A revolutionary history
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the origins of G-Cloud, I thought I should start with a little recap. G-Cloud is a groundbreaking framework which offers suppliers of all sizes the same opportunity to offer cloud services and sell them to government. It is an iterative programme of work which enables the use of a range of cloud services, such as web hosting or site analytics, and changes the way government buys and uses IT services. The vision was (and still is) for government to robustly adopt a public Cloud-First policy. The G-Cloud framework is the way to make that happen.
Without exception, all suppliers agree that G-Cloud provides an unprecedented opportunity. Buyers are happy to have somewhere they can buy cloud-based services that better fit with the agile nature of their projects. You find the service that meets your requirements. You buy it, if it doesn’t work out, you can cancel it.
• a huge pool of suppliers and services
• the opportunity to direct award
• no long tie-ins
CloudStore, a starting point
It made perfect sense at the time to build the CloudStore on off-the-shelf e-commerce technology. It opened the door to direct interaction with the catalogue and continued to deliver the revolutionary intent behind G-Cloud. From a technical point of view, it was not without its limitations.
The brief has evolved
The idea of the Digital Marketplace was initially conceived to simply replace, feature-for-feature, the existing CloudStore. That is still part of what we are doing. More than this though, we are building a team than can deliver commissioning as a platform which will open up to buyers a lot more than just G-Cloud. We aim to bring in the Digital Services framework in the new year and we're in conversation with 2 or 3 other frameworks that might be appropriate to support our platform thinking.
The revolution continues
With a team in place we can now start contemplating the functionality that will make Digital Marketplace a truly digital-by-default commissioning tool. There is so much that technology enables us to do which can reduce, remove and replace the administrative overhead of running a government procurement. We can also begin to offer suppliers far greater visibility of what is happening on the store and with their services.
Mike Bracken’s blog post on Civil Claims maintains that the whole system of procuring and commissioning in government is too large to modernise in one go. That’s why the Digital Marketplace team deliberately chose to tackle a couple of thin slices at a time, in line with our fifth design principle: “The best way to build effective services is to start small and iterate wildly. This is exactly what we’re doing, but we know that even being able to see how many times a service has been viewed is useful information for our suppliers"
What’s new for suppliers on the Digital Marketplace
We started the development of the supplier functionality for the Digital Marketplace by re-working the service submission journey to make that clearer, simpler and faster. Suppliers can now edit all their own contact details directly and after the launch of G-Cloud 6, we will make it easier for suppliers to edit information that doesn’t fundamentally change the definition of their service. For example, we know that security settings and options change, this will be something you'll be able to edit yourselves.
If you have a cloud-based service that you think can help government departments with delivering a digital service, G-Cloud 6 is open for submissions.