A year ago the Cabinet Office announced its cloud-first strategy. All IT projects should be based on cloud unless there are specific reasons for them not to be.
G-Cloud procurement has also continued to expand, with some strong numbers announced around sales and significant SMB representation so far.
Yet the majority of public-sector sales remain on traditional procurement frameworks. Local government organisations, NHS bodies and other public sector bodies can use G-Cloud so why aren't they?
Whose responsibility is it to get more business through the framework? Is it the government? Should channel companies look at this as part of their work around business development? Or should vendors include a discussion of G-Cloud when selling to public sector organisations alongside their partners?
In truth, the answer is probably a mix of all three. G-Cloud packages up services for public sector consumption, but it remains the responsibility of all the companies on the framework to actually market those services.
G-Cloud can make things easier for public sector buyers, particularly on the line of business side. Education can help public sector organisations explore their options and it should also encourage more uptake of cloud services in general.
For suppliers not on the framework - and our company is one of those - the opportunity around G-Cloud relies on working with partners that are listed.
At this point, vendors have to think ahead about what they offer and where they specifically fit with public sector use cases.
This encourages more partnership work and cooperation around offerings. For services providers and channel organisations that are listed on the framework, this can lead to further cloud offerings developed with vendor partners and based on customer needs.
The additional benefit here for those public sector customers is that they should get offerings that deliver better results for them.
More opportunities will come through for partners if they put themselves forward -- getting more proactive -- to their vendors as well. This has to be connected to how organisations ease the cloud migration process, as there are still challenges on the technical side.
Migrating customers to the cloud is easy to say, harder to do. There are process and people issues that have to be considered and countered, such as down-time.
The customer experience around cloud should remain positive. At the same time, public sector organisations have a huge investment in their existing infrastructure, so they are probably keener on "lift and drop" migrations to cloud rather than starting from scratch.
Going by the conversations I have had, cloud computing in the public sector remains in its infancy. However, G-Cloud is here to stay and will continue to evolve as more bodies adopt cloud.
The opportunity around cloud and the public sector has to be based on the fundamental rules of marketing: building better products that suit the customer, then making it easier for that customer to buy.
Ian Masters is regional director for northern Europe at Vision Solutions
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