The government's G-Cloud procurement service has launched its G-Cloud 4 (G4) version of the platform as the service reaches over 1,000 businesses on its books offering 13,000 services.
The intention for G-Cloud is to both reduce the cost of cloud service procurement for public sector departments and to increase the share of business going to SMEs. The scheme is also intended to assist with the government's "cloud-first" policy whereby all departments consider cloud-based solutions before they proceed with on-premise purchases.
G4 adds services to G-Cloud's roster that do not fall into the three other "as a service" categories, allowing for more support-based services for departments taking on cloud services.
The Cabinet Office, which oversees G-Cloud, claims that 84 percent of the businesses on G-Cloud are SMEs, while 58 percent of spending on the service has gone the way of smaller firms. However, many of G-Cloud's biggest transactions have gone the way of established giants such as IBM and Microsoft.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said of the G4 announcement: "SMEs are a source of innovation and a crucial engine for growth. We will continue to knock down the barriers that have prevented them from winning public sector work in the past."
G-Cloud director Tony Singleton added that the latest iteration of G-Cloud had been informed by industry feedback. "For G4, we have fed in valuable intelligence and opinions from buyers and suppliers," he said. "But the job of lowering barriers to participation and making the process as easy and open as possible goes on."
Earlier in October, total spending on G-Cloud crossed the £50m mark, firmly establishing it in the government procurement ecosystem. However, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is now conducting a study into government IT procurement services to ensure that IT buyers are getting value for money from the services.
The OFT's investigation will also cover perceived high barriers of entry for smaller businesses onto schemes like G-Cloud, making sure red tape and due diligence is not affecting their chances to obtain government business.
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