The government's G-Cloud programme has expanded again, with public sector buyers now able to purchase digital services from over 1,000 suppliers, the vast majority of which are SMEs.
G-Cloud 4, known as G4, has attracted a record number of submissions from suppliers, with the CloudStore now offering 13,000 different services from a total of 1,186 suppliers.
The government's G-Cloud programme is designed to enable the public sector to purchase cloud-based services from a variety of suppliers in the most cost-effective way possible while ensuring customers don't suffer from vendor lock-in.
"Our reforms to government technology are designed to ensure the best possible service for users at the lowest cost for taxpayers," said Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who praised the role of SMEs in the framework.
"To make this possible we need a truly competitive marketplace. SMEs are a source of innovation and a crucial engine for growth. We will continue to knock down the barriers that have prevented them from winning public-sector work in the past.
"G-Cloud is a simpler, faster and cheaper way for the public sector to buy digital services," Maude said. "It allows companies of all sizes to benefit from our digital by default approach to government. I'm delighted that so many SMEs have won representation in this new iteration.
"We will continue to embed our cloud first principle in government and recommend it across the wider public sector," he concluded.
G-Cloud director Tony Singleton added that there are many more improvements still to come.
"We are constantly working to improve G-Cloud and the CloudStore, making it more straightforward and less expensive for suppliers wanting to join the marketplace and for public-sector customers to purchase the technology they need," he said.
G-Cloud, however, isn't without its critics. CEO of Linux-based software solutions company LinuxIT, Peter Dawes-Huish, has previously slammed the programme likening it to a military mission "with an entry route and no exit route" that is "not just dangerous, but suicide".