A blog post on the gov.uk website has outlined a hazy date of the end of September when G-Cloud migrates from the CloudStore to the new shiny Digital Marketplace.
G-Cloud’s new home, which made alpha back in March, aims to replace the CloudStore as well as the Digital Services Store, a home for finding people who can design digital projects and services.
As Ivanka Majic wrote on the government’s official blog, the move will start at the end of this month, with plans to turn the lights off on the CloudStore by the end of September, should things run smoothly.
“Digital Marketplace is reaching a stage which allows us to consider making it the route for G-Cloud purchases,” the blog reads. “We are considering a staged approach to its launch and will be making sure there is a four week transition period during which people will be able to choose whether they buy through CloudStore or Digital Marketplace.”
Andy Powell, head of product marketing at Eduserv, a G-Cloud supplier, was generally positive about the proposed change yet admitted his company was still in a “wait and see” position.
“It’s good to see consolidation across the G-Cloud and Digital Services frameworks,” he told CloudTech. “My initial reaction to the interface is that it has been streamlined quite nicely.
“The major caveat to that is that we have yet to see how Cabinet Office is going to implement their approach to the 14 cloud security principles, and associated claims made by suppliers, in terms of filtering search results,” he added.
“Given that security is likely to remain one of the key characteristics by which buyers differentiate available services, this is critical to the overall success of the marketplace as a tool for both buyers and suppliers.”
Databarracks managing director Peter Groucutt expressed similar concerns regarding search functionality in the old CloudStore.
“The truth is, vendors offering services on the G-Cloud framework had little idea as to how their services would be displayed within the CloudStore,” he said. “As a result, the simple option for vendors was to revisit old SEO tricks in a bid to boost their position.
“By improving the way vendors input information about their offerings, it provides buyers with a more accurate understanding of the services available to them,” he added.
“The improvements demonstrate that real thought is being put into the process; how the buyers buy, how the vendors will want to sell, and ensuring those on the framework have access to the right services to suit their specific needs.”
G-Cloud 5 went live back in May, with CloudTech at the time gauging the opinions of various suppliers. Most were of the opinion that while G-Cloud had made it easier for cloud providers to sell their services to government, there was still work to do in terms of procurement and education.
At the time of launch, G-Cloud programme director Tony Singleton railed against the idea of the government cloud marketplace becoming “business as usual.”
“There is much to be done in transforming the way IT is not only bought but also consumed across the wider public sector,” he warned.
The government has also urged users and suppliers to keep testing and finding bugs as the Digital Marketplace moves from alpha to beta. You can find out more about that here.