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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
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
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
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.”