G-Cloud 13 Overview

Introduction

If you’re looking take your G-Cloud knowledge to the next-level, then congratulations! You’re in the right place.

Whether you’re looking to get to grips with how it all started or find out how you can get listed on the UK’s largest government framework – this guide has you covered. But first, let’s start with a few quick facts. That way you’ll be under no doubt that G-Cloud is the place to be if you want to sell into the public sector:

  • G-Cloud was first established in 2012 and is currently in its thirteenth iteration (G-Cloud 13)
  • As of January 2021, over 5,000 suppliers were listed on the G-Cloud framework, covering 31,000 different cloud services.
  • In 2019, the UK government spent over £1.3 billion on cloud computing services through G-Cloud
  • Over 90% of G-Cloud Suppliers – including UKCloud – are small to medium – sized businesses (SMBs)
  • Approximately 42% of all G-Cloud spend – £6 billion in total – has been awarded to SMBs

Needless to say, if your organisation is looking to sell into the public sector, then G-Cloud is the best place to start. Not listed? Well, you’ve given yourself an unnecessary mountain to climb. But don’t worry – all is not lost! Grab yourself a coffee and we’ll show you the way. And trust us, you’re in safe hands. We’ve been there and done that when it comes to G-Cloud.

Don’t have time to read the whole thing? Use the table below to jump to the section you’re most interested in.

Let’s start with the basics.

If you’re uncertain as to what a procurement framework actually is – then the rest of this guide will be of little use. However, if you’re au fait with this purchasing lingo, then feel free to skip on ahead.

Put simply, a purchasing framework is an agreement between the framework owner and various suppliers that enables its users to buy listed goods and services without having to run through lengthy procurement cycles. However, to be listed – you must satisfy the framework’s inclusion criteria upfront. When it comes to G-Cloud, organisations are invited to submit their inclusion proposals months before a new version goes live. It’s a one-time lengthy process rather than having to go through potentially countless tenders throughout the year.

The end result? A yellow pages style directory of goods and services that fulfill the needs of its potential users. However, be careful now to confuse this milestone with winning new business. It only means that you’ve been shortlisted for your product or solution type. In many respects, the hard work has only just begun. You still need to find and convince potential buyers than they need whatever it is that you’re selling.

That said, at least your hat is in the ring. You have an infinitely better chance of winning new business by being on the framework than a competitor who isn’t even listed.

  • Consumers get better value for money as preferable rates are negotiated upfront.
  • They reduce transaction costs and enable their users to quickly deploy accredited suppliers. There’s no longer a requirement to go to tender for every new purchase. This is especially favourable in the public sector where strict procurement guidelines are in place.
  • They’re OJEU compliant. This means you don’t have to go through a full European Union procurement process for each purchase.
  • Frameworks present an opportunity to establish long-term relationships between suppliers and users. This open dialogue encourages continuous improvement.
  • If your vendor of choice isn’t listed on the framework, you can either:
    • Choose a different provider that is.
    • Do things the old-fashioned way (provided procurement will let you).
  • Frameworks can be slow to incorporate new solution types when they hit the market. However, the likelihood that you can’t make do without a new, game-changing piece of tech is very slim. G-Cloud typically refreshes their listing once year.

 

Still unsure what a framework could be? Check out this nifty guide by National LGPS Frameworks.

Having quickly talked through the benefits of a procurement framework, it’s easy to see why the UK government were so keen to introduce G-Cloud.

Eager to encourage the wider adoption of cloud-based resources – the government knew that they needed to first make it easier for public sector bodies to procure digital services. Otherwise, all the best intentions would quickly dissolve as they were hit by a sea of red tape. Further to this, introducing a framework of this magnitude would give the government ample opportunity to negotiate hefty discounts knowing that they’d have a weighty framework to lean on.

However, whilst the government would undoubtedly realise numerous procurement benefits – cost-efficiency, access to pre-vetted suppliers, streamlined processes – the government also wanted to use G-Cloud as a chance to level the playing field.

Having faced significant criticism for awarding large IT contracts to only a handful of vendors, the government wanted to remove barriers to entry for SMEs. And whilst there have undoubtedly been some bumps along the way, there can be no argument that the government has delivered on this promise. Since its inception (and up until 2019), over £2.3 billion worth of work had been awarded to SMEs.

Fast-forward a year since its launch, and the government’s eagerness to move away from traditional IT models was compounded by the announcement of the cloud-first strategy. An announcement which made for exciting reading for anyone who’d already secured a spot on the G-Cloud framework.

With public sector bodies encouraged to evaluate cloud-based resources before any other option, a G-Cloud listing had become hot property. Even more exciting perhaps, was the government’s overarching ambition to spend £1 in every £3 with small businesses. Within the space of a year, those that had once thought the public sector to be an immovable object, now had the tools and encouragement they needed to go-to-market.

“When procuring new or existing services, public sector organisations should consider and fully evaluate potential cloud solutions first before considering any other option. This approach is mandatory for central government and strongly recommended to the wider public sector.”

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-cloud-first-policy

And whilst there was no immediate spike after the cloud-first strategy announcement – public sector bodies understandably needed time to plan and strategise their transformation – G-Cloud spend continues to grow year-on-year. In fact, expenditure was almost fifteen times greater in 2019 when in comparison to 2013 spend (£87.9m verus £1,315m). Big numbers.

Spending analysis is provided by GovSpend

Overall G-Cloud Spend

SME versus Non-SME Spend

G-Cloud supplier trends (how many suppliers listed each year)

 

So, we now know that G-Cloud serves as a procurement framework for cloud-based resources – but how might a business go about getting listed? Are they eligible?

As you might expect, there are various hoops organisations need to jump through if they want to get listed. However, simply satisfying the entrance criteria is rarely enough. Sure, doing the bare minimum might be good enough to grab a spot – but the reality is you’re going to be up against thousands of potential suppliers. You really need to go the extra mile if you want to appear high up in the rankings (but more on this later 😉 )

For now, we want to talk you through the various listing options when it comes to G-Cloud. This will give you a greater feel as to where your organisation might fit – and whether it’s worth going through all the efforts to fill out those forms.

And to be crude, this essentially starts and finished with lots. Lots are category types that group similar goods and services all under one overarching theme. Currently G-Cloud has three. Although this has been subject to change since its inception. Lets take a closer look:

Lot One: Cloud Hosting (IaaS and PaaS)

Organisations that fall under Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) and Platform as a Service (Paas) are cloud hosting services that are for processing and storing data, running software or networking,

 

Lot Two: Cloud Software (SaaS)

Lot Two underlines Software as a Service which are applications that are accessed over the internet and hosted in the cloud.

 

Lot Three: Cloud Support

Whilst Cloud support highlights services that help you set up and run your cloud software or hosting services.

Source: G-Cloud buyers’ guide – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

So, what have we learned? Well, if your organisation doesn’t offer a cloud-based solution (i.e., no hardware!!) then you’re unfortunately out of luck. G-Cloud is for cloud-based products and services only. Also, bespoke products and services are a big no no too. G-Cloud is essentially an Argos catalogue for off-the-shelf cloud-based resources.

Did you find a spot where you think your organisation neatly slot in? Well, let’s talk applications. In the next section we’ll run you through the steps you need to go through to submit your application.

Find out when G-Cloud is open for submissions

G-Cloud 13 is already open for submissions with the deadline being May 18th. Within this time you will need to submit an application for each service you wish to sell to G-Cloud customers, with an in-depth price guide, detailed service definition, your terms and conditions (which must not conflict with the G-Cloud terms and conditions) and an optional SFIA Rate Card. Please remember that most of the details you enter in each submission cannot be changed once G-Cloud 13 is live! Therefore, make sure you check all the details and that you supplied as much information about your service and company as possible. Although if you have never applied to sell on the digital marketplace you must create a supplier account to begin the application process. https://www.digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk/suppliers/create/start

Ask some questions

Now you’ve got one foot in the door, the process can take up to 6 months until you consolidate the framework agreement. Don’t fret! Whilst it may seem like a long timeframe it is not a lengthy process, and each step flows into another. So, after all questions are asked, answers get published to the digital marketplace a few months later – hopefully your curiosity will be quelled and applications for G-Cloud closes

Later, you will receive good (or bad) news on whether you were successful in your application! Following a small standstill period, you will reach the expected start day for the framework agreement.

Working with UKCloud

UKCloud have had over 300 partners using our cloud services, and we have been more than happy to support them on their journeys. This number has grown year on year as more partners see the benefits of submitting services on G-cloud, using UKCloud as the underlying service. They realise that many public sector organisations insist on their supplier being on a vetted framework such as G-Cloud. Therefore, we have worked hard on a range of resources for our partners to use in the creation of joint services. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to contact shall@ukcloud.com to find out more.