Part 1: Will G-Cloud 8 be the last iteration for a while?
Part 1 of 6 As G-Cloud consultants we like to keep our ears to ground for all things relating to G-Cloud...
Especially changes to tender processes, potential dates for new iterations and good / bad news!
We also work very closely with the likes of TechUK. We are members and also now deliver our highly regarded Welcome to G-Cloud sales enablement training through them. We are also founder members of the growing in influence EuroCloud G-Cloud Working Party. With a roster of over 50 businesses attaining their G-Cloud listing through us (see our winners wall video) we like to keep our clients and prospects appraised as to our considered thoughts on the future of G-Cloud & its home the Digital Marketplace.
There have been many calls for G-Cloud to transform. Successful vendors such as Skyscapecloud & Kahootz have each requested continual improvement to the framework so that buyers and suppliers can maximise their investment in it, continuing growth and value. One of the very best things about G-Cloud and the Digital Marketplace team (GDS & CCS) is a sense of inclusion as a supplier. Their engagement & ability to listen and ACT on suggestions / criticism is pretty much unheard of in the rest of Government procurement (IMHO). You only need to look at the supply side furore around the unfortunate Digital Services framework for proof that Tony Singletons team can and does listen and act. User needs, Openness & Transparency are at the heart of what they do.
So what are the key industry suggestions for the next iteration of G-Cloud? Why the attention grabbing headline? We’ve listed 6 below and will go onto explain our thoughts over a series of blogs.
- Make it even easier to apply & get on / off the framework
- Allow prices to fluctuate & live services to be updated & resubmitted as the market changes / improves
- Give Buyers & suppliers the ability to feedback with “Tripadvisor/AirBnB style ratings
- Improve the call off process – allow buyers to compare services & “buy it now”
- Shut down the onerous MISO process and replace it with something less 90’s (spreadsheet) based.
- Expand the frameworks reach to include more Non Central Government bodies esp Local Government.
So to answer items 1 & 2 above you need to understand the current situation. G-Cloud opens for new / updated entrants twice a year on average. You are given 30-35 days to respond to a fairly easy set of pass/fail compliance questions around your background then a more complicated set of questions on your technical/service offering. This follows a standard EU compliant procurement route called the Open procedure. SAAS in particular has a large set security related questions and “assertions” that can drive vendors to distraction. Of course as we have been through this quite a number of times (75% of our clients are SAAS) we understand all this and have quick answers ready. However newcomers often say to us that they have given up at this stage, especially SMEs as they don’t have the resources to make the best of their application by dedicating them to the tender period. You will also need to upload 3-4 documents including:
- A Service Description (call it a technical brochure detailing your service)
- Your pricing
- Your own terms and conditions
- A complementary & optional engineering rate card (called the SFIA card). This is very useful if you sell aligned engineering/consultancy based services alongside your IAAS, PAAS or SAAS service. Less so if you are listing for Lot 4 SCS.
When you are successful you are listed on the Catalogue known as the Digital Marketplace alongside 22000 other services!
For more detailed background on applying for G-Cloud please see our webinars on G-Cloud 7 or join one of our monthly G-Cloud 8 sessions (details to follow).
When you submit your response, under EU Law & the UK Public Contracts regulations, it’s fixed at the point of submission. That means you can’t materially change or amend the service/pricing/terms during the life of the framework (1 year under G-Cloud rules). Crown Commercial Service does allow for minor amendments but
– These take forever to get approved
– Are something of an admin overhead on both sides of the fence
In a cloudy world this doesn’t make good commercial sense. Services are continually being refined & improved and prices usually fluctuate downwards. Check out Skyscapes CEO Simon Hansford’s announcement as to their price drops as an example. How can suppliers join the framework when they like, add and edit services when they want and amend adjust prices without manual intervention from the civil servants?
In part 2 we will go into this in more depth.