In the past, concerns over privacy, security and reliability have prevented many large-scale organisations in the public sector migrating to cloud computing systems and services.
However, with the advent of G-Cloud, and the drive by government, Liam Maxwell and the Cabinet Office to bring SMB suppliers into local and central government, it is becoming clear that a brave new world is fast approaching.
The government is certainly showing signs of full commitment to the implementation of cloud computing. For instance, the recent adoption of Office 365 by the Houses of Parliament is a good example, showing commitment that also translates into results.
G-Cloud is the government's vehicle for fundamental change to the public sector's procurement and IT use. This emerging framework should also increase opportunities for vendors and the channel to get involved with public sector IT provision.
However, while the government has repeatedly released figures showing that it has given more business to SMB suppliers, the biggest change will come when the top 10 current providers of government IT open their eyes and doors to innovative technologies from SMBs, implementing such offerings wherever appropriate in large government IT projects.
As things stand, though, it is hard to gauge the total amount of business that is filtering down to SMBs from the larger suppliers to government organisations.
This is despite many of the big technology suppliers announcing they are actively engaging more with SMB suppliers in order to position themselves as desirable providers within the Cabinet's Office's new plans.
If we are to get anywhere near the government's vision for future public sector IT, the major systems integrators must move to embrace more nimble, innovative, and forward-thinking technology providers - and many of these are smaller companies.
However, some of the big guys are making solid moves in this direction. HP's SMEngage programme springs to mind as a great example of how innovative technology can be used within public sector projects.
A fit-for-purpose government IT strategy for G-Cloud needs to take advantage of new technologies in order to deliver faster business benefits and reduce costs. It also needs to do this to meet environmental and sustainability targets.
However, the adoption of innovative tech by government will be driven as much by the big IT service providers as it will by the G-Cloud framework itself.
So despite the amount of business currently being transacted through G-Cloud, more commitment to cloud-based services is required. Certainly, economies of scale in IT procurement can be achieved through these policies and practices - but ensuring access to innovative technologies from the range of companies out there, including SMBs, is crucial.
An innovative and nimble G-Cloud will also ensure the IT systems and offerings that are delivered remain flexible, cost efficient and responsive to demand - thus supporting ambitious government policies and strategies now and into the future.
Although there are many different types of companies in the B2B channel, the public sector contract has always been a potentially lucrative opportunity for many resellers and related providers. That is likely to continue.
If anything, public sector opportunities look set to increase dramatically as the government seeks to reduce the dominance of the big systems integrators. Specialist channel players, whether offering innovative products or aggregating a range of services, stand to benefit from the Cabinet Office's push.
Key to this will be a simplification of public sector procurement, again with the G-Cloud as standard bearer. The changes may appear to be off to a slow start, but I have no doubt that they will clear the path for a new wave of channel partners to win government contracts.
So long as the current and future governments remain committed to G-Cloud, there is huge potential for those in the channel who crack the formula. It suggests an exciting future.
However, you have to be smart, very persistent, and work your socks off to make it happen.
Christian Nagele is chief executive and founder of CentraStage
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