We’ve had a very busy and rewarding autumn. The team and I have been out and about talking to both buyers and suppliers about the Digital Marketplace and the G-Cloud framework. It was good to meet people face-to-face and listen to the questions and needs of our users. There’s still time to join us for our regional buyers event in London on 13 November. Please register here for a free place. We’ll be arranging more events around the country in the New Year.
Preparing for G-Cloud 6
I can confirm that the G-Cloud 6 Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) is expected to be published next week, on 6 November 2014, and should go live in the first week of February 2015. We encourage all suppliers to apply, so they can update their service descriptions in a way that makes it clearer, simpler and faster for buyers to find services that meet their requirements.
The team have been working hard to develop and improve the service submission portal (SSP) on the Digital Marketplace for G-Cloud 6. This has been supported by weekly sessions in the GDS user research lab, listening to what people had to say about applying to the framework and continuing to improve and iterate it to make sure that it meets user needs.
This time round, we have also been issuing lots of advice about G-Cloud 6 on the blog, including the questions that suppliers will need to answer. I must point out that the questions may be subject to minor changes between now and the OJEU going live. When the OJEU is published, suppliers should reply only in the procurement documents that accompany it.
Creating a more competitive market
G-Cloud has been a resounding success, delivering a ground-breaking commissioning framework that provides businesses of all sizes the same opportunity to offer commodity cloud services to government. It has created a transparent and competitive market that has opened up barriers to entry for small and medium-size businesses.
There are over 1,500 suppliers on the framework, 88% of which are SMEs. In August, sales have continued to grow at a fantastic rate and hit £314m. £168m (53%) of sales were with SMEs. Last July, when G-Cloud moved into GDS, monthly sales were averaging £8m. Now monthly sales have increased to £27m – nearly two and half times more.
The next stage for the Digital Services framework
The Digital Services framework (DSf), which went live in October 2013, gave the public sector easy access to suppliers who have the right digital capabilities to help them produce public services that are digital by default and focused on user needs. It is a flexible and speedy route to meet customers’ needs for digital project expertise. So far, 30 contracts have been awarded under DSf totalling £13.6m (to date £2.3m has been spent), of which 18 contracts were awarded to SMEs.
While this is a good start, we know that there are areas which have needed more support and work. We want to make the process for bringing in teams is as easy as buying from the G-Cloud framework. In preparation for bringing the framework onto the Digital Marketplace, a team from GDS and CCS is now in place, spending time reviewing how this can be improved and made Digital by Default.
Digital Services 2 (the second iteration of this framework) is also expected to go out to OJEU in November, and we’ll be publishing more details about that and the discovery we’ve been doing to improve the managed service.
As always, we would like to invite you to be part of that journey and tell us your thoughts and feedback. You can get in touch via email at email@example.com or by signing up to be part of user research.