The Cabinet Office has anointed 257 IT and comms suppliers of all shapes and sizes to sell their wares to public sector punters via the CloudStore – an online catalogue of services.
This is the first tranche of government's £60m G-Cloud framework, providing some 1,700 'pay as you go' ICT services through an e-marketplace which is split into four lots: IaaS; PaaS; SaaS; and specialist cloud services (see full list below).
Suppliers that made it through the tender process were unveiled yesterday and rubbing shoulders with the usual integration giants were services-based resellers Computacenter, SCC, Kelway, 2e2 and Trustmarque and a raft of smaller specialist firms.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude claimed CloudStore will make procurement "quicker, easier, cheaper and more transparent for the public sector and suppliers alike".
He said the dynamics of an online market will keep suppliers on their toes, while contracts capped at 12 months and the utility model are expected to prevent any nasty financial surprises.
The tender process was also overhauled to make it easier for SMEs to get involved, with no mammoth pre-qualification questionnaire to wade through.
The Cabinet Office said SMEs made up some 50 per cent of the suppliers that made it onto CloudStore.
Google Apps for Business partner Ancoris is one of those small cloud providers, getting a foot in one lot.
Ancoris MD David McLeman said G-Cloud is a "significant break from the old cartel of large suppliers running massive government IT projects which have dominated public sector IT.
"Previously the cost and complexity of the procurement process deterred many channel specialists from engaging with the sector," he told The Reg.
Kate Craig-Wood, boss at cloud provider Memset, agreed: “G-Cloud has the potential to be enormously disruptive. It heralds the breaking of large systems integrators' strangle-hold over government ICT."
The G-Cloud could wipe £3.2bn off government's £16bn annual IT slush fund, the Treasury estimates, meeting Chancellor George Osborne's target of a 20 per cent cut in spending.
With scores of resellers, vendors, integrators and various specialist provider types competing for business in the CloudStore, margin pressure is inevitable.
The Cabinet Office said that suppliers not on the G-Cloud will be able to reapply for accreditation in the spring. ®