Note: This article originally featured on UKCloud.
Step 1: Get your documentation ready
It may seem strange that this is the first step, but there’s no point proceeding any further if your documentation isn’t compliant and ready to go. The docs you’re required to upload are:
- Service Definition
- Pricing – Compliant with the framework requirements
- Supplier terms and conditions
- (Optional) SFIA rate card
- (If your annual turnover is £36m+) Modern slavery statement
Getting this ready early gives you some extra time to make sure they are the best they can be. Quality is important. The Service Definition in particular offers a more in-depth break down of your service and gives you a chance to fully differentiate your service from others on G-Cloud. So, suppliers need to make sure they’re understandable, informative and — importantly — accessible.
Top Tip: CCS have also released guidance for creating accessible PDFs around G-Cloud 12. Although it’s not mandatory, it’s certainly worth getting your documentation in order.
Also, 80% of those who do business through G-Cloud have a Service Definition, so it’s certainly worthwhile getting it right. The other 20%? Well, they most likely rely on already existing brand recognition and understanding from buyers (i.e. the larger companies). Now that Service Definitions are mandatory for G-Cloud, it’s going to be the best ones that stand out.
Step 2: Complete the supplier declaration
There’s technically another step before this one; creating a supplier account. If you haven’t already, you need to get registered on the Digital Marketplace.
Once you are sorted with an account, the next step is to complete the supplier declaration. This is a series of pass/fail questions, covering financial, legal and other compliance-related criteria.
Top Tip: It may sound obvious, but double check your answers. If you’ve accidentally selected ‘yes’ where you really meant ‘no’ on a pass/fail question, this will be enough to exclude you from the framework. You don’t want to fall at the first hurdle!
Step 3: Answer the selection questions
This step is arguably the most important. The series of questions you’re asked during the application are crucial in informing the buyer of your service offerings. This also makes up your front-end listing, which means you’ll want to make sure you’re providing clear information – some of which is how buyers will find you in their searches!
The questions asked do differ across the three Lots, but cover the following:
- Service name, summary and scope
- User support
- How users work with your service
- Onboarding and offboarding
- Data and analytics
- Service availability and resilience
- Governance and security
- Identity and authentication
- Standards and certifications
Unlike a number of other CCS frameworks, these questions are not scored and your place on the framework does not depend on the responses. However, if you were to omit or provide incorrect information, not only would your listing risk non-compliance, but you’d also impact your likelihood of winning business on the framework. Top Tip: As we said, there are certain elements of the questionnaire that form the ‘front-end’ part of your listing, which includes terms that are searchable on the Digital Marketplace. These are your service name, service summary and your features and benefits. Take the time to make sure these are thoughtfully worded in order to be found by buyers.
Use the current iteration of G-Cloud to do test searches and see how many competitors come up, and also test what buyers might be searching to find your services.
Step 4: Check for compliance
So, you’re now all ready to go with your additional documents and your main service listing info. You should next spend some time checking over everything and making sure it’s all compliant and does the trick.
Top Tip: At Advice Cloud, we have an internal QA process to ensure that all of our clients upload compliant and competitive listings. No application will reach step 5 until it’s checked all of the boxes! If you’re not using an external company to support your application, then it’s definitely worth planning for an internal QA process before moving onto submission.
Step 5: Upload, submit and get listed on G-Cloud!
It sounds so simple, but you’d be surprised by how many suppliers we’ve come across who have forgotten to submit. For G-Cloud 11, of the 5773 suppliers that started their applications, 1551 were never submitted. That’s a staggering 26.8 percent! And we imagines it’s the same for most iterations.
Top Tip: You can submit your application prior to the deadline, and still go back and make changes. So, as the application deadline approaches, there’s no harm in pressing ‘submit’.
The work doesn’t stop there…
Getting on to the framework is just the beginning. After they get listed on G-Cloud, suppliers should incorporate the framework into their public sector sales and marketing strategies. After all, it’s not a source of inbound sales. Make sure your teams know how it works and what benefits the G-Cloud framework can bring to your organisation.
Extra Top tip: Get networking. Regularly attending events, such as supplier-engagement sessions held by CCS or external public sector technology events (especially ones specific to your target sector), is a great way to get your name out there and promote the fact that you use G-Cloud to sell your product or service.