Part 4: The Future of G-Cloud 8 & beyond…
Here’s Part 4 (now expanded to 6) of our Future of G-Cloud series. This one deals with how to improve the call off process and possibly remove much of the need for MISO.
As providers of Procurement services to various UK government organisations we have been involved with £100m+ of calls offs from a huge variety of Frameworks including G-Cloud. One of the core pillars on how we work is that we believe that for an SME to increase their chances of selling successful to the UK Public Sector they really ought to know how buyers buy.
In fact we run highly rated training courses (with TechUK) on this very subject and our experience is sought after by some very big Multi $bn globals to 2 person start-ups. Consequently we make available our views on what’s good and not so good about the framework.
The G-Cloud buying or call off process is one of the very best things I have come across in my time in Public Sector Procurement and it’s what makes G-Cloud such a joy to use as a buyer. Anything that reduces time to procure (from 200 odd days to a couple of weeks on average) has to be a winner! We absolutely love showing other buyers how this works. Given that the Wider Public Sector (WPS) count for only 24% of the total spend this is an area we are very busy in. We ran a live buying webinar for one of our sell side SAAS clients for a non-Central Government body on day 2 of G-Cloud 7 that resulted in a £370k call off. Not bad for 25 minutes work!
Seeing buyers eyes light up when they realise just how easy it is to use the framework is such a joy as they suddenly see themselves turning from Department of No to the Department of Yes!
However you are then asked to complete a 17 page word doc which is your call off agreement or contract. Of course this is where the lawyers get involved and things tend to slow down unless you have a competent supplier who can complete most of the fields for you and a diligent buyer who can check this for accuracy and one who is trusted by their legal team to complete these without oversight.
So we are always on the lookout for ways to improve and receive lots of feedback from suppliers and buyers as to what they would like to see implemented. Unfortunately the monthly Management Information submission process known as MISO is one that is just not fit for purpose these days and is top of everyone’s list for improvement.
For the uninitiated this is a very time consuming manual process that seems to have (barely) evolved from 90’s. It basically asks you to complete a number of fields as per the below
Note that you can only manually input the form on the site here or upload a spreadsheet. There is no ability to use EDI or link into any finance / reporting systems…
Now for cloud suppliers that are doing lots of small value business transactions over a wide variety of clients and framework iterations this is a huge admin burden and can only add to the cost of doing business. The fact that the end product is a PAPER(!) invoice from CCS for your framework fee (0.5% of revenue) is utterly bonkers and archaic.
Another problem that should actually get CCS’ attention is the fact that it’s widely known that a % of spend goes unreported each month due to
- Lack knowledge from suppliers that they had to do this
- The time it takes to report
So there is also a revenue implication on this. If you assume that 80% of transactions are actually reported then you have a potential unreported spend of £180m. The 0.5% admin fee that’s levied on participants means that a potential £900k going unclaimed.
Ian Mackgill of Analytics firm Spend Network commented:
“Digital Marketplace data still relies on suppliers to submit returns using the MISO system administered by the Crown Commercial Service. It is likely that spend through G-Cloud and other frameworks is more than the amount reported because reporting is essentially voluntary. We could have a much better idea of what Government requires from our market if the spend was linked to contracts, so that we could understand how competing IT frameworks were being used by the public sector”
So there are wider competition issues as well.
So how to improve and remove two onerous manual processes? We could perhaps enter the world of ecommerce with some sort of buy it now button on the Digital Marketplace!
This was an idea I first heard of from John Glover at Kahootz and it seems to make sense to me. It would allow for automatic contracts to be generated as well as spend reported immediately.
We are faced with a ground breaking globally feted piece of Government Procurement potentially getting left behind. Others who are looking at the G-Cloud model (i.e basically the rest of the worlds Public Sector) are advancing it. We are engaged with a couple of Governments to share our experience so hopefully we can get SME more two way feedback to share.
There is certainly lots of hope though. At the recent engagement from Crown Commercial Services with TechUK before Christmas around the multi-£Bn Tech Products and Solutions replacement Kelvin Lee stated that all common, commodity products and services should be available via an electronic catalogue. So given the CCS Technology teams close working relationship with the Digital Marketplace team perhaps we shall continue to see innovation and keep G-Cloud & Government IT Procurement in general ahead of the game.
They all do great (often unsung and misunderstood) work and hopefully won’t allow old school systems to stand in the way of beneficial progress and change. There are a number of events coming up in the next couple of months where we shall hear more about the plans for the Digital Marketplace including Sprint16, Public Sector ICT, ThinkCloud for Digital Government & Think Cloud Vendors. We will be at each of these and hope to hear much positive stuff.
What do you think of the potential for changes in MISO? Are you happy with it? What are the alternatives? How should GDS & CCS engage? We look forward to hearing from you!