Public Services > Blue Light

Revealed: the forthcoming G-Cloud Sales Bonanza

Published 17 January 2018

With £2bn of new G-Cloud sales expected, 2018 is the year to fix your offering and develop your public-sector teams and reach, says public sector SaaS specialist Lindsay Smith


A dozen humpback whales work together to harvest an apparently infinite shoal of herring. Orcas seem unable to stop smiling as they stun their prey with a tail-flip. Unforgettable images where, for once, the well-handled camera shows it can out-do the imagination.

Well the BBC’s Blue Planet team isn’t going to be filming the UK’s public-sector market over the next 18 months but that, according to Crown Commercial Service (CCS), is where a super-abundance of cloud technology business is going to emerge. Do you want to join the party? Well, it’s now that suppliers need to be upping their game on the Digital Marketplace, so unless you are content to watch others gorge themselves in the feeding frenzy, read on...

So, what’s the background? Where are the fish?

On November 30 last year, Niall Quinn, CCS’ commercial director technology for and his team delivered a Directors Briefing at techUK. There was much of value in the content, a thoroughly enlightened strategy, recognising the need for the supply side of the market to understand the big trends as seen by the demand side. Simply, good and necessary market management. Because, frankly, the supply-side (or at least, a major part of it) is not prepared for what’s coming, a point I’ll come to later. But for now, let’s narrow down to the subject: the forthcoming sales bonanza. (As context take note that CCS sized the Public-Sector Technology Market in the 2016/17 year at £14.8bn (of which software applications and SaaS were £2.7bn and IaaS/PaaS £0.7bn).

Dan Saxby, Digital Future director and his team have responsibility for five frameworks (G-Cloud, DOS, Cyber, Crown Hosting and QA/Testing). He presented their ambitious schedule of activities going out to Q3 2019.

He also revealed the size of the Cloud Technology opportunity, which is my focus here. The Digital Future team predicts that procurements through their five frameworks will increase from the current £1bn/year to £2.5bn/year in the 18 months to June 2019.

This is enormous growth (over 80% compound), which has big implications for those suppliers on the frameworks who can tap into it.

But we have all seen optimistic forecasts bandied around before (though arguably not from as conservative a source), so I asked Saxby, just before Christmas, if he could shed some light on these numbers.

Here is the summary: there’s no catch, these numbers are real.

CCS has insight into some of the large multi-year contracts coming to end of term. These will generate demand for components, infrastructure and services over the next 18 months

Resources and plans are in place to bring demand from the Wider Public Sector (WPS), which are not currently strong users of the frameworks onto G-Cloud and DOS

A significant body of work is being undertaken on the G-Cloud platform to improve functionality, usability and efficiency

Investment in improving the framework goes on at pace – there is hope that G-Cloud 10 may make a reappearance earlier in the timeline than originally predicted

Education of both supplier and buyer communities is a funded priority which will continue the observable maturity of the marketplace

In Saxby’s analysis, DOS will take an increasing share of the move to cloud adoption, but the biggest beneficiary in absolute terms will be G-Cloud, which is predicted to account for roughly 70%+ of the £2-2.5bn (or £1.75bn) in the 12 months to June 2019. This G-Cloud growth represents 35%+ annual compound growth from June 2017 (our last ‘fix’ of sales data although new figures are expected imminently).

But look - who is eating your lunch?

This massive surge of demand is coming through G-Cloud. But 70% of suppliers on G-Cloud 9 have not made a sale (in the figures to June 2017). Is this going to change? They say a rising tide floats all boats, but this is not true of G-Cloud.

If you are a company sitting on G-Cloud and have not made a sale – the chances are strongly in favour of you never making a sale, unless you do something differently.

I have analysed just the SaaS vendors on G-Cloud (there are about 1,800 of them and only 360 (20%) recorded any sales in the 12 months to June 2017). 500 SaaS suppliers of the 1,800 have not bothered to file a service definition with their offering. Add to this, other, simple and correctible marketing gaffes, and I can quickly show that well over 50% of SaaS suppliers cannot reasonably expect to be selected in a standard G-Cloud procurement.

But salvation is available to all. Most of these basic errors can be rectified and CCS will accept rational changes within the rules (like filing a service description!). So, if you have no sales and are on G-Cloud, find out why – and fix it.

With about £2bn of new sales coming down the pipe, 2018 is the year to invest in developing your public-sector teams and reach.

Those predators chasing the shoals of herring have a strategy. They go to where the abundance is to be found, and take energetic action.

We should too!

Lindsay Smith is a freelance public-sector SaaS sales & marketing consultant and author of G-Cloud Success, Analysed; Failure Explained   

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