms, however, could easily upset top corporate lobbyists of the biggest businesses. A push towards open source alternatives would agitate even more.

Oracle’s new G Cloud data centre is for Oracle

consultoracleOracle’s claims that it will be opening a data centre to support the UK government’s G Cloud service for the public sector are perfectly true, but appear to be designed as a boon to Oracle rather than the UK as a whole.

While G Cloud could, of course, always do with more power, an Oracle spokesperson confirmed to ChannelEye that the data centre will primarily be for existing or potential Oracle partners.

“Oracle will make Platform as a Service available to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs),” the spokesperson said. “Oracle’s PaaS provides Oracle Database and Java as a service, hence will be available to ISVs who run on this Oracle platform”.

“These ISVs will likely be existing Oracle partners, but we of course welcome new partners to join the Oracle Partner Network,” the spokesperson added. “The ISVs themselves need to have their cloud services accepted onto the CloudStore catalogue”.

Although presented as a helpful boost to the British economy, the plan appears to be fully Oracle’s with a light dab of spin.

“This investment is funded solely by Oracle,” the spokesperson said, “justified through our internal business case criteria and assessment of market opportunity, and is being made in advance of any contracts or orders from government”.