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We work to reduce costs and drive efficiencies in UK Government and public sector IT. Posts in this category are about our work in this area.

How will the G-Cloud framework change over time?

In this video Simon Trigg, Head of Solutions talks about how he thinks the G-Cloud framework will develop. Which services will see the most sales, will G-Cloud still be dominated by consultancy services or will the new Digital Services framework see G-Cloud be solely for commodity services? From the series of interviews – G-Cloud 4: Cultivating Cloud Insight.

Is G-Cloud selling services or knowledge?

With a revised framework (version 3), a new cloud store approaching launch, and sales figures that are now being described as “exponential”, it is getting harder for industry analysts to continue to claim that G-Cloud is a failure (although they keep trying).

The G-Cloud team proudly tweeted some excellent sales figures for March, and the best thing is that the pool of suppliers making sales is growing and becoming more diverse.

I raise this point because in the early days there were a couple of companies making large sales which bumped the figures up, but this did not necessarily make G-Cloud a success with a core of companies winning all the business.

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Is the Government listening to SME feedback?

Since my last blog post concerned with Francis Maude’s mandate for Central Government to engage with SMEs, there have been a number of interesting developments.

In addition to blogging about my recent experiences with the GPS framework, I submitted feedback on our experience to the Cabinet Office ‘Mystery Shopper’ scheme, giving objective reasons for why we felt that the framework process and requirements were obstructive to SMEs.

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How can central government better understand the SME marketplace?

Francis MaudeAs an SME looking to engage with central government procurement we have recently found ourselves caught in a paradoxical situation where Francis Maude’s IT project management guidelines.

These urge government procurement to have greater engagement with SMEs in order to promote the delivery of more successful IT projects – is completely at odds with the reality of recent Government Procurement Service framework requirements.

Historically, SMEs have been reluctant to engage with government procurement due in part to the onerous paperwork associated with gaining access to frameworks; with this in mind I was fairly sceptical when the MD set me the task to get CatN onto the Government Procurement Service framework. Was this going to be a massive waste of time? Did we have any hope of being able to tick all the boxes? Even if we did get through the framework acceptance process would we actually win any contracts? I was asked to track the progress I made and identify all costs associated with getting onto the framework, in order to build up a ‘price’ of getting to the point of submission of the framework document. This would be used as a case study and also to test the GPS’s commitment to minister Maude’s project management guidelines.

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Making sales with G-Cloud

I’m happy to announce that we have made our first sales to UK central government through the G-Cloud programme. This success has come from over a year of work attempting to break into the central government hosting market.

You can find our seller profile on the Cloud Store or view our G-Cloud Services page on the CatN website.

Regular readers of the blog will know about our experiences with various projects such as the Innovation Launchpad. Take a look at some of the links in the search results below if you wish to familiarise yourself.

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Value for money: one year on

At the end of June last year I published a report entitled ‘Does the UK Government get value for money?‘ which analysed the COI’s ‘Reporting on Progress 2009/10′ document. The publication listed key website metrics such as page views, hosting expenditure, and page requests for departmental customer facing websites, not backend applications. Using these metrics I was able to calculate figures such as the cost per request for each department and specific departmental websites in order to analyse performance.

Following this report there was a reasonable amount of press interest, it also formed the basis of my Innovation Launchpad presentations which took me to the final stage (and Downing Street) as one of ten. Now the Cabinet Office has published the 2010/2011 edition of the report it gives me the opportunity to revisit my initial findings and see whether or not if, after a year of lobbying, the UK Government’s new ICT strategy does in fact get value for money.

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G-Cloud Foundation Delivery Partner

Following our success in Innovation Launchpad we have been meeting with various Government departments and civil servants to discuss projects that we can be involved in. The most exciting of these was the new G-Cloud programme, essentially a strategy to begin moving Government IT services to cloud providers. We can view the services we offer on our G-cloud page.

CatN was invited to become a foundation delivery partner and early adopter of the programme. Following various scoping sessions in the new year we will be offering our services in a cloud catalogue, allowing Government to procure on-demand computing services. This will cut out the long 10 year plus contracts that projects are tied in on, and massively reduce expenditure, as well as agility in procuring services. Of course all the benefits that cloud computing offers such as elasticity and resilience will also play a huge factor in improving the way Government procures IT, and also how much it costs them!

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Video of the Innovation Launchpad presentation

Here is the video of the CatN presentation from the Innovation Launchpad presentations on he 19th July 2011. It was kindly sent to me by David Gigg at the Cabinet Office.

Unfortunately the sound quality was not very good, but we have done our best to improve it and I’m happy enough with the quality to post it now.

There are a few photos from the event on the Cabinet Office Flickr stream, and I am told that more photos will be added there soon.

CatN goes to Downing Street

As you may have read in my previous posts, CatN made it to the final stages of the Innovation Launchpad. I was invited to pitch my proposal to a panel of over 100 senior civil servants. Stephen Allot, Crown Commercial Representative (“CCR”) for SMEs at Cabinet Office, commented that, “There is no other room in Europe today that holds as much buying power as this one”.

CatN was in the second phase of presentations for the day and we were pitching to a technical panel, different from the first panel of NHS and DWP experts. Our objective was to engage with Government and make the most of the amazing shortcut that the ILP process had given us.

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Innovation Launch Pad mentoring stages

Following the voting stage outlined in my previous two posts (Experiences with Innovation Launch Pad & Innovation Launch Pad Update), my proposal to save the Government £17,880,000 on their web hosting finished in third position. Based on the Approval Rating I’m happy to say that I was invited to the mentoring stages of the program.

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