Cloud computing has been revolutionizing the way information technology solutions are being delivered. The key feature of virtualization and scaling are apt for serving peak periods and large volumes which are often are usual phenomena in government services.
UK government has initiated G-Cloud programme to use cloud computing for delivering public services. The platform also called Government Digital marketplace is a central, online procurement platform for digital projects in the public sector. It is an efficient and effective way to access the technology and people needed to achieve key digital outcomes.
“G-Cloud went live in February 2012. Since 2012, there have been over £1.2 billion savings through spending controls, including £450 million saved in 2016 to 2017 alone.”
To enable wider adoption of G-Cloud, central government has adopted a cloud first policy, wherein public sector organization are supposed to give preference to potential cloud solution, before looking at alternate solution. Considering the volume of digital systems that are being placed including big ticket projects such as Smart City, digital marketplace shall prove to be big saver of tax payer’s money. More than the convenience and savings, Digital Marketplace is an enabler of transparency and reduces corruption in public procurement and grants. The focus on increasing transparency and equality to offer their services helps UK in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.
Digital Marketplace adopts a user-centric, design led approach, and has been created in collaboration with real world buyers from both central government and the wider public sector as well as suppliers. The simplification of entering into the list of suppliers for public sectors has reduced entry barriers for smaller organization to offer their services.
Following statistics released in 2018 are encouraging and indicate equality in participation.
The are 3 different arrangement between government and suppliers also called frameworks to procure services or infrastructure from Digital Marketplace. The frameworks are:
- Digital outcomes, digital specialists and user research services through the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework
- Cloud services (for example, cloud hosting, software and support) through the G-Cloud framework
- Physical datacentre space through the Crown Hosting Data Centres framework provided by Crown Hosting Datacenter Limited.
Following services can be obtained for digital projects in public sector:
- Find an individualist specialist: One can find a specialist such as a developer or a user researcher for a specific piece of work. For the project, public organization may come up with requirement, get budget approval, assess specialist as per the published evaluation criteria, post answers to supplier queries and award the contract.
- Find a team to provide an outcome: One can find a team to provide a digital outcome such as a reservation system. The contract award process remains similar to hiring an individual specialist.
- Find user research participants: Public organizations need to tell suppliers about the type of participants that they want to test their service with. The contract award process remains the same as hiring a specialist, and may be completed in 4 weeks.
- Find a user research lab: Organizations need to tell suppliers what lab facilities are needed and when. Accordingly, suppliers will estimate and share the price. Suppliers response is evaluated on availability, location, facilities, accessibility and price.
- Find cloud hosting, software and support: The digitial outcome that needs to be met must be very clear. To start with the organization should identify the requirements, and accordingly search and assess the service that best meets the scope and budget. The arrangement is via Crown Commercial Service, who will look into issue with supplier post award of contract.
- Buy physical datacenter space: The Crown Hosting service offers:
- – mission critical datacenters
- – secure environment for transition to the cloud
- – a flexible, pay-for-what-you-use model
- – power uptime availability that exceeds Tier III
- – leading environmental performance