G-Cloud is part of our ‘DNA’ at UKCloud. We saw the enormous potential of the game-changing nature of G-Cloud from the start and we’ve been an outspoken champion and key player ever since. We believe G-Cloud is still as relevant and necessary now as it was when it first started 6 years ago. With G-Cloud 10 now open, we’d like to share a few insights to help you to get the most from G-Cloud, and from your partnership with us. Now is the time to assess, refine and add new services so we can best meet the ever-changing cloud market needs and align to our UK public sector customers’ needs.
Huge growth potential
The latest published G-Cloud sales data show year-on-year cumulative growth of £2.85 billion as of December 2017. In reality that figure is expected to have already sailed passed the £3 billion mark, making what began as an ‘experiment’, now an established and critical route to market for cloud service providers, and for many the only route into the UK Public Sector. However, comparing G-Cloud sales against the annual £14.8 billion IT spend across the public sector, demonstrates there is still huge potential for growth, and we expect to see a step-change in the take up of cloud-based services across all areas of the UK Public Sector in the next 12-18 months.
Understanding the buyer landscape
The UK Public Sector encompasses over 36,000 organisations, ranging from big departments such as the Home Office, to local authorities, the NHS, schools, universities, the police and fire and other rescue services. The idea of navigating through thousands of organisations can make this feel impenetrable, yet many small and medium sized organisations are successfully using G-Cloud to gain a foothold based on a few ‘loyal’ customers, and then using this as a platform to scale out. There are no quick and easy formulas to be successful, and with such a large and diverse market, you will need to think through and research who you want to target, whether you want to specialise, and identify specific customers where you should invest effort so you can start to win business.
Much of the public sector is dealing with so many competing priorities, from a need to accelerate digital transformation, to reducing costs, and not least, planning and delivering Brexit. As a result, many UK public sector organisations are struggling and are looking to the market for suppliers that can bring fresh ideas and innovative, competitive solutions. It’s important for us all to engage and understand our customer issues and constraints, (whether these are cost-driven or time pressured) so make every effort to engage with your targeted sectors to understand their drivers and pain points, in order to better anticipate current and future needs.
Understand our customers’ needs
Our customers tell us they need help and access to a wide range of flexible solutions so they can accelerate the modernisation of their legacy IT estates, and importantly, start reaping the benefits from using cloud-based solutions now. To be successful, it’s not enough to be competitive on price, we must demonstrate that we can support them in their cloud adoption journey and address their priorities and issues along the way. If you’re able to bring to customers a combination of value for money, sector knowledge, and can provide flexible, well positioned and scalable solutions, you will stand out from the competition and gain the buyers’ trust.
Data is a key worry and an opportunity for many customers, and as more and more start to grapple with how to unlock and leverage their huge and fragmented data sets, they are realising that the only way forward is to use the power and scale of the cloud. With G-Cloud 10 open, we have the opportunity to think ahead so we can submit innovative solutions that will help meet this demand. We expect storage, analytical and AI-based cloud applications and tools to be key growth areas.
With the introduction of GDPR, where personal data is at stake, transparency and security are of paramount importance. By using UKCloud’s range of solutions and leveraging our in-depth understanding of UK public sector needs and the regulation, we can together offer a set of creative solutions that will help unlock the power of our customers’ data.
Making G-Cloud work for you and your customers
Once you are on G-Cloud, remember your service offerings are available to thousands of organisations and buyers. Ask yourself where on this spectrum are you pitching your services? Are you targeting central government or is your expertise in local government? Do you know the buying process and what search terms buyers are likely to use? So, what can you do to improve your chances of success? To help, we’ve come up with a few hints and tips of how to get the most from G-Cloud:
- G-Cloud allows buyers to buy your services without even talking to you. So, you must help them place your services within their ‘journey to the cloud’ and set out clearly how you will help them
- Use the language that resonates with your customers and build “keywords” into your service description overview to make it as easy as possible for buyers to find your services when searching within the Digital Marketplace. This includes relevant and complementary partner products such as those from UKCloud
- Ensure you include a detailed service definition document for each service as an opportunity to succinctly showcase the features and benefits of what you offer and to demonstrate how you understand their needs
- Embrace and embed the G-Cloud buying process into your own organisation, so you can make it as friction-free for customers to buy your services
- Find out what potential customers think about your ideas. Seek feedback on your services before you submit them so you can position them competitively
- Research what key competitors are offering, set out clear differentiators so you stand out in your benefits and features, and reinforce them in your sales tactics
- Use the Digital Marketplace as a shop-window and align all marketing content on your website so that these promote and link to your G-Cloud services
An ongoing partner success story
G-Cloud has changed the face of the IT market in the public sector, opening the gates to a much wider, more flexible marketplace of suppliers’ services. This has not only encouraged buyers to experiment, but crucially by lowering the barrier to entry, it lowers cost, enabling suppliers to do so too. This makes it much faster and cheaper to buy and to sell and has brought untapped talent and much needed innovation from the UK’s burgeoning tech sector to new markets. The ability to package and offer SaaS solutions using UKCloud as a partner allows you to benefit from our intimate knowledge of G-Cloud and our vast experience of serving the public sector. With our uncompromising approach to security, transparency, and reliability, we are the ideal partner to help you bring your range of services to market.
Peter, Chief Executive Officer of Cloudline Ltd, is helping organisations to drive digital transformation in the public and private sector. Peter is on Twitter @petmiddlet.