A total of 2,847 suppliers have been awarded places on the government's G-Cloud 9 framework which is set to go live on Monday, CRN understands.
Suppliers were notified last week as to whether or not their application had been successful, triggering a 10-day standstill period which ended at midnight last night.
Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which runs the framework, told CRN that it will not release a list of suppliers on the framework until it goes live on Monday, but multiple sources told CRN that 2,847 suppliers have been awarded places on the framework.
G-Cloud 9 is split into three Lots: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Software and Cloud Support. The 2,847 suppliers on the framework compares with the 1,616 firms on G-Cloud 7, and 1,908 on G-Cloud 8.
When G-Cloud 9 launches on Monday suppliers will no longer be able to conduct business through G-Cloud 7 and G-Cloud 8.
Chris Swani, public sector director at G-Cloud provider Bytes, told CRN that the standout improvement of the framework compared with its previous iterations is an extension to the call-off period, meaning contracts signed through the framework can last longer than two years for the first time.
"What's interesting about this is the maximum call-off period for the framework," he said. "In previous G-Cloud versions it's been a maximum of two years, whereas with this one it's a two-year call-off, and then there are two optional one-year periods, so a maximum of four years.
"With Microsoft [for example], their agreements such as the Enterprise Subscription Agreement are a three-year period so it does allow for enterprise agreements that were previously exclusively online agreements to be done through G-Cloud.
"In addition to that, Microsoft has specific G-Cloud 9 pricing that will be exclusively available when the customer is using the G-Cloud framework, so we are anticipating seeing a lot more Microsoft business going through G-Cloud."
The most recent G-Cloud figures on the CCS website show total spending through the framework to date to be just under £1.7bn as of November 2016, 77 per cent of which was spent by central government and the remaining 23 per cent by the wider public sector.
Speaking of improvements he would like to see in the future, Swani said that suppliers are currently unable to add new services once the bidding process has closed - something he'd like to see addressed on future versions of the framework.
"G-Cloud frameworks are refreshed every six to eight months and there is a lot of work to do. But cloud technology is moving so quickly and the requirement for G-Cloud is for suppliers to put their services on the framework at the time when the submission dates are open," he said "There isn't an opportunity while the framework is in place to add new services.
"We offer thousands of products from many different vendors and they're always coming out with new iterations of those products, so if a customer wants to have a new product that's been released but it's not on the G-Cloud marketplace, we can't sell it through G-Cloud.
"We could potentially upload hundreds and hundreds of services, but there simply is not enough time to do all those services in advance of the submission date so we don't manage to get all our services on there."
Last year the government announced that the ninth iteration G-Cloud would be built from scratch, but drew criticism from suppliers for not spending enough time researching how the framework should be improved.
Chris Farthing, managing director at AdviceCloud, said the increased contract lengths and improved categorisations in the framework should encourage more local government and healthcare organisations to embrace G-Cloud.
"It'll hopefully bring local government and health on board a bit more," he said. "They've always been fairly reticent to buy from G-Cloud because of the relatively short contract period.
"Also not having the right categories of software [has been a factor] which they now will have because of the increased categorisation.
"There are increased categories within Lot 1 and in Lot 2 the software has massively more detailed categories. There is a high-level category, which has stayed the same, but there are lots more subcategories as part of that.
"Overall feedback is good for that, although there was a lot more information required to get on which reflects in the fact that something like 1400 suppliers didn't complete their application process."
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