IT Systems and Data Protection

12.06.18

G-Cloud 10: small changes, big opportunities

ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

Rafael Cortes, Foehn head of marketing, explains how G-Cloud 10 should be a catalyst for innovative solutions and not a source of complacency.

It was Margaret Thatcher who once said, “you can’t buck the market.” On that occasion, the reference was made in the context of fiscal policy. More generally, though, the powerful laws of supply and demand emerge frequently to remind us of the huge challenge in selling into both business and consumer sectors where there is no demand.

The tenth iteration of G-Cloud is now in progress and, with much focus on the framework, its processes and administrative challenges, it’s easy to lose sight of market demand and the rapidly changing dynamics of the IT sector. To do so distorts the perception of G-Cloud, its purpose and its performance.

For example, over recent years, some suppliers have criticised G-cloud for sluggishness in building business and sales from the public sector. To a great extent, these views are those of G-Cloud pioneers for whom expectations were set back in 2011 when the government planned to shift 50% of new IT spend to cloud-based services by 2015.

Some seven years later in 2018, that target has still not been reached. Similarly, in 2013, a ‘cloud first’ policy was imposed on public sector bodies by government, setting expectations of a widespread migration of IT services to the cloud. Again, there is little evidence that this has taken effect.

In both instances, market conditions have been stronger than government directives. Spending cuts, lack of in-house resources, risk perception, training requirements... the list of market factors at work resisting purchase is a lengthy one. The point is, though, G-Cloud is not on that list.

Of course, there are success stories – and there’s no denying that the £3 billion purchased through G-Cloud from nearly 3000 registered suppliers may be small in the scale of the opportunity, but is still a significant achievement. Often, those who have succeeded are those who have not lost sight of the adage, ‘Sell, don’t tell.’

It’s not enough just to sign up to G-Cloud and wait for a purchase order. G-cloud is simply a facilitator that has little bearing on the public sector requirement and should not detract from the usual sales and marketing effort necessary to build relationships and confidence between supplier and customer.

Suppliers can’t rely on G-Cloud to generate business and need to play smarter. The perennial complaint from smaller businesses, that they are losing out to the bigger suppliers, is typical of those that perceive G-cloud as some kind of magic wand.

At Foehn, we’ve been providing VoIP communications since the year 2000. When it comes to providing cloud phone systems and cloud contact centres, we know all about competing with (and beating) big suppliers in the quest for local government work. Whilst G-cloud puts us on a level playing field, there are many occasions when we have to box above our weight and it’s naive to assume that public sector buyers will simply disregard larger brands.

That’s why, at an early opportunity, we demonstrate clearly the strength of our reputation, client list, financial stability, etc. With those boxes ticked, buyers then see the true value and advantages of our services.

For the smaller supplier, there’s a big opportunity to capitalise on the agility, personal service and innovativeness that being ‘small’ brings. It’s all about using small business strengths to be better. In particular, it’s important to demonstrate how a smaller, dedicated team can be responsive whilst offering the right combination of talent.

Foehn, for example, is a cloud communications product developer, a licensed telecommunications company with a business grade telephony infrastructure and professional services team with the expertise to address more complex requirements of larger organisations.

SMEs need to remember that after G-Cloud has opened the door, it’s still business as usual. ‘G-cloud helps those who help themselves’ and the evidence of that is in our successes and those of other agile businesses. Our customers at Boston District Council and the Local Government Ombudsman bear testament to this approach.

The recent launch of G Cloud10 was positive news. The 12-month delay, anticipated last November, has been averted and the updated framework will be in action from this month. This is good news to the many suppliers that have been awaiting this iteration and this is reflected in a much higher initial intake of applications from new suppliers compared to last time.

Updates include the inclusion of cybersecurity as a category – a timely and needed addition that will appease risk-sensitive public sector managers who have held back from cloud deployments for far too long, fearing security threats that hit the media headlines all too frequently. Other admin improvements help both existing and new G Cloud applicants renew participation and streamline the supply of information.

I liken G-cloud to passport control at the airport where recent improvements and digital passports have turned a nightmare experience of queuing and delays into a simple, rapid process. Once through the barriers, though, nothing has changed and the battle with train strikes and traffic jams continues. Similarly, G-Cloud is making huge improvements, but the supplier’s journey to winning business from the public sector still relies on competing hard, identifying market demand, solving problems and using good sales and marketing skills to win the sale.

For the public sector, small can be beautiful. The upside is innovative solutions and a better customer experience from agile suppliers who are better equipped to deliver the right cloud technology with professional services excellence.

At Foehn, we achieve that by fulfilling three important roles: a platform and product developer, a licensed telecommunications company with a business grade telephony infrastructure, and a provider of key services, including PCI compliance, professional services and International Numbers. It is this combination of talent and support that G Cloud recognises, thereby giving the buyer a more accurate view of our capabilities.

To book a demo or discuss your VoIP and cloud contact centre needs, please contact us at www.foehn.co.uk

 

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Yorkshire council chiefs threaten pull out of asylum seeker housing project

20/08/2018Yorkshire council chiefs threaten pull out of asylum seeker housing project

Council bosses in Yorkshire are considering pulling out of an asylum seeker programme that gives homes to over 5,000 people unless the current pr... more >
Developer in £13m legal wrangle with Northumberland now plans to take council to High Court

17/08/2018Developer in £13m legal wrangle with Northumberland now plans to take council to High Court

A property developer who launched a £13m legal bid against Northumberland County Council says it has been banned from sharing vital informa... more >
High Court allows London council to fine and imprison illegal campers

17/08/2018High Court allows London council to fine and imprison illegal campers

A council has successfully obtained a High Court injunction allowing it to use greater powers – from fines and asset seizure to imprisonmen... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
One in 10 people facing care costs of over £100,000

20/08/2018One in 10 people facing care costs of over £100,000

One in 10 older people are facing care costs of over £100,000, with many not saving enough to pay for care in later life, new research shows. Analysis by ‘Which?’ indicates... more >
Care services for vulnerable children in ‘silent crisis,’ new analysis shows

20/08/2018Care services for vulnerable children in ‘silent crisis,’ new analysis shows

Over 13,000 vulnerable children are receiving care in areas rated in the lowest standard of support, damning new analysis has found. Local services for children in need of help were dubbed a... more >

the raven's daily blog

Don’t horse around! Council finds new home for house-bound pony

13/08/2018Don’t horse around! Council finds new home for house-bound pony

A council that took four years in a legal wrangle to remove a pony from an Isle of Lewis house may have found the four-legged beast a new home. Western Isles council removed Grey Lady Too – a Connemara pony that was taken into the home by pensioner Stephanie Noble on Christmas Eve in 2011 – from its residence in 2014 because i... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

A new era of opportunity for the north

13/08/2018A new era of opportunity for the north

It’s time to stop seeing transport investment as a nice-to-have: it’s a cut-through catalyst for growth in sectors across the north. ... more >
Creating a council cloud-first approach

13/08/2018Creating a council cloud-first approach

Georgina Maratheftis, programme manager for local government at techUK, makes the case for wider adoption of cloud technology by local authoritie... more >
Council mergers: little gain, less democratic

13/08/2018Council mergers: little gain, less democratic

Dr Linze Schaap, associate professor at the Tilburg Centre for Regional Law and Governance, and Dr Niels Karsten, assistant professor at the Tilb... more >
The strength of districts

13/08/2018The strength of districts

Cllr Isobel Darby, member lead for quality of life at the District Councils’ Network (DCN) and leader of Chiltern District Council, shares ... more >

interviews

Modern policing: the future is bright

06/08/2018Modern policing: the future is bright

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The public sector, and policing in particular, has often been criticised as being slow to adapt to change. But now, says L... more >
Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

06/08/2018Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

Michael King first joined the Local Government Ombudsman service back in 2004 as deputy ombudsman. At the start of 2017, he was appointed as the ... more >
Helping a city understand itself

06/08/2018Helping a city understand itself

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The urban landscape is changing. How can local authorities keep up with citizen behaviour? Stephen Leece, managing directo... more >
Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >

public sector focus

View all News