Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has opened the government’s digital marketplace.
The digital marketplace replaces the current CloudStore, offering public sector organisations a single place to access and buy IT commodities and services – such as site analytics and hosting services – from G-Cloud.
The digital platform will also become the single store for buyers in the second iteration of the Digital Services framework when it launches in 2015.
It has been built using an agile, user-centric design approach, so it can be continually adapted and improved based on user feedback, Maude said, while demonstrating its use.
“As part of our long-term plan, this government has been levelling the playing field and opening up digital procurement to the widest range of suppliers, including SMEs,” he said.
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“We know that the range of frameworks and stores can be confusing. That’s why the new digital marketplace, which makes it clearer, simpler and faster for the whole of the public sector to buy digital products and services when it needs to, is a vast improvement for both supplier and customer,” said Maude.
The single platform will result in better IT services delivery for the public and will include a mix of large and small suppliers.
Reshaping IT procurement
The marketplace is part of the government’s vision of developing a new way of buying IT, according to Mike Bracken, executive director of GDS.
“Modern services need to be continually iterated and improved to meet users' needs. And we need a platform that allows us to flexibly commission what we need to deliver those services, drive down cost and drive up value,” Bracken said.
The launch is also part of the government’s drive to create a more open and competitive market that gives the public sector access to the best technology and digital services available.
Frameworks such as G-Cloud and Government Digital Service mean government buyers can choose from a wide range of quality suppliers at the right price.
The current iteration of the G-Cloud framework has 1,517 suppliers – 88% of these are SMEs – and in excess of 16,000 services. Total spend has now reached £314m through the framework, with 53% going to SMEs, the government confirmed.