The government has outlined plans to try and unlock more public sector spending on IT through its Digital Marketplace. The aim is to ensure at least half of all spend on IT and technology is made with SMEs.
Government Digital Services (GDS) revealed the strategy in a blog post, noting that the public sector spent £6.9bn on IT services and products between 2011 and 2012.
As such, GDS said that this level of spending shows the potential for more IT services to be procured across the public sector through the Digital Marketplace.
The GDS strategy involves improving the Digital Marketplace and attached G-Cloud framework so that more IT spending can be carried out through the platform.
Seven action points underpin the strategy. These include ensuring that the right products and services are on offer for the varied IT needs of different public services, encouraging awareness of Digital Marketplace use, and promoting competition on the platform among suppliers.
Part of the strategy, which was touched on by GDS director Tony Singleton at Cloud Expo, aims to lower the barriers of entry for SMEs onto the Digital Marketplace.
GDS hopes that this will provide a diverse range of services that meets the specific needs of different parts of the public sector.
"It is the government's ambition that at least 50 percent of spending on new government IT flows to SMEs directly and in the supply chain," GDS said.
Naureen Khan, associate director for central government at TechUK, said that the new strategy shows the government recognising that it must do more to create a competitive and open market for public sector technology procurement.
"Industry and government share a common vision of genuine digital marketplaces that allow government to access the very best the industry has to offer," she added.
Khan also said that the G-Cloud has been viewed as a success, and praised its inclusion in the Digital Marketplace strategy.
"It's refreshing to see the government acknowledge the real challenge of getting the wider public sector to drive more spending through G-Cloud," she said.
"The key to this is simplification and better engagement with buyers and suppliers, and we fully support the commitment to a 'one place to go' approach."
The government is also trying to drive more digital technology adoption through the creation of government-as-a-platform, which aims to provide a suite of universal services for the public sector to integrate easily into its fold.
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