G-Cloud Death Throes? Is the U.K.’s flagship government Cloud programme dead?

cloudstore_offlineThe G-Cloud programme of Whitehall’s is looking like it just fell down an empty elevator shaft. Once the darling of Government Cloud globally, and the basis for several countries own Government Cloud programmes, it appears its about to expire.

I spent a lot of time studying the G-Cloud model a couple of years back when I was at DIA. It was a good model. It created a level playing field for suppliers who wanted access to Government contracts, which allowed increased local ICT company’s market share, and it set the gold standard for Government using Cloud services.

DIA chose not to follow the model, which is a different story, well covered by this blog over the last couple of years. DIA chose not to facilitate the market providing services to the government sector in the way that G-Cloud did, but instead chose to get itself between the market and the government agencies by creating their own products, wrapped in a lot of commercial constraint and legalese, in my opinion.

The G-Cloud went through several versions, making it easy to access Cloud services, giving great guidance, and saving the U.K. taxpayer a mountain of cash.

So what is going on?

First reports told us that the G-Cloud was being rebranded to be the “Digital Marketplace” including the Cloudstore, the portal by which agencies access and purchase services, and where suppliers get accredited.

The replacement of Cloudstore has caused some confusion – particularly given the blood, sweat and tears ploughed into promoting Cloudstore over the last two and half years – and it’s even more perplexing given the Cloudstore’s success.

Total G-Cloud sales amounted to £270m by the end of September 2014, averaging £22m a month. That’s more than double the£120m sales predicted by 2014/15 by the inaugural programme director, Denise McDonagh, back in 2012. – Source

What is clear is that commentators, suppliers, and government think its a dumb idea. The view is, why on earth are we wasting time and money rebranding when we should be pushing on hard with a model that is working and gaining more strength every day.

Total G-Cloud sales amounted to £270m by the end of September 2014, averaging £22m a month. That’s more than double the£120m sales predicted by 2014/15 by the inaugural programme director, Denise McDonagh, back in 2012.

As part of that “re-branding” the back end platform is being rebuilt, and it isn’t looking pretty.

“G-Cloud is in danger of losing focus, because the poorly designed, implemented and over complex digital services store is consuming too much effort,” he said. – Source

On the back of that, a lot of people want G-Cloud to fail. Large global ICT companies hate it, they are losing business to local ICT companies. The spooks and spies hate it. Part of the Five Eyes, it is no secret that those agencies hate Cloud and hate the “Cloud First” Policy the governments have put in place.

It’s a election year as well.

Could it be that big business and the spies and spooks have lobbied for G-Cloud to be taken out?

The GDS recent annual report made no reference to G-Cloud, the government’s cloud-first policy, or its commitment to push 50 per cent of all new IT spend through this route.

It’s incensed people so much, that we are now starting to see some whistle blowing and this anonymous blog has popped into existence, pointing out that the all the members of the original G-Cloud team are now gone. In an attempt to gag that blog, the government went after their twitter account. Gagging is a popular thing these days in the Five Eyes, including New Zealand, and shows the depth of rot that has made its way into the civil service, dirty politics all round.

In summary, something smells fishy. The G-Cloud is definitely dead and the replacement is not looking at all good. In my opinion it is a sign of the times. Dinosaurs, right-leaning government who don’t generally understand ICT, spooks & spies, and big business are all desperate to keep their hand on the throat of money while continuing to keep the cash rolling in.

It’s a shame.


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