Maximising the opportunities presented by G-Cloud will require ministers to target wider aspects of the market for products and services over the coming years, a sector expert has warned.
Nicky Stewart, commercial director at Skyscape Cloud Services, said that despite the framework agreement’s success in driving SME access to the public-sector ICT market, the new Conservative majority government needed to prioritise its further development.
Stewart said in the years to 2020 public-sector contracts worth £6bn would be coming to an end, providing new opportunities for using G-Cloud to find successor agreements if a level playing field could be created.
“A refocused effort towards the wider but equally important aspects of the marketplace should be a top priority in the next five years in order to optimise the G-Cloud opportunity,” she said.
“There needs to be a continued focus on desegregating large contracts, and ensuring that all digital and ICT requirements are, where feasible, based on cloud services sourced from the open, transparent and vendor-diverse G-Cloud marketplace.
“The conversation about G-Cloud needs to be extended, to encompass all who are entitled to buy from it, but also to cover the more fundamental aspects of cloud computing in government.
“Once G-Cloud is seen as a solution to problems, and its benefits really understood, uptake will accelerate in the wider public sector.”
Stewart said that one area for G-Cloud’s development was improving the visibility of “downstream opportunities” for new-entrant suppliers and SMEs who lacked the extensive networks of larger, more-established providers.
“In this respect, G-Cloud is much less transparent than conventional procurements, where pre-tender market engagements and prior-information notices are now commonplace,” she said.
In an opinion piece for PublicTecnology.net, Stewart also said ministers and the Government Digital Service would face choices about how strictly to enforce the compliancy of products and services offered with G-Cloud‘s lot definitions.
The article can be read in full here.