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Monday, 02 February 2015 17:26

G-Cloud 6 goes live with more suppliers and services

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G-Cloud 6 has gone live and claims to offer better opportunities for businesses to put their services in front of the public sector but the framework application still has its drawbacks, and what will G-Cloud 7 offer?

The long awaited G-Cloud 6 framework has gone live on the Government’s Digital Marketplace (previously CloudStore) and according to the Government and many of the suppliers on G-Cloud it’s a success.

For those who don’t know the Digital Marketplace offers the ability to match businesses with Iaas, Saas, Paas and specialist cloud services with public sector businesses, and while it’s been successful - £400 million worth of contracts made on the marketplace since launch - there are still areas where it’s been lacking namely the G-Cloud Framework process to join the marketplace.

The advantage for a business using G-cloud is the basic terms of use have already been agreed between the government and suppliers, which means public sector organisations can buy services without running a full tender process. However one criticism is the constant need to (re)apply through the G-Cloud Framework to continue the businesses place within the Digital Marketplace.

A new version of the G-Cloud framework is released about every 6 months, with each version of the framework running for 12 months so frameworks will overlap – G-Cloud 4 has just gone offline and G-Cloud 5 has six months more to run.

G-Cloud 6 was supposed to fix some of the issues with signing up, and it certainly seems to be working. The new framework G-Cloud 6 has more services and suppliers than its predecessor with 1,453 suppliers - up by over 15% on G-Cloud 5 applications - and 10,827 new services added to the Digital Marketplace.

G-Cloud 6 has also attracted a swathe of new suppliers, with 516 new to the framework. This brings the total number of suppliers on the Digital Marketplace to 1,852 (87% SMEs), with 19,966 services.

However while more businesses are applying the process is still too much of a rush.  In theory businesses have six weeks to apply for each framework but in practice the time available is shorter. When the framework goes live businesses need to assess the new rules and hence everyone leaves their applications until the last minute.

The submissions for G-Cloud 6 opened on 6 November 2015 and closed at 3pm on 17 December. However, more than three quarters of the submissions were started 10 days before closing date and nearly 90% were submitted during the final 3 days.

So what’s in G-Cloud 7?

According to the Digital Marketplace blog, the next iteration is going to be improving their search capabilities along with the categorisation and filtering of services; which for a marketplace is a probably one of the things they really should have been concentrating on first, as what good is a digital marketplace if you can’t easily find a supplier? Let’s hope they spend a little time looking at Amazon and eBay for a few tips on how a market should be run. Our hope is that they get rid of the constant reapplication as it patently isn’t working well.

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