The imminent launch of G-Cloud 6 has stirred mixed feelings among suppliers, with some claiming the changes being made are not necessary.
The latest iteration of the G-Cloud framework will see several changes from the previous model, most notably the CloudStore and Digital Services Framework will become the Digital Marketplace. There will also be a move to security self-assessment for providers applying to the framework.
Many have welcomed the latest updates to the G-Cloud, with Dan Sutherland, chief executive of managed services specialist Carrenza - which is on G-Cloud 5 - commenting that the whole process has been a "great success story".
"The changes that they are making to G-Cloud now - in the context of the changes G-Cloud has made to the way the government buys technology - are very much just finessing tweaks," Sutherland said.
"I hope they get the formula right that allows the smaller companies to sell to buyers who are confident in their services. But the jury is out as to whether or not those changes are going to achieve this," he said.
Robin Pape, public sector advisor for SMB supplier Memset said he was optimistic about the key changes to G-Cloud 6.
"With the change to the Digital Marketplace from CloudStore- it's early days but we feel it can only help customers find services and that has been one of the big issues with G-Cloud in the past.
"It's an evolution - we are on iteration six now and every time it gets better," he said.
Pape addedthat the new security approach which came in in April, and changed the way suppliers are accredited, did cause a "blip" but now things have settled down "we are getting over that now".
This week the latest sales figures for G-Cloud were released with the total for November at £40.17m, based on the government's figures. Total sales for G-Cloud are now at £393.67m.
Louise Dunne, managing director at data analytics and security consultancy specialist Auriga, which is on G-Cloud 5, was critical of the new changes to the G-Cloud.
"The problem with G-Cloud is it is just pinning the tail on the donkey. It's always evolving but not necessarily improving for the better - it is just changing and everyone has got to get used to that change again," she said.
Dunne commented that the new changes to G-Cloud are costly for SMEs because with every iteration, businesses need to spend time and resources adhering to the new changes.
She added that with the new sales platform being shared between G-Cloud and the Digital Services Framework, SMEs could be missing out in favour of joined-up services offered by the larger incumbents.
Peter Groucutt, managing director of Databarracks felt the latest iteration of G-Cloud was not perfect but it is a step in the right direction for the government framework.
He said that the move to security self-assessment will make the process "much less bureaucratic" and the transition to the Digital Marketplace will help to redress the imbalance with large enterprises.
"The framework is a very different entity now to what it was when it was first launched," he said. "Its initial issues are well documented but the hard work pumped into the scheme by suppliers and the GDS team has turned it around and the improvements we're due to see with G-Cloud 6 next year are proof of that."
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