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A Billion Here, A Billion There…

… pretty soon you’re talking real money *

Sometime in the last month the cumulative spend on G-Cloud passed the £1Bn mark (it hit £903m at the end of November 2015). This is a milestone worth celebrating for customers and suppliers alike. GCloud has been in operation for a little over five years now, and its use has grown steadily up to what looks like a “mature” rate of £120m per quarter (see here for more figures).

Much of the debate about the success of G-Cloud has centred on what it is being used for, rather than how much is being spent. It is predominantly used for purchasing professional services, rather than cloud services per se (although it is certainly used for that as well).

However, I want to focus on one particular fact that is a real cause for celebration. It’s the fact that I know that total spend under the GCloud framework passed £1Bn.

I am able to know this because spend information – actual invoices issued and their value – is collated and issued in an accessible form each month. It’s published by the Cabinet Office, more or less on time, and the data is available to anyone with access to an internet browser and a mind to look at it.

That’s a real cause for celebration.

One of the things that helps any supplier do business is getting good quality information on:

  • who the customers are
  • what types of things that they are buying
  • how much they are spending in total
  • and with whom.

Spend visibility provides transparency in the market about who is spending what with whom. It enables service providers, both large and small, to evaluate whether there is a potential market for their services and thus whether it is worth investing time and money in participating. It also helps them to avoid wasting time trying to win business where it isn’t economic to do so.

This has tremendous value to both customers and suppliers and helps reduce the cost of doing business for both sides.

But G-Cloud is just one framework out of many that are operated in the public sector, and frameworks are only one way in which contracts are let for goods and services. It isn’t currently possible to get access to this type of information on other CCS frameworks like the PSN Connectivity and Services frameworks, the Digital Services Framework or Contingent Labour One. This is a real shame, as it’s likely to show some real successes, as well as highlight some frameworks that have been let at great expense but which are not widely used by customers.

Imagine the potential benefits if the same level of transparency existed across all CCS frameworks? Or even the whole of the public sector? That’s why I believe that actual spend information on all frameworks should be published in a common accessible format.

This article was originally published here via Innopsis – the trade body for network and digital services suppliers to government.

* Everett Dirksen, US Senator 1950-69 is alleged to have said this on the Tonight Show, but actually no one is 100% certain he did)