Eria Odhuba, resident analyst relations lead at The Comms Crowd, looks at the opportunities and challenges for those public sector tech vendors mining the G-Cloud.
|What lies at the end of the G-Cloud rainbow?|
While 2015 might not necessarily be ‘make or break’ time for suppliers if they don’t get a bigger slice of the G-Cloud pie, we think one trend that will become more entrenched: there will be a small group of providers winning a disproportionately larger share of contracts, leaving the rest fighting over the scraps.
There are some vendors that are excellent at articulating their value propositions clearly and have the right staff, or well-designed systems, in place to get their messages out to their target market. More often than not, they will attract a bigger share of leads which, in turn, gives them more opportunities to convert these into contracts.
Now, the UK government is no longer dragging its feet when it comes to exploring new and innovative models for IT spend and execution. As belts are tightened, it really wants to make sure it is getting value for money and look out for a larger number of suppliers that could potentially contribute to its success. So discussions about cloud computing, agile software development, security, BYOD etc will be as intense, if not more, as you will find in forward thinking private sector firms. This should not surprise anybody anymore!
The rise of the Public Services Network (PSN) and increased awareness of the benefits PaaS offerings could provide will see more government departments exploring cloud adoption and / or sourcing more complex requirements via the CloudStore.
So the opportunity is clearly there to make a mark via G-Cloud, which is great for smaller suppliers. However, it also throws up a massive challenge for them. With more suppliers signing up to G-Cloud month after month, it is getting harder to reach the key public sector decision makers who need to understand what is on offer. Being human, they can’t process indefinite amounts of information and spend their time talking to every supplier there is.
The other important thing to note is that success in one area of the public sector is increasingly noted in other parts, so whoever is in charge of implementing a new IT system or product might want that success replicated in their departments using the same supplier. In many ways, this makes sense. If you know a supplier can consistently deliver quickly, without going over budget, you’d be crazy not to speak to them. So suppliers that have got a string of wins under their belt are in a great position.
Suppliers that are only signing up now or who have not had a chance to show what they can really deliver need to find a way of providing the evidence they can do so. They also need a creative way of informing the public sector decision makers and IT community about their solutions or products, engage with them appropriately via social media and participate at the right events. Quite a lot to think about which, if not done properly, will mean they don’t get to sit at the table with the other winners.
Some industry analysts predict more commoditisation of products and services in subsequent iterations of the G-Cloud Framework. If this results in further commoditization of IT and lower costs, many would argue that is great for the public sector.
For suppliers, there is a trap to avoid though. The last thing many want to do is simply fight contracts based on cost. This tends to be a quick route to disaster. Value is what suppliers should be thinking of. What value do they bring to the table and how will this benefit their customers?
Getting to the stage where suppliers can articulate their value propositions clearly and hit their target market effectively, with evidence to support what they say, will be the keys to survival within G-Cloud.
2015 will be a good year for those that do, and a pretty harsh one for those that don’t.