G-Cloud launched in 2012 with the aim of shaking up the public sector procurement landscape.
Six years on, and on the eve of the launch of the tenth iteration of the framework, G-Cloud has stimulated close to £3bn of sales for suppliers.
Although making the cut is no guarantee of revenue - in 2014 two thirds of suppliers on it were yet to earn a penny - G-Cloud is becoming big business for many, including a clutch of the UK's top resellers who have used the framework to boost their sales of cloud services into central and local government.
In fact, 22 resellers that rank in CRN's Top 250 VARs have conducted over £1m of business through G-Cloud, with 10 generating more than £5m from it.
Subscribers to CRN Essential can view a full breakdown of the 22 here, but in this article we catch up with four of them to get their tips on how traditional ICT suppliers can make a success of G-Cloud.
We also asked them about whether they feel G-Cloud has achieved its original aim of shaking up the status quo and opening up central government IT spending to SMEs, what their G-Cloud bugbears are, what lessons they've learned, and whether a recent shift in G-Cloud spending towards consulting giants (Capgemini and Deloitte are now second and third in overall G-Cloud business on £83m and £82m, respectively) is a cause for concern.
The four £1m-plus G-Cloud VARs we spoke to are featured here in ascending order, beginning with 19th-ranked Risual.
Total G-Cloud sales: £2m
Number of G-Cloud deals: 116
Overall G-Cloud ranking: 240
Largest deal to date: £248,125 (Competitive Markets Authorities: G-Cloud 8)
Representative: Alun Rogers, co-founder
What has been your recipe for success?
The secret to success is understanding what G-Cloud is and that a traditional sales approach won't work.
Traditionally in sales you go and talk to a customer about what you think they want to buy. The big pivot with G-Cloud is it gives you a good view of what government customers actually want to buy. Once you've understood that change, it's about making yourself really organised to deal with it. We now have a dedicated team that focuses just on writing bids.
"We're now a top 250 supplier to UK government. That could never have happened in a pre-G-Cloud world," Alun Rogers, Risual
We've moved from a model where sales staff are running around meeting customers to one where you are writing bids, and if you make that mental switch it's actually cheaper to sell through G-Cloud than the traditional route.
Has G-Cloud achieved its original aims?
If you understand G-Cloud and that you have to change your sales approach, it's fantastic, so it has achieved its original aim for the people who get it. For the people who don't, it hasn't worked, but that's their fault, not G-Cloud's. For me it's great as my cost of sale is going down and my customer acquisition and deal size is going up.
G-Cloud is an easy framework to get on if you fill in enough paperwork. It's a new game SMEs can play that they couldn't play before. Before we'd have to subcontract through an SI and they would top-slice our margins. We're now a top 250 supplier to UK government - and that's around services, not product - isn't that really cool? That could never have happened in a pre-G-Cloud world.
What is your top tip for budding G-Cloud suppliers?
That having normal salespeople responding to G-Cloud doesn't work. Those guys live in a world where they meet a customer, build the relationship, and write a proposal. That's not how G-Cloud works. You are selling to an invisible person, therefore the way you write the bid is completely different.
How concerned are you that more G-Cloud spending is shifting towards the big consultancies such as Capgemini and Deloitte?
People like Methods are doing really well. They sit somewhere between a body shopping business and a consultancy, and they've grown hugely through it. You've got smaller players dominating central government, and that wouldn't have happened before.
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