We’ve been working closely with our colleagues at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and the Government Legal Department (GLD) over the last few months exploring the ways we can improve G-Cloud for buyers and suppliers. The changes for G-Cloud 9 (G9) are driven by the insights gained from user research conducted during our discovery and alpha.
Suppliers will be able to start their applications for G9 in March and we expect G9 services to be available to buy on the Digital Marketplace towards the end of May.
Here is an overview of the changes we will be making:
A single iteration of G-Cloud
Since G-Cloud 2, two iterations of the G-Cloud framework have run in parallel. We have decided that G9 will replace G-Cloud 7 (G7) and G-Cloud 8 (G8). This means we will have consistent information about all services to bring more of the G-Cloud buying journey online. Buyers and suppliers will be able to use one set of contracts for all their G-Cloud services.
For suppliers, this means that they must apply for G9 to continue selling their G-Cloud services on the Digital Marketplace. We’ll be removing G7 and G8 services from the Digital Marketplace when G9 services go live.
For buyers, this means that no new procurements for G8 services can start after the date that G-Cloud 9 services are live on the Digital Marketplace. Any G8 procurements already underway must be completed by the framework’s expiry date on 28 July 2017.
The G7 framework will expire when G9 goes live in May.
A new lot structure
We learnt that the existing lot structure was confusing for some users as it wasn’t an accurate representation of the cloud technology market. There will now be three lots called ‘Cloud hosting’, ‘Cloud software’ and ‘Cloud support’. We’re changing the names and descriptions of the services that belong in each lot so that they’re more clearly defined. This will make it easier for users to understand which technology and support should be provided through G-Cloud.
The questions for each lot are changing
We learnt that suppliers want to be able to provide more detail about their offering to better differentiate their services from their competitors. In particular, they want to provide more detail about security. We’ve worked with experts in technology and security from across Government Digital Service (GDS) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to re-write the questions. We’ve iterated the questions based on feedback we received through user research. They’re now more specific to the technology being bought and aligned with the NCSC cloud security principles.
We’ve designed the questions so suppliers can provide more detail in their answers. This will help create service listings that will make searching and decision-making easier for buyers.
We’re still asking suppliers to provide a short service summary and features and benefits. We’re making the service definition PDF optional to reduce the burden on suppliers when they are preparing their applications for G9. If they want to, suppliers will be able to provide a service definition document after G9 services are made live on the Digital Marketplace.
We know that some suppliers need to adapt their internal processes to collate the information they need to complete their application. We’ll be sharing the draft questions in a blog post later this week so suppliers can start preparing their answers.
Expanding the categorisation of services
Suppliers told us that they find it difficult to describe their services without knowing which terminology buyers are using to search for their requirements. Buyers told us that it’s difficult to find what they’re looking for on G-Cloud. We’re expanding our list of categories to establish a common language between buyers and suppliers.
This will help buyers find and shortlist suppliers with relevant services. We hope this will give suppliers confidence that their services will appear within buyers’ search results. Suppliers will no longer need to rely on guessing which keywords match buyers’ search terms.
We want to hear from buyers and suppliers so we shared a survey to test our proposed categories for G9 last week. We’ll share the final draft of the categories later this week in a format that you can download and use to review in your own time.
Editing services online
We want to make it easier for suppliers to maintain up-to-date descriptions of their services. This will improve the quality of services listed on the Digital Marketplace. Giving suppliers the ability to make their own edits online will result in a faster, more efficient update process. This new functionality will be released on the Digital Marketplace before G-Cloud 9 is live.
Suppliers can reuse answers from an earlier supplier declaration
If a supplier has completed a G8 or Digital Outcomes and Specialists’ supplier declaration on the Digital Marketplace in an earlier application, they’ll be able to reuse and review those answers for their G9 application.
The CCS management charge
As announced in their 2016/17 annual business plan, CCS is rolling out a change to its funding model. The management charge for G-Cloud 9 will be increased from 0.5% to 0.75% of all charges billed by the supplier to the buyer. This is in response to the 2015/16 Government Spending Review.
We’ll be sharing lots more information
As we prepare to open G9 for supplier applications in March, we’ll be sharing more information over the coming week about:
- how we’ll be using suppliers answers to bring more of the buying journey online
- how the legal documents differ to G7 and G8