The G-Cloud framework is nearly four years old, and sales through its parent organisation the Digital Marketplace smashed the £1bn barrier last week.
To mark the milestone, CRN delved into the G-Cloud sales data and found that most of its sales by value to date have gone through just 30 suppliers. On top of that, CRN published a league table of the top suppliers by value.
At the moment, the eighth iteration of the framework is in the making. CRN caught up with a number of the framework's suppliers to find out what changes and improvements they want to happen in the future.
1 - More involvement from local government
"I'd like to see improved awareness within local government," said David McLeman (pictured), CEO of Ancoris.
"The Government Digital Service has done a good job in central government, where we've seen a large proportion of G-Cloud spending, but there are hundreds of smaller public sector bodies which may not be capitalising on the G-Cloud market to the same extent."
Peter Bodley-Scott, public sector sales manager at Node4, agreed.
"As of 7 December 2015, there were 2,566 registered suppliers (89 per cent SMEs) with 22,080 services listed with G-Cloud," he said. "Central government, however, still dominates the purchases made through the framework.
"The lack of awareness and low adoption of the G-Cloud framework by local government is resulting in traditional frameworks being retained as the preferred procurement method. These traditional frameworks are a slower, less transparent and less cost-effective form of procurement."
2 - More transparency
"In terms of improving the G-Cloud service going forward, we believe that transparency between customer and provider is absolutely paramount in delivering an effective cloud service," said Monica Brink, EMEA marketing director of iland.
"Emphasising this more within the G-Cloud framework, and providing customers with this knowledge when making a decision about which cloud service provider to use, could really help to tighten the relationship between provider and customer, and lead to a greatly improved cloud experience."
3 - Extend contract terms
"In terms of helping more suppliers benefit, one of main issues is the maximum two-year contract term," said Suraj Kika, CEO of Jadu.
"This isn't long enough for major rollouts of cloud software solutions, such as CRM, e-forms and web-content management.
"The effort to get such systems adopted and part of everyday life takes time and local authorities want more security and commitment than two years can offer. If SMEs could offer three- and five-year contract options, it may help make them more attractive to local government buyers."
Matt Culpin, creative director of Spacecraft Digital, agreed and said: "Longer contract periods are definitely needed. A few of the recent prospects we've visited have said two years is not long enough.
"Local authorities spend a lot of time and resources in training and template design and even though the software is easy to install and quick to deliver value, having to retender in two years is very unattractive."
4 - Better supplier experience
"Unfortunately, the current G-Cloud framework is still somewhat archaic in its formation for supplier user experience," said Kevin Cavanagh, public sector manager at Objectivity.
"Where the focus has to date been spent on improving the buyer experience, attention should now turn to how best to showcase the latest technology from suppliers. This will not only improve the range and level of services and products available to public sector companies, but also fly the flag for British innovation."
5 - Make G-Cloud mandatory
"Greater adoption will only be achieved by educating the public sector procurement staff in the advantages of G-Cloud," said Node4's Bodley-Scott. "It would also be desirable to make it a mandatory procurement framework in order to benefit the public sector, the registered suppliers and ultimately the taxpayer.
"We expected procurement to far exceed the £1bn figure. The continued reliance on traditional procurement channels has meant that a significant proportion of the opportunities that could be argued should be sourced though G-Cloud have not been sourced through the framework.
"There are a large number of innovative and cost-effective SMEs who have registered their services with the Digital Marketplace catalogue, but they are not getting the opportunity to respond to requirements because the procuring organisations are not considering the framework as a method to source approved suppliers."
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