The way that the public sector buys things has to change to be agile. We can no longer take months going through the old procurement cycles. Instead of negotiating lengthy contracts for items such as computer storage, servers and software, we need to buy services as and when we need them.
Two frameworks to build digital services
What’s the difference between the two frameworks? Simply put, G-Cloud provides access to commodity, cloud-based services. Digital Services framework (DSf) allows the public sector to commission capabilities to help design and build bespoke digital services. Cloud hosting and other services aren’t used on their own. They are used as part of an overall project, and so it makes perfect sense to link them together.
It’s worth repeating what I said at the Public Sector Show;
“I have heard it said that G-Cloud has become business as usual. How I dislike that phrase, business as usual. It suggest to me that it’s job done, sit back, put your feet up. No, it is NOT business as usual, there is much to be done in transforming the way IT is not only bought but also consumed across the wider public sector.”
We’re seeing examples of how this has helped improve efficiency as well as other benefits across the public sector:
Wiltshire Council needed to buy a case management system for the council’s legal team. They chose to use the G-Cloud framework to procure the new system. The procurement took six months from beginning the process to all users having completed their basic system training.
This month, G-Cloud sales showed another great month with £20m spend bringing the total to £175m; 60% of that spend going to SMEs. Of the money spent in April, 68% was with SMEs.
Rolling out the Digital Marketplace
We are doing more to provide support and improve the tools to meet user needs and make it easier for buyers to use both G-Cloud and DSf.
The alpha of the Digital Marketplace is currently being rolled out, and will soon be available publicly. We will follow this up with a live beta by the end of July. The Digital Marketplace will then replace the current CloudStore for G-Cloud 6 - which we expect to be live in Autumn 2014.
Creating a lasting change
The Digital Marketplace will then become the single store for buyers for the second iteration for the Digital Services framework.
The Digital Marketplace is not just a nice new shiny tool, but part of our work to bring about lasting change in the way that government and the wider public sector thinks about, and buys, digital and technology.