Through the Crown Commercial Service, G-Cloud framework, public sector organisations are provided with the opportunity to easily search for, compare and procure solutions from suppliers and vendors. With over 5,000 government-approved IT suppliers, the G-Cloud framework helps provide organisations with a rapid and transparent procurement route without the need for a lengthy OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) procurement process. As the squeeze on public money continues and organisations strive to make savings and improve service delivery for their customers, using G-Cloud is an ideal way of making the procurement process easier and more cost effective for buyers to find the right solutions to meet their needs.
With the Crown Commercial Service having released its latest framework (G-Cloud 12) in September, Public Sector software and technology suppliers, GOSS, help buyers understand the benefits of procuring through G-Cloud. In an interview with GOSS Bid Manager, Julie Johnson, we discuss first-hand the work that goes into a G-Cloud framework submission and how organisations can reach their digital transformation goals quicker.
How much preparation went into the G-Cloud 12 submission?
“The application process started as soon as G-Cloud 11 launched in July 2019. We monitor the market in order to tailor our ongoing product development strategy, ensuring our solutions are highly competitive both in value and functionality. All feedback we receive throughout the year, including won or lost bids, as well as client project feedback, gets reviewed in order to tailor our submission, making sure it’s relevant, helpful and detailed enough to effectively support buyers in their procurement.
We (GOSS) have 14 services listed on G-Cloud 12, from our low-code configurable platforms, to our out-of-the-box cloud-based applications, as well as our professional cloud support services, all to ensure clients can purchase the best solutions for their needs. This high number of listings does mean we have to spend longer during the application process, however by doing this, we hope to simplify the searching process for our customers.”
How many areas of GOSS were involved in this project?
“All areas of the business were involved in the application process: from Sales and Marketing to Project Management, Client Support, Finance and Legal and of course Product Management and Development (which includes testing and QA). Planning meetings, focus sessions and discussions about the application and the content to be submitted were ongoing as soon as we submitted for the G-Cloud 11 framework. It’s important for all teams at GOSS understand the importance and value of G-Cloud, to ensure we offer the best solutions to our customers.”
GOSS has appeared on 10 previous G-Cloud frameworks, how has the application process changed and is it simpler than it used to be?
“I would say it’s definitely got much easier. I remember the first one I did, the application was more complex, as there were SaaS category specific questions. The later versions are more generic, which is why we feel it’s important all suppliers have a detailed service definition document. The service definitions are now mandatory, I think that’s a good thing. It really ensures the procurement process is fair and transparent.
The Digital Marketplace portal used for the application is easy to use. However, this time around there are lot more vendors applying and there were over 1000 clarifications which had to be reviewed, so it did take longer this time around. All suppliers must commit to performing a self-assessment audit at the end of each framework term, It’s a very in-depth application now.”
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What was the most challenging part of the application process for G-Cloud 12?
“Like any bid submission, it’s generally time management. You’re co-ordinating the team’s busy diaries whilst bidding for other projects alongside delivering business as usual for our customers.”
Why do you think public sector organisations procure via the G-Cloud framework rather than directly with suppliers?
“I think the ease of the procurement process and how quickly it can be done, makes it much cheaper for our customers. Ultimately, speeding up the process and enabling them to reap the rewards of the new service quicker – whether that’s a more effective citizen service or a better integrated end to end system. It’s a quicker and easier way of running a procurement process. The framework terms and conditions are already pre-defined providing a solid safeguard for all parties. There is no need for a potentially long and drawn out legal clarification period.
In our recent experience, procuring through G-Cloud is about 40% quicker than using a traditional ITT process - saving on average 2.5 months for our clients. G-Cloud enables organisations to achieve their goals and digital objectives faster, such as better customer service or increased cost savings.”
How does procuring via the G-Cloud framework give the applicant better transparency of features and costs of suppliers’ listings?
“All suppliers need to submit pricelists and service definitions. We ensure these documents are as detailed as they can be, so that buyers can do cost and functionality comparisons with other suppliers where necessary. With the use of a thorough service definition, buyers can make an informed buying decision. They can also ask suppliers clarification questions about the content within these documents, and if something isn’t stated the buyers are not allowed to query it – making it incredibly important to be detailed. This makes the process transparent as all suppliers can see each other’s service documents.
Although, in our experience, not all suppliers provide such a detailed breakdown, making the process harder for buyers to understand their offered services, which goes against the whole ethos of G-Cloud. Therefore, we would always recommend buyers challenge any suppliers whose pricing documentation and service definitions lack the level of detail required to make a truly informed buying decision.”
What does being accepted onto the G-Cloud 12 framework mean for you and GOSS?
“It’s an essential element of our go to market strategy, we are very proud to be on a framework which has been proven time and time again to be an excellent and effective procurement route, saving time and public money and many public sector clients now prefer to use G-Cloud. At GOSS we want to aid our clients in achieving their digital transformation objectives, G-Cloud offers a quick and safe process to enable them to spend less time buying and more time using, efficiently reaching their business goals.”
GOSS helps organisations to overcome their digital transformation challenges and we look forward to offering our innovative solutions and services within the G-Cloud 12 Framework. We are immensely proud to be an official supplier to the UK Government.
Crown Commercial Service supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. In 2019/20, CCS helped the public sector to achieve commercial benefits worth over £1bn - supporting world-class public services that offer best value for taxpayers. (Para Given in the marketing handbook – check with CCS )