The UK's top resellers and MSPs generated over £100m of sales though G-Cloud last year as the government framework surged past £5bn in total sales.
Launched in 2012 with the aim of giving smaller tech providers greater access to government business, G-Cloud is now a big money spinner for many firms in the CRN VAR 350, including the five firms interviewed in this article. Applications for the twelfth iteration of the framework opened on 3 March.
Looking at the latest G-Cloud spending data (which goes up to January 2020), by our calculations some 65 (or 19 per cent) of the VAR 350 made at least one sale via the cloudy framework in calendar 2019. Some 54 generated G-Cloud sales of over £100,000 last year, with 29 racking up sales of over £1m and eight over £5m.
CRN's upcoming Top G-Cloud Suppliers, available exclusively to CRN Essential subscribers, ranks the top G-Cloud providers in our market by sales, both for calendar 2019, and all-time.
Ahead of the launch of the report, below we have published Q&As we conducted with four of the 29 G-Cloud suppliers included in the VAR 350 with revenues last year of £1m-plus, as well as with a fifth firm - Microsoft partner Core Technology - which is not in VAR 350 due to it not reporting revenue but which is nevertheless one of the most successful VARs/MSPs on G-Cloud.
This quintet of firms have powerful insights to share on how they've built lucrative revenue streams around G-Cloud, where they've gone wrong, and what advice they would have for budding suppliers looking to get a toehold on the framework.
We count them down here in ascending order.
2019 G-Cloud sales: £1.26m (26th in VAR 350)
All-time G-Cloud sales: £4.57m
All-time G-Cloud ranking: 239th overall (28th in VAR 350)
Largest G-Cloud client: Highways England (£914,000)
Representative: Alun Rogers, founder
Where have you had the most success on G Cloud?
Primarily across data and cloud migrations.
What was your formula for success on G-Cloud last year?
We put a lot of work into refining our portfolio. A few years ago, GDS looked at all the tech roles across government and standardised them. We took them and mapped that to our own consulting roles to make sure we're able to use DDAT [digital, data and technology] as a descriptor, because when clients go out through G-Cloud they may be looking for DDAT-compliant roles.
Has G-Cloud achieved its original aims?
It's been very successful in terms of opening up the market and introducing competition. But it's now at a point where it's probably less useful. It's no longer a list of premium suppliers who are capable of meeting a bar.
The smarter suppliers like us got on early and have done well. But now when you go for things there can be 100 people there. Your qualification needs to be really good now in terms of making sure you don't go for everything.
How could G-Cloud be improved?
Through some kind of grading or tiering, to make it clear to customers which suppliers put the most effort in.
We've started to apply to go into all the frameworks. One we've got on, NHS SBS, offers a lower commission than the commission CCS take on G-Cloud. And it's a more difficult qualification process. There were only 24 people awarded on it. It's a more discerning framework, and the clients can direct award and run mini competitions. So it becomes a better framework for them. The moral of the story might be the G-Cloud is good to cut your teeth and then once you mature - a bit like we did - you start to move into the traditional frameworks where they are a bit harder to get onto.
What is your top tip to start winning business on G-Cloud?
There are two routes. It's about making sure your offer is differentiated, but also offering something that people are looking for. Think about the search terms. Use an information service such as Global Data to understand what people are buying, and then make sure you are building portfolio and search items that match what the market is currently doing. That's something we put a lot of effort into. Because we're on G-Cloud, and DOS, we look on a daily basis and see what people are buying. And then make sure you've got some uniqueness about it.
The other thing is that it's not a build-it-and-they-will-come - you still need to go and sell it.
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