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G-Cloud For Dummies (Part 1)

Confused? You’re not the only one. If you’re lucky, you turned to Google for some much-needed clarification and stumbled across this guide, which was designed to strip away the jargon and provide an exhaustive source of information regarding the G-Cloud, how to register and how to apply. If you’re unlucky, you’ve been staggering around in the virtual ether gathering snippets of semi-relevant information and are on the verge of ripping your hair out.

Don’t worry; you got here in the end.

While the G-Cloud programme has certainly seen mammoth success rates during its 5 years, with reported sales of £2,852,725,836 in December 2017, there remains a misconception that, with the exception of the Central Government Departments that are mandated to use it, its adoption across the wider public sector is still patchy. In an article published on Diginomica, Derek du Preez identifies that ‘old habits dying hard’ is an issue which continues to generate hesitation. The anxiety surrounding this is chiefly due to a lack of buyer and supplier understanding. Put simply, a lack of easily accessible, cohesive and comprehensive information on G-Cloud, the application process and its benefits.

This series of mini-guides is designed to combat this anxiety by addressing the lack.

What is G-Cloud?

In answer to this question, one could cite endless business lingo, with mention of ‘frameworks’, ‘infrastructure’ and ‘iterations’, without ever directly addressing the reason for G-Cloud’s existence. In the name of yielding better understanding, it would be more appropriate to ask not what is G-Cloud, but why is G-Cloud? You will be relieved to know that the answer is perfectly simple. G-Cloud was founded for the purpose of streamlining the public procurement process for buyers and suppliers alike.

In the Cabinet Office’s review on Accelerating Government Procurement, they identified that there is excessive waste built into the existing traditional procurement process from inception through to award. This includes: excessive amounts of guidance with too much variation, duplication and confusion over different terms; elongated timescales both pre-OJEU and during the procurement; serial-processing, inefficient engagement with suppliers; input-based specifications vs. outcomes and risk aversion.

At this point, any readers with experience bidding for a contract will be nodding their assent.

In contrast, according to some sources the experienced G-Cloud buyer and supplier can complete the entire procurement process in just 24 hours. In light of this, G-Cloud has been a revolutionary step in procurement innovation.

“In terms of speed, we’ve found that G-Cloud is a quicker, more efficient route to market than buying from any other framework.”

  • Andrew McHattie, Procurement Lead, IT Modernisation Programme at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

The Benefits

Through the G-Cloud, the public sector is able to buy digital cloud-based services ‘off-the-shelf’ in what is often referred to as a pay-as-you-go approach. This avoids lock-ins to expensive contracts and facilitates innovation, flexibility, as well as time and cost-effectiveness.

The benefits of G-Cloud include:

  • It is quicker and cheaper to use than traditional procurement processes.
  • G-Cloud is re-tendered regularly, so it is always up to date with the latest suppliers, services and information.
  • It is easy to register and apply to participate in the G-Cloud framework.
  • There are no hidden charges; prices, terms and services are transparent.
  • Many services are often available to try at no cost.
  • There is a bigger range of suppliers than any other framework
  • Buyers can contact suppliers directly with any questions or information requests.
  • There is no ‘lock-in’ – all services state up-front how you get in and out.
  • The G-Cloud eradicates the need for contract negotiations, an OJEU or ITT.
  • With G-Cloud, SMEs can compete with larger companies on a level playing field.

“The benefits of using the Digital Marketplace included being able to offer a faster solution for both our buyers and suppliers. In the past, our buyers and suppliers have commented that traditional procurement methods are slow and expensive.”

  • Neil Higson, Dstl R-Cloud Project Manager at the Ministry of Defence

Moreover, since its inception G-Cloud has generated sales of over £2.8bn, 48% of which was awarded to SMEs, which demonstrates that G-Cloud can be a valuable resource across the board, for suppliers of varying sizes.

The G-Cloud is expected to open for new suppliers to register their services and apply in April. You can keep up-to-date with the latest news from the Digital Market Place team or just drop us a line and we will let you know what you have to do and when.