The Cabinet Office has launched its CloudStore service with the aim of bringing flexible, on demand IT procurement to government departments.
As part of the government’s G-Cloud strategy, a list of suppliers has been made available to departments to get their hands on a range of cloud-based services.
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude heralded the CloudStore as “an important milestone in the Government’s ICT strategy to deliver savings and an IT system fit for the 21st century”. Following its launch he also claimed the cloud service would allow for “quicker, easier, cheaper and more transparent” IT procurement.
It is widely hoped that the store will help avoid some of the fiascos which have dogged government IT. By providing a more flexible approach to “pay-as-you-go” IT services, as the Cabinet Office puts it, there is optimism that the ‘cartel’ of big firms landing hefty contracts could be broken up.
As part of the government’s cloud strategy it wants to bring about a “level playing field” for smaller business. Whether this will happen remains to be seen.
With the first wave of bids a total of 1,700 services are now on offer through the CloudStore catalogue, with 257 accredited suppliers. These include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
While the service has sought to increase the presence of SMEs, many of the big names of government IT supply are still present.
CapGemini, one of the big players in government IT supply, is among the companies which will form part of the catalogue of suppliers and services.
Also present is Computer Sciences Corporation, days after chalking up a massive $1.49 billion contract write-off following its high-profile bungling of the NHS electronic patient’s record project.
Prior to the launch, one of the suppliers, ElasticHosts, told TechEye of the potential of the GCloud to strategy to shake up the government IT industry – just as long as departments are willing to actually use the services.
If all goes to plan, then the cloud strategy should allow the government to save a load of cash that would otherwise be splashed on hefty contracts.