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Wizard’s Apprentice

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Wizard’s Apprentice

A very personal story about her first-time experience with G-Cloud by our Business Ops Assistant Ella Grant. Well done Ella!

 

Joining Advice Cloud at the turn of January as a semi-fresh postgraduate, I had read up about G-Cloud to the extent that I knew that:

a) it’s a government framework,
b) it sat within something called the Digital Marketplace,
c) it categorised cloud-based services into 4 “Lots.”

Thanks to the greater technical expertise of my welcoming colleagues (and their patience!), I now have a greater understanding of cloud technologies and the way G-Cloud works. So, while I’m still new to the world of public sector IT, these are my initial thoughts on my experience so far:

 

The opportunities:

  • I very quickly realised the enormous potential of the public sector. Being presented with our clients’ services turned “the cloud” from quite an abstract concept for me, into an exciting vision of the future.
  • Getting to know our clients – whether by webinar, email or telephone, I learnt a lot from the enthusiasm our clients have about their services. It was a pleasure to work hard throughout the application process knowing that our clients could go on to do remarkable things through G-Cloud!
  • Understanding how the public sector thinks and buys has been interesting to me; learning what the requirements are for a government body who want to transition to digital, for example specifics around security, accessibility and availability.
  • One of my favourite parts has been reaching out to people in the industry with free advice! I love the share culture we’ve developed at Advice Cloud, writing and promoting our Best Practice Guides that are jam-packed with useful tips and expertise that can help small businesses be successful in their application, at no cost to them.
  • Building a Kanban wall! I’ve come a long way from my initial response of “Who is Kan Ban?”… Our pride and joy became a (slightly un-techy) system of frog tape and post-its. When G-Cloud was well underway and we were at our busiest, this wall appealed to my visual way of learning and thinking.

 

The challenges:

  • Acronyms abound! IaaS, PaaS and SaaS were just the tip of the iceberg. Is an SD the Service Definition or Service Declaration? What does SSP stand for? SSL, TLS and VPN?
  • The challenge came with much anticipated changes to G-Cloud 9 from previous iterations. Being introduced to GC8 in my first weeks, I then had to adapt to the changes to the Lot structure, the service questions, and the legal tweaks, right alongside my peers! As it was new to everyone, we did an excellent job of working together and communicating the changes to our clients.
  • The scope of work needed per listing was a huge challenge. I was used to a large workload at University, but this was all new to me! With multiple clients, sometimes with multiple listings, the organisation and time-management needed was extensive (praise our Kanban wall!).
  • The time constraints… G-Cloud was open for applications for 1 month. Of course, we started early and got a head start, but the deadline loomed.
  • Trying to understand the technical aspects of what our clients do! I’ve picked up some terminology along the way (I now know what an API is!), but I reckon I’d need another degree to be on the tech-wizardry level needed for understanding the inner workings.
  • Finally - going from writing 5,000 word essays to 140 character tweets and learning to be merciless with my vowels.

 

Overall, plunging into the world of public sector IT, right before the whirlwind of GC9 hit, has been a learning curve and a brilliant opportunity to think about the public sector from a new perspective. My experience at Advice Cloud has introduced me to a whole new world of innovation and options for a digital future - AI, Smart Cities, IoT and FinTech, just to name a few! It’s been a hectic few months, but made really enjoyable by the support of the AC Team and our truly wonderful clients!

 

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