Government promises 'quicker, easier and cheaper' IT buying with CloudStore

20 February 2012

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20 February 2012 | Angeline Albert

Buying IT services will be “quicker, easier and cheaper” for the public sector with the launch of an online “app store”, the UK government claims.

The launch of the CloudStore means public sector buyers can purchase “off the shelf” IT services, which the government believes will give it more flexibility in purchasing and save money. IT services available include systems hosting, electronic records management and email.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said in a statement: “Simply stated, purchasing services from CloudStore will be quicker, easier, cheaper and more transparent for the public sector and suppliers alike.”

The CloudStore is part of the government’s G-Cloud framework agreement, and call-off contracts will have a limited length of one year. This will allow purchasers the flexibility to change providers easily without lengthy procurement processes and prevent them being locked into long contracts.

To help purchasers make informed buying decisions and compare prices, all suppliers’ pricing information and service information is detailed, so purchasers will know from the outset the cost of the product and the cost of exit from contracts.

Maude said the store lets SMEs compete with larger organisations to sell services to the public sector, and 50 per cent of vendors on the G-Cloud framework are SMEs. The government received bids from 300 suppliers offering 1,700 services and more suppliers will be accredited to the framework in an ongoing process.

“By creating a competitive marketplace, the G-Cloud framework will constantly encourage service providers to improve the quality and value of the solutions they offer, reducing the cost to taxpayers and suppliers,” said Maude. “Using cloud solutions that have already been secured and accredited will almost always be less expensive and we will only pay for what we use.”

 

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