CloudStore Allows Small Business Public Sector IT Procurement
The Government has launched an online software store which will sell more than 1,700 applications to the public sector, half of which will be sold by small firms.
Part of the G-Cloud Programme, the drive to use cloud services throughout the public sector, CloudStore is the new procurement portal for cloud suppliers who want to sell to government. Although launched by national government, early press reports have suggested that council and regional public sector bodies will be the main buyers.
A key aim of CloudStore is to save £180 million of taxpayers’ money by buying IT — such as word-processing, email, customer relationship management or office productivity applications — more efficiently by 2015. It will help reach the target because public organisations will be able to purchase software off the shelf without long contracts, via pay-as-you-go.
A total of 1,700 apps are on schedule to be sold through the portal, and approximately half the 250 suppliers are small businesses. At present, CloudStore is still in a beta-version.
Overseeing the launch, cabinet office minister Francis Maude said:
“Simply stated, purchasing services from CloudStore will be quicker, easier, cheaper and more transparent for the public sector and suppliers alike.”
As the new procurement channel for cloud computing, CloudStore offers an opportunity for small firms to sell IT to the public sector in the same way that large firms do without time-consuming approval and tendering processes.
All products on CloudStore will be accredited to national government standards known as CESG and suppliers will also be approved for efficiency, value and flexibility. Once a firm’s products have been accredited, Government buyers will be able to use them straight off the shelf without having to go through approval processes again.
Currently online as a test site, small firms should use the registration form to receive updates. Firms interested in getting their products accredited and listed on the site should email CloudStore at firstname.lastname@example.org