The recent G-Cloud in Practice conference in London highlighted that G-Cloud is absolutely key if central government is to spend 25 per cent of its budget through SMBs.
The framework has been clear in its aim of encouraging the public sector to look at the truly innovative offerings available and moving away from the traditional SI relationships.
Of the 800 approved suppliers on the G-Cloud framework, 80 per cent are SMBs, something it is believed can only be a good thing for everyone involved.
The days of the large SIs dominating the public sector market are coming to an end. The flexibility and innovative nature of SMB offerings means a turnaround in public sector IT procurement and implementation.
They are no longer committed to long-term, expensive contracts and are now exposed to a new set of offerings and companies to which they could not have had access before.
The traditional security concerns around working with SMBs, and cloud services, are being addressed through the framework.
We see the likes of the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defence embracing G-Cloud. Being ISO 27,001- and ISO 9001-certified has helped us overcome some of the barriers – as has being accredited to the Cloud Industry Forum's Code of Practice.
ISO27001 in particular is a large part of what is required to be accredited to IL1 and IL2 and put businesses in a good position for the higher IL3 level of data security.
SMB suppliers have backed the programme since its inception. More information, guidance and reassurance is now getting to the public sector as well, so we expect to see SMB sales increase over the next few months.
The government has recognised a huge flaw in the previous IT procurement process and acted on it. Targets it has set for increasing its business with SMBs and the G-Cloud framework are a step in the right direction.
But this should not be seen as a case of positive discrimination. SMBs can and will deliver truly innovative solutions at a lower cost. This will help government departments achieve cost savings and efficiencies without damaging frontline services.
Peter Groucutt is managing director of Databarracks
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