The second iteration of the G-Cloud framework is now up and running, offering the public sector an increased number of cloud computing services from a broader range of suppliers.
The G-Cloud initiative was first launched in February this year with the aim of bringing a range of cloud computing suppliers to government to increase the flexibility in procurement contracts.
The second iteration of the supplier framework will offer the public sector a choice of 3,000 services from 458 suppliers, three-quarters of which are small and midsize businesses (SMBs).
This compares to the original G-Cloud framework, which was around half the size of what it is now, with 257 suppliers, offering 1,700 services.
The release date of the second iteration of the G-Cloud has been postponed by five months, due to the government having to process the large amount of feedback from the supplier community.
Much of this was to do with the mechanics of the G-Cloud, like the need to put in place tools to help suppliers tender, according to a statement made on a blog by G-Cloud programme director Denise McDonagh.
The G-Cloud framework is the backbone to the CloudStore, and is the marketplace where suppliers compete for a contract with the Government Procurement Services to offer their services to the public sector.
The CloudStore, where suppliers list their services, was updated in May, offering an improved search engine, and ratecards that allow government departments to compare services and standard configuration prices side by side.
According to the government, there have now been 99 purchases of IT services through the CloudStore, totalling more than £2.2m, and 70 percent of this spend (more than £1.5m) has been with SMEs.
"The high representation of SMEs on both G-Cloud frameworks and in purchases from CloudStore are positive signs that government is moving away from dependence on a small number of large suppliers for IT services," said McDonagh.
"It also demonstrates growing support for the G-Cloud concept. We are creating a truly competitive and diverse marketplace that encourages service providers to improve the quality and value of the solutions they offer, reducing the cost to taxpayers and suppliers, who also benefit from the speed and ease of procurement that G-Cloud offers."
The second iteration of the G-Cloud is a 12-month framework, with scope for individual contracts of up to 24 months.
The original G-Cloud framework only allowed supplier contracts to last for 12-months, and the intention of the government was to lower this contract period so suppliers could be added to the framework an ongoing basis
This would enable new software and services to be made available to the public sector continuously. However this does not appear to have happened.
McDonagh was unavailable for comment.
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