Tag Archives: SMEs

Campaign for electronic patient information centre

By Tony Collins

Shane Tickell, CEO of health IT supplier IMS Maxims, is leading a campaign for a national electronic patient information centre.

It would enable NHS staff, healthcare organisations and government suppliers to share details of, or learn about, innovative practices that work.

In a guest blog, Tickell argues that there are many examples of innovation in the NHS but information on the successes is scarce or not available in one place.

He advocates a physical and a virtual centre. Information, case studies, best practice and ideas from the NHS would be shared online. There are some websites that do this, but in isolation. The virtual site he proposes would be interactive and a way of collating information that exists in silos.

The physical centre, Tickell says, could be anywhere on the UK, potentially using some of the 2,000 acres of unused NHS estate. It would be a forum for education and sharing, where suppliers could showcase their systems, and NHS staff could speak openly about what they need from suppliers.

It would also be a place for policy to be explained by government officials, where quangos define their requirements, and NHS trusts share what they are doing and the lessons they have learned.

Shane Tickell writes:

“As an acceptance grows across the NHS that there is a crucial need for integration across health and social care, the extent to which our National Health Service is disjointed is becoming increasingly clear.

In many areas, although of course not all, there are so many examples of different approaches, poor collaboration and lack of joined thinking between organisations despite their attempts to achieve the same goals. On many occasions, I’ve seen examples where an NHS organisation has shared the results of a successful pilot with another organisation hundreds of miles away and yet the trust just a few miles down the road has no idea the initiative even exists.

In recent years, healthcare IT events such as EHI Live have helped suppliers of all sizes showcase their solutions, albeit just once a year.

However, despite best efforts, most often suppliers with the biggest marketing budgets often take the centre stage, while the smaller, more innovative companies huddle around the edges trying to grab the attention of the odd delegate who is less wowed by the exciting gizmos and freebies on the bigger stands.

Equally, these events have been valuable in enabling the NHS to share their experiences by allowing them to participate in best practice showcases. But while these shows are valuable in providing those once-a-year opportunities to network and see what is available, ideas and information gathered can soon be forgotten once back in the busy NHS setting, until the next time an event comes around.

There are more than 400 pilots across the NHS and 300 ‘examples of innovation’ alone, according to the BCS. On top of all of that, my team recently mapped more than 40 NHS organisations and bodies, who work virtually disparately to attempt to provide the NHS with direction, standards and protocols.

So where does this leave the NHS – confused? Disjointed? Not a clue where to start when they are told that they need to collaborate and innovate to improve patient safety and care while saving vast sums of money?

The NHS needs a place that provides an educational and innovation forum covering everything related to electronic health and wellbeing that is available all year round – an electronic patient information centre.

At present there are pockets of innovation across the country. Initiatives set up by the National Innovation Centre and its associated ‘innovation hubs’ are providing a useful mechanism to support and adopt healthcare technology across the regions.

But an all year round centre would provide a central location for healthcare organisations, bodies, government and suppliers to meet, discuss and understand policy. Equally important, the centre would provide a valuable place to educate on future challenges and where they are being driven from and an opportunity to work together to help to address them as soon as they start to emerge.

Although it would require investment, such a centre would provide trusts, CCGs, private and independent organisations and just about anyone with an interest in health and social care regardless of their budget, size, location or IT savviness with the opportunity to attend at a time that is convenient for them.

Meanwhile, suppliers of any shape or size would have a level playing field from which to be represented and educate their current and potential customers, rather than trawling up and down the country trying to find inroads to speak to those on the frontline. In addition, it would ensure that all is not lost from the National Programme for IT and that lessons learned are shared.

For too long the NHS has had to rely on word of mouth and second-guessing how surrounding organisations are achieving success. Now is the time to really work together to ensure true innovation is shared and for everyone to have a chance to be part of it.”

LinkedIn group – Electronic Patient Information Centre 


Home Office’s IT Director McDonagh to take over Chant role at G-Cloud

By David Bicknell

Denise McDonagh, currently director of IT at the Home Office, is to take over responsibility for G-Cloud from Chris Chant who leaves at the end of the month.

In this announcement, as well as discussing McDonagh’s role as Chant’s replacement on G-Cloud, the government said that it is on track to launch the next iteration of the G-Cloud framework in late or early May.  It will incorporate a new approach that incorporates the ability to add new suppliers and services on a quarterly (or possibly more frequent) basis.  It suggests that this will be a procurement first in the UK, and possibly even in the world.  Existing G-Cloud suppliers should be able to move to the new framework with just a small amount of effort, it says. A series of new deals on the framework is also set  to be to announced.

Prior to the announcement of his departure, Chant had written a blog post that argued that unnacceptable IT is pervasive.

He suggested that:

“Real progress has been blocked by many things including an absence of capability in both departments and their suppliers, by a strong resistance to change, by the perverse incentives of contracts that mean its cheaper to pay service credits than to fix the problem and by an unwillingness to embrace the potential of newer and smaller players to offer status quo-busting ideas.

“CIOs across government, including me in various roles at the centre of government, have been guilty for too long of taking the easy path.  We have done the unacceptable and thought we were doing a great job.  We have:

  • Signed contracts with single suppliers that have led to both poor service and high costs, because that is the way government did things
  • Failed to let in innovative suppliers because of the constraints of those large contracts, because new suppliers, we figured, brought risk and uncertainty
  • Designed and delivered solutions that look, in today’s world, ridiculously expensive and over-engineered because we thought that was the right thing to do
  • Allowed our users to suffer with IT that is a decade – or more – behind what they are using at home because the security considerations for government are different and stricter from those for everyone else”

But, over the last 18 months, working on G-Cloud as well as the immediate forerunner of the Government Digital Service, Chant said he had seen the real signs of change, with some in the public sector no longer willing to put up with the poor service and delivery that they have experienced and they are actively looking for new ways of working. Notably, he suggested, big departments openly talk about wanting to get away from the traditional model of big, cumbersome IT and are serious.

Now, he went on, things get harder, notably:

Managing Multiple Suppliers

  • Departments are no longer going to have an easy ride as they seek to extend an existing contract or renew what they have now (a large single supplier monopoly over their IT).   They’re going to be pushed to break up contracts into smaller pieces, contract with or involve more SMEs and reuse what is already in place elsewhere.    There is no better place to start than by getting something you already have, or something that you need to have, from the G-Cloud framework. CIOs will need to increase the capability of their teams – and their own capability too – otherwise they will find that they are no longer playing a part in this new approach.  Some CIOs and some teams will not be able to make that transition.

Apples With Apples

  • For years, obtaining data about what government pays for IT and, worse, what it gets for that money has been mission impossible.  With transparency, increasing use of frameworks and smaller contracts, it will be easier than it has ever been to compare like for like costs across departments. CIOs will want to get ahead of that curve now and find out what their IT is truly costing them so that they can compare what new market offers really provide and whether it is worth making an early switch – and the pressure to make that switch before the end of the contract is only likely to increase as the true size of cost reductions becomes evident.

Digital By Default

  • The need to design services around the customer will become pervasive -whether that customer is a citizen in front of a web browser at home or one of our own staff working in an office.  The shift to “digital by default” (rather than “digital as well”) is fundamental and will cause a wholesale upheaval in organisations across government.   People who thought they were in charge of delivering transactions probably won’t be. People who are on the inside of government might find themselves moved to the outside and entirely new product offers will come about as a result.

IT in government has certainly come a long way, he insisted, but added that “..it just hasn’t come far enough.  It remains unacceptable.  The trends of the last couple of years – transparency, open data, open services, SMEs – aren’t going away; if anything, they will go stronger and bed in deeper.”

What needs to happen next, Chant said, is that:

  • CIOs across government need to recognise what has changed and stop hiding behind the comfort blanket of what has always been done before. That blanket is on fire.
  • Big suppliers should see the smoke from that comfort blanket and recognise that the world of government IT has changed.  They can no longer rely on delivering poor service for big money and get away with it.  The customer approach is changing and they will need to change too, or be consumed by the flames.
  • SMEs should embrace the opportunity they now have and bring their capabilities – speed, flexibility and low prices – to the government market.  For the first time, government is ready.

(My Campaign4Change colleague Tony Collins is currently away, but will be back shortly)

G-Cloud chief Chris Chant to retire

How the Government plans to ensure IT projects have a lifetime cost of under £100m

By David Bicknell

The Government has issued a Procurement Policy Note that sets out its thinking behind the policy that individual ICT contracts or projects should have a lifetime cost of less than £100m.

It says the £100m limit will apply to all future ICT projects, “unless a strong case can be made that doing so increases the overall cost to the taxpayer, notably increases the risk of failure or increases the security threat to the public body or Government as a whole.”

It adds that in future, “government IT contracts will be more flexible, starting with two areas (application software and infrastructure IT). The Government is introducing set breakpoints in IT contracts so there is less money locked into large lengthy contracts. The Government will look to disaggregate future contracts and deliver more flexible, cheaper solutions. This opens up opportunities for SMEs and reduces the cost to taxpayers.”

Its guidance, which takes effect from 1st April, applies to all central government departments, their agencies and non departmental public bodies and is particularly intended for those with a purchasing role.

In background notes, the briefing says:

  • The £100m threshold relates to all ICT contracts or projects where the total value over the life of the contract exceeds £100m regardless of how the contract is funded. It includes frameworks as well as individual call offs from frameworks. A case may be made for exemption from this policy on the grounds of national security or continuity of a critical Government service.

Based on this, the policy aims are as follows:

  • To reduce the risk of single supplier failure within a large project;
  • To increase competition and innovation by enabling more suppliers to bid and take part in projects, thereby increasing value to the taxpayer;
  • To procure contracts in a way which ensures maximum possible benefit to the maximum number of parties – for example, ensuring that infrastructure/services which are procured can be used by more than one department.

In a foreword, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude says:

“The Government believes that business is the driver of economic growth and innovation, and that we need to take urgent action to boost enterprise and build a new and more responsible economic model. We want to create a fairer and more balanced economy, where we are not so dependent on a narrow range of economic sectors, and where new businesses and economic opportunities are more evenly shared between regions and industries. This guidance is founded on a desire to minimise the risk around high value contracts and ensure that Government always seeks the best possible value for money when procuring large ICT contracts.

“In the Coalition Programme the Government made a commitment to promote small business procurement in particular by introducing an aspiration that 25% of government contracts should be awarded to small and medium sized businesses. To deliver this aspiration the Prime Minister and The Minister for the Cabinet Office announced, on the 11th February 2011, a far reaching package of measures to open up public procurement to small and medium sized enterprises. The Government ICT Strategy, published at the end of March 2011 outlined a new approach to ICT procurement that improves contract delivery timelines and reduces the risk of project failure, enables greater use of SMEs, a much shorter timescale and lower costs to all parties.

“We will end the practice of attempting to cover every requirement in great detail and cover every legal eventuality in every project and contract, thereby increasing the procurement cost and timescales to all parties to unacceptable levels. We will do this by focusing on the 80/20 rule, simplifying to the core components of the requirements at every level and at every stage of a project.

On SMEs, G-Cloud and Open Systems, the policy note says procurement will:

  • Ensure value for money, competition and innovation by ensuring that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are freely able to bid. Ensuring that any procurement process we use does not unnecessarily exclude them due to price, risk or resource associated with bidding activity. This includes reviewing our criteria and evidence required as part of the contract award process for items that might be relevant to a large company only. However, SMEs will be treated no differently in evaluation of capability, financial stability, or their ability to provide ongoing support, etc.
  • Ensure visibility of innovation and encourage mass purchasing of solutions available from both within the public sector and the private sector by creating a quality assured Government Cloud based procurement vehicle for Government, which enables all sizes of organisations to showcase their products, services, solutions etc. This service would also enable government to market and sell any unwanted assets it might own.
  • Encourage and maximise the use of Open Source/Open Standards whenever possible and where it represents a value for money solution, allowing department to re-use code, designs, templates etc. ensuring that work is not duplicated.


The Government’s aspiration to have individual ICT contracts or projects with a lifetime cost of less than £100m is a worthy one. But the proof of the pudding, as always, is in the eating. And we haven’t seen the pudding yet.

Coalition responds to Administration committee’s “Recipe for rip-offs” criticism of Government IT

By David Bicknell 

The Coalition has responded to the Public Administration Committee’s January follow up to its report  “Government and IT – “A recipe for rip-offs: time for a new approach” which was published in July 2011. 

In a Memorandum to the Committee, the Government said it welcomed its interest in and support for government Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It insisted that “ICT is vital for the delivery of efficient, cost-effective public services which are responsive to the needs of citizens and businesses.

“The Government’s ICT Strategy set out how the Government ICT landscape would change over the current spending review period, and included 30 actions which form the foundation activities for achieving the Strategy’s core objectives of: reducing waste and project failure, and stimulating economic growth; creating a common ICT infrastructure; using ICT to enable and deliver change; and strengthening governance.”

It its responses to the Committee’s recommendations, the Government said the following:

Oligopoly of large suppliers and benchmarking

Committee Recommendation:

The Cabinet Office’s commitment to benchmarking through transparent data, as outlined in the Government’s response, will help to quantify the gap between high and low cost products and services, but without the independent external advice which we recommended to identify reliable cost comparisons, the overall outcome will not change, and the Government will not achieve its cost reduction agenda.

Government Response:

Government is committed to creating a fairer, more competitive and open marketplace from which it buys its ICT services and solutions. Government is in the process of breaking the contractual lock-in which places the majority of government ICT business with a small group of major systems integrators.

This process will remove exclusivity from the contracts, and rigorously record every contractual breach. It will also gather data centrally on the performance and pricing of all suppliers to provide a consolidated view of their competitiveness and performance.

In parallel, Government is consulting on new frameworks that will enable more agile procurement, and open the market to more Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Some existing frameworks are not in alignment with government policy, and are limited to existing large suppliers.

These frameworks will be deprecated in favour of new frameworks that support re-introducing greater competition into the provision of ICT goods and services. Doing so will remove the current advantage enjoyed by the existing large supplier base in order to re-establish a truly level playing field.

The recent work to restructure the current ASPIRE contract demonstrates how government is working to ensure better value for taxpayers, break up large contracts and create opportunities for new, smaller companies to enter the market.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Cabinet Office negotiated with the IT supplier, Capgemini, to deliver a significant restructure of the current ASPIRE contract and savings for HMRC. The new deal reached will lead to a diverse supply chain with transparent pricing (removal of the current exclusivity agreement), open choice for HMRC and significantly enhanced value for money. By 2017 the new deal will help deliver:

  • Cost savings: £200 million saved by paying less per unit of IT services provided and potential for further savings by open competition, volume reductions and direct relationships between HMRC and subcontractors;
  • More freedom: HMRC will now have more control to run open competitions for its IT needs, enabling more opportunities for innovative SME suppliers and greater control over the volume of work going through the contract;
  • Greater transparency: transparency in pricing is enhanced further to assist with value for money comparisons; and
  • Future Model – a future model that breaks lock-ins and gives HMRC the flexibility and control to drive its own savings and innovation.

Government is working to improve the quality of its ICT management information. One example of substantive progress is the recent G-Cloud framework which requires all suppliers to openly publish full details of their pricing (see http://www.govstore.net/).

In addition to this transparency, the pricing levels achieved for provision of these services are being used as benchmarks against which incumbent suppliers are being measured. Government expects all supplier costs to be reduced to match or better these benchmarks, producing substantial cost reductions.

A project is also beginning to gather information on contracts data for all current ICT suppliers and departmental benchmarking of ICT unit price data. The unit price benchmarking will build on a tool established within HMRC which, following a year of use, provided HMRC with a detailed breakdown of costs relating to IT and helped the department realise many benefits including £24m savings and a 30% reduction in the number of confidential desktops.

The National Audit Office has recommended that the tool be rolled out further across government. This project will provide the opportunity to benchmark across government, and also enable external independent reviews to measure comparability with private sector peers.

The Government’s intention is also to publish as much of this data for public scrutiny as possible. It is looking to embed this approach in its handling of all its large suppliers, including software developers.

The Government will also shortly be announcing a new memorandum of understanding with Oracle that will show how its new, commercially aware, intelligent customer approach will deliver financial and significant operational benefits.

Legacy systems

Committee Recommendation:

We are not convinced that the Government‘s approach to legacy systems properly addresses the underlying issues. At the very least, the Government should produce a long term risk-register identifying where and when investment will be needed to migrate and replace existing legacy systems.

Government Response:

The Government has recognised the challenge it faces in delivering services with both new and older systems. It is right to ensure that departments have a range of credible options regarding the choices they make about their legacy systems. Different circumstances will require different options.

Departments, which understand in detail both the business functions provided by their systems and the technical constraints that act upon them, are best placed to determine the appropriate option. All departments will be producing plans to show how their systems will conform over time to the Government’s ICT Strategy principles, objectives and standards. These will be subject to challenge and co-ordination to ensure that they result in a viable plan for Government as a whole.

All major commitments to expenditure, whether in “wrapping” legacy systems to enable their continued use or in implementing new systems to provide the necessary business functions, will be subject to appropriate spending controls and approvals.

Assessments at this stage will take account of relevant factors including value, cost, budgetary constraints and risk.

Capability within Government

Committee Recommendation:

We welcome and endorse the Government’s acknowledgement of the need to grow its capacity in commercial skills of procuring and managing contracts, not just technical IT skills, in order to become an ‘intelligent customer’. Specific training for the Senior Civil Service in technology policy will also be welcome, as will the growth of a network of ‘champions’ of agile development. However, it is not clear from the Government’s response to our report that its actions will be adequate to cope with the scale of behavioural and process change required across the whole of Government, nor that the agile ‘champions’ will have sufficient seniority, expertise or support.

Government Response:

The Government recognises that raising commissioning and procurement skills is vitally important to get better outcomes for the taxpayer and to stimulate growth through public procurements, including greater use of SMEs.

It has already developed new LEAN standard operating procedures for central government underpinned by training available for all civil servants. It is now working on similar improvements for contract and supplier management and commissioning.

The Cabinet Office has also been piloting a two-way commercial interchange programme with industry to bring private sector expertise into Government. Civil Service Learning (CSL) is currently developing a suite of training on commercial awareness which will be available to all Civil Servants via the CSL portal in spring/summer 2012.

In parallel, the Government is determined to return world-class Project Leadership capability to Whitehall to improve the delivery of the Government’s £400 billion portfolio of Major Projects, which includes ICT projects.

In order to achieve this, the Major Projects Authority has established the UK Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA), in partnership with Oxford Saïd Business School, to target the SROs and Project Directors leading the Government’s Portfolio. The key focus of the MPLA will be on leadership, business acumen and commercial expertise from both an academic and practical angle and will include lessons learned from previous major projects including ICT projects.

Part of the Academy programme will involve an assessment of capability and previous experience of Project Leaders, with a tailored development plan designed for each individual. This will ensure that there is a clear picture of the capability within the Civil Service and inform decisions of where to best deploy their expertise.

The Government fully recognises the point that Agile “champions” may not have sufficient seniority, expertise or support and are working on identifying and putting in place senior Agile Leads within departments to drive and embed the behavioural and process change required to make this a success.

Lean Procurement – an early bird analysis

 In this guest blog, John Pendlebury-Green and John Jones from strategic sales architects Landseer Partners discuss the Government’s plans to introduce lean procurements, an approach which should shorten procurement times, reduce bidders’ costs and encourage greater SME participation

Lean procurement is being piloted by the Government with six pilots underway across various departments. We at Landseer Partners have been extensively involved with one of these pilots. Also, we have discussed the emerging characteristics with service providers participating in other lean procurements.

Although it is early days, there are some emerging trends that the Government and bidders would do well to take on board for lean procurements to become successful and ubiquitous across government.

So, what are these emerging trends? Our “early bird” experience of being on a lean procurement pilot suggests that:

·         Lean procurements, by their very nature in attempting to reduce the overall procurement timeline significantly, have the potential benefit of reducing bidders’ costs. They also have the potential to reduce the opportunity to discuss in sufficient detail important commercials such as contract schedules and contractual terms and conditions.

·         Both the client and potential suppliers need to plan and resource better a lean, competitive dialogue. That means supplier submissions need to be submitted much sooner than in previous procurements. It also means that client bid reviews and quality assurance need to be undertaken much quicker and more efficiently.

·         There is an even greater need for strong leadership and decision-making on both the client and supplier side i.e. the need for empowered individuals is greater in lean procurements than in a traditional competitive dialogue. Decisions need to be taken swiftly in order to maintain pace in the procurement.

·         Stress levels for all parties can be high. All parties will be “doing more” in “less time” – so outcomes need to be kept in perspective with a view to the quality of deliverables/schedules not being compromised and

·         Bid teams need to be better resourced at the outset, especially in terms of having the right subject matter experts being available at the appropriate time. This seems to be especially so in the case of lean dialogue.

Finally, our experience, short though it is, suggests that incumbent suppliers, by virtue of their incumbent status, have a slight advantage over other short-listed competitors. They have greater knowledge of the existing services supplied. They need less time in the “data room” and are often able to provide a greater level of detail in their dialogue responses, simply by virtue of knowing the service in greater detail.

In summary, it is still very early days in the lean procurement world.  The obvious benefits of shorter procurement times (and hence reduced costs on all sides) though welcome, might actually mask additional costs that could subsequently emerge.  

Landseer Partners     http://www.landseerpartners.com/

Are SMEs getting more Government IT work?

Good piece by Peter Smith on why the government’s major IT suppliers may continue their rule over the Whitehall IT budgets (for the time being).

Ten reasons government procurement spend on SMEs isn’t increasing.

Bookmarked – a selection of recent articles that caught the eye

China Daily – SMEs given preferential policies in govt procurement

New York Times – The Ying and the Yang of Corporate Information

Stuff.co.nz – Gremlins’ delays add up to headaches

The Daily Telegraph – Apple iCloud: will the Cloud finally go mainstream?

Harvard Business Review – An Introvert’s Guide to Networking

ICMIF Blog –  Can Popular Capitalism go global?

The Lawyer – Never Knowingly Undersold: Employee Share Ownership

Ethos Journal – Common Purpose

G-Cloud – it’s starting to happen

By Tony Collins

Anti-cloud CIOs should “move on” says Cabinet Office official, “before they have caused too much harm to their business”.

For years Chris Chant, who’s programme director for G Cloud at the Cabinet Office, has campaigned earnestly for lower costs of government IT. Now his work is beginning to pay off.

In a blog post he says that nearly 300 suppliers have submitted offers for about 2,000 separate services, and he is “amazed” at the prices. Departments with conventionally-good rates from suppliers pay about £700-£1,000 a month per server in the IL3 environment, a standard which operates at the “restricted” security level. Average costs to departments are about £1,500-a-month per server, says Chant.

“Cloud prices are coming in 25-50% of that price depending on the capabilities needed.”  He adds:

“IT need no longer be delivered under huge contracts dominated by massive, often foreign-owned, suppliers.  Sure, some of what government does is huge, complicated and unique to government.  But much is available elsewhere, already deployed, already used by thousands of companies and that ought to be the new normal.

“Rather than wait six weeks for a server to be commissioned and ready for use, departments will wait maybe a day – and that’s if they haven’t bought from that supplier before (if they have it will be minutes).  When they’re done using the server, they’ll be done – that’s it.  No more spend, no asset write down, no cost of decommissioning.”

Chant says that some CIOs in post have yet to accept that things need to change; and “even fewer suppliers have got their heads around the magnitude of the change that is starting to unfold”.

“In the first 5 years of this century, we had a massive shift to web-enabled computing; in the next 5 the level of change will be even greater.  CIOs in government need to recognise that, plan for it and make it happen.

“Or move on before they have caused too much harm to their business.”

He adds: “Not long from now, I expect at least one CIO to adopt an entirely cloud-based model.  I expect almost all CIOs to at least try out a cloud service in part of their portfolio.

“Some CIOs across government are already tackling the cloud and figuring out how to harness it to deliver real saves – along with real IT.  Some are yet to start.

“Those that have started need to double their efforts; those that haven’t need to get out of the way.”

Cloud will cut government IT costs by 75% says Chris Chant

Chris Chant’s blog post

Dedicated Cloud servers make a difference says Puma

By Tony Collins

Jay Basnight, the head of digital strategy at sports shoe and sportswear manufacturer Puma, has told CIO how his company moved from four cloud suppliers – Amazon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Rackspace and Slicehost (now part of Rackspace) –  to cloud supplier Eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus provides Puma with dedicated servers rather than spreading the company’s data and applications across servers used by other businesses, as is the case at Amazon, says Basnight. That helps make privacy audits easier because he can point to a specific server where data resides.

“This allows you peace of mind that you’re not sharing infrastructure with anyone else.”

Consolidating clouds saves “significant” money says Basnight – as much as 50 percent per hour due to better contract terms and economies of scale.

CIO article.


SaaS or Cloud SME? – get in touch says Cabinet Office official

By Tony Collins

Chris Chant, Executive Director in the Cabinet Office working as Programme Director for the G-Cloud initiative, says in a blog post that “if you are an SME and you have a SaaS or other cloud service that government might use – we want to know about it”.

Chant says the government is changing the way it buys and uses IT. “We have trained our suppliers and ourselves to think that we need big, complex solutions to complicated problems; which has meant that all too often it’s only the big, complex suppliers that get a look in.

“We are changing all this. We are giving SMEs and ourselves a chance to work together by levelling the playing field for all IT suppliers.”

Chant says it won’t happen overnight and mistakes may be made.  “This is new territory for many departments and very few are experienced at handling this new way of working.

“I think it’s fair to say that many just can’t see how this can happen yet though
many know it must.” Government users are not so different to others.

“First off government has realised that it’s not that different. From now
on, if government wants some IT,  it needs to do what everyone else does and look  at what’s already available, not just what we can pay to have built for us and not just what we are used to doing.

“It will be uncomfortable, uncharted territory for many but it must be done. It is unacceptable for things to remain the same. So if you are a SME and you have a SaaS or other cloud service that government might use – we want to know about it.”

Chant says that government will use open standards wherever it can, and buy IT on pay-as-you-go or short term contracts.

“Some contracts may be longer but there must be a break option, in my view, at no later than 12 months.

“Of course organisations will offer lower prices for longer lock-ins but, as I’ve said before, the cost of being unable to exit will almost always outweigh the savings.”

Chant says that if you are an SME, any supplier that’s never worked with government, or an existing supplier that “gets” cloud “you are the type of people we need to work with the deliver the savings all of us need”.

Talk to us, he adds.

Chris Chant’s blog post.

Vested interests will try to stop GovIT changing.