G-Cloud offers niche software providers an opportunity to develop applications the government never dreamt possible. As Alan Gleeson, of Keelvar argues, the real benefits of G-Cloud are far greater than even the most avid proponents have argued.
Up until recently, many governments have been too prescriptive in defining ICT solutions in their procurement. Amongst other things, this stifled innovation. However the increasing adoption of G-Cloud is radically changing this landscape and as I will argue below the scale of the savings will be even greater than ever imagined.
G-Cloud proponents like Denise McDonagh and Chris Chant have typically argued the case for G-Cloud based on the level of savings in ICT procurements (amongst other things).
However, what they have not taken into consideration is the additional savings over and above ICT procurement. They underestimated the impact of G-Cloud because it has transformed how all government procurement can be conducted.
The reason is simple. Many breakthrough innovations come from SME providers and providing an innovative platform allows entrepreneurship to flourish. One need only look at the iTunes platform/ iOS App store to see how it has created a vibrant and thriving ecosystem, replete with over 900,000 apps available to buy.
Take Keelvar, for example. Our procurement software is an example of an innovative software as a service (SaaS) offering now available to all via the G-Cloud Store. Keelvar is focused on securing efficiencies from procurement regardless of the spend category, so the reach goes beyond mere ICT in terms of driving potential savings. Want to secure savings on a range of categories from courier services to transport? You can now, by using Keelvar as part of G-Cloud.
Why G-Cloud is about to take off?
While suppliers have jumped on board with real enthusiasm (more than 700 at last count), the spend has yet to reach the levels initially expected. Given the compelling benefits from using cloud services (and the fact that the Government is mandating its use in 50% of IT spend by 2015) why has G-Cloud use not been greater to date?
Is there a problem?
There is none really. Adoption can just take a little longer to reach a critical mass. The range of possible reasons for lower adoption rates are likely to be significant including; long-term contracts, education, risk aversion, inertia, and switching costs. This resistance to change is neither new nor unexpected - as Machiavelli argued in The Prince as far back as the 16th century.
“.there is nothing more difficult .. or more doubtful of success, than an attempt to introduce a new order of things..”
In more recent times, Geoffrey Moore describes in Crossing the Chasm (1991), some of the challenges faced by visionaries and innovations in an I.T context. Early adopters embrace new technologies, but they represent one small segment. The ‘chasm’ he refers to in the book title relates to the gap in adoption rates between these early adopters and the much larger group of pragmatists as he refers to them as.
At the heart of the problem is the fact this chasm needs to be crossed and this takes some time as well as some further education so objections are overcome and inertia is discouraged. What is also needed is a greater willingness amongst public sector procurement employees to take that first step procuring through G-Cloud when the opportunity presents itself.
In summary, we just need a little more patience. G-cloud is simply following the path most new innovative breakthroughs do. However, the other point to bear in mind is that the innovative G-Cloud framework permits other procurement mechanisms like Keelvar’s to sit on top, delivering a multiplicative effect and ensuring that the associated benefits and savings are spread across all areas of spend.
Image Source: (Flickr - hamptonroadspartnership)