G-Cloud III launch riles industry watchers

News Jane McCallion Jan 9, 2013
Cloud Maze
Cloud Maze

Industry watchers weigh up risks of widening G-cloud remit

The introduction of new categories into the Government’s G-Cloud procurement framework could stymie public sector cloud adoption, industry watchers have warned.

The third iteration of G-cloud is due to begin its procurement phase this week and features three new categories of vendor.

The Cabinet Office said the inclusion of the new categories, which include identity services, service integration and service management tools and software support, was based on user feedback.

However, several industry watchers have warned Cloud Pro that widening G-Cloud's remit could cause fragmentation, stifle innovation, and could prompt government bodies to shun cloud.

Alastair Mitchell, CEO and founder of software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Huddle, said the introduction of more suppliers and larger integrators could put public sector users off cloud.

“If [the Government] really wants to drive cloud uptake they need to stay focused on a small number of highly specialised cloud services. They also need to introduce initiatives like the US has done...where you specify that services worth over a certain amount must be procured from a cloud vendor, unless there is not one available,” Mitchell told Cloud Pro.

Georgina O’Toole, a public sector-focused research director from analyst TechMarketView, shared Mitchell’s concerns, and said there is also a greater risk of "cloud washing" as the list of G-Cloud services grows.

“What is important is whether the solution is offering best value for the government organisation and whether it is a lower cost solution that still offers the required functionality,” O’Toole told Cloud Pro.

Conversely, Kate Craig-Wood, CEO of hosting provider Memset, cautiously welcomed the introduction of the new categories, saying they would bring in more SaaS providers.

Speaking to Cloud Pro, Craig-Wood added: “It does mean [the Cabinet Office] are limiting innovation, to an extent ... because they want things to be commodotised, but [they could] exclude a lot of SaaS products because they do not fit into a particular category."