Department of Health: G-Cloud is still too complex

By Sooraj Shah
07 May 2014 View Comments
A cloud in the shape of a G

There is still some way to go before the G-Cloud becomes an easy-to-use vehicle for procurement, according to Sophie Rawlings, head of IM and ECM programme lead at the Department of Health (DoH).

The organisation had selected cloud collaboration service Kahootz from Inovem to replace its legacy IBM Lotus Quickr software, and had used the G-Cloud framework to procure the service.

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Despite Rawlings stating that the G-Cloud is an improvement on the old government procurement system, she believes that there are still some issues with it.

"The CloudStore is not the easiest to navigate around and find what you're looking for. We had to use a combination of using the internet to search for [vendor] names and then going on to G-Cloud to look for them. I think there is still a way to go," she said.

Rawlings explained that the selection of Kahootz was one of the first major procurement exercises that the DoH had undertaken using G-Cloud. She said that this meant she had to work very closely with her procurement colleagues as they had to use internal procurement exercises to develop their own processes around the use of G-Cloud.

However, she said that overall it was a "relatively speedy process".

"There were times that we said ‘is that all we have to do?', it was too easy, and there were other times that it was a little clunky," she claimed.

In March, John Jackson, CIO of the London Borough of Camden, told Computing that the G-Cloud was overly complicated, stating that it was difficult to understand what you're buying or how you're paying for it.

Rawlings agreed, stating that there were question marks around the buying process.

"I think procurement colleagues and commercial colleagues want to get in there [and negotiate], but that's not how it is supposed to work, the price displayed is what it is meant to be. There are things you can negotiate more and you can work out the finer details, but I think there is a way to go before we all understand how it is supposed to work and what the prices mean," she said.

However, Rawlings believes that the government is alert to these issues and that the G-Cloud will become easier to use. She thinks the framework is beneficial for government departments, but also for the suppliers.

"It is an opportunity for smaller companies to get into government, which can only be a good thing," she said.

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