- James Findlay from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency talks about how easy it was to make the first purchase from the CloudStore
Anyone who has been involved in government procurement over the years understands that, perhaps for good reason, it’s not an agile beast. This is by no means a criticism, but a statement of reality, which has meant that from inception to final delivery there is usually a considerable lag and whilst everyone involved in the process, the frontline team wanting the goods or services or the ICT team wanting to deliver a new system, knows this is the case and some of the reasons why, it can be no less frustrating.
With this in mind and with key milestones on the ICT Strategic Implementation Plan fast approaching, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency were looking at how we could deliver Agile cultural and awareness education to support the delivery of one of the Department for Transport’s Agile pilot projects. The Future Coastguard Programme is being delivered using Agile methodology and key to part of that thinking is delivering value early, so how were we to procure a service quickly to support early value creation?
We already had worked up a standard non-bespoke requirement as well as internal approvals and with the full engagement of the MCA’s procurement team we looked at the fastest way of procuring the service. Enter from stage left the CloudStore launch! We looked at it and yes the website was clearly a beta version, but taking the offerings at face value we decided that we would give it a go. After a few questions to the G-Cloud team and their speedy responses, we decided that this would be the most efficient way to buy.
Fate intervened and teamwork came into play at this point as Microsoft Azure went down, but thanks to support from the G-Cloud team who were able to provide us with a list of suppliers we were able to go forth and buy!
The services we bought were standard and I guess that’s the point. It was easy, but that’s because we weren’t trying to do anything too complicated and were just calling off company catalogues.
What next for us? Now we have bought from the CloudStore we feel more confident in taking the next step and are looking at SaaS offerings, primarily e-mail and collaboration tools. This will be a big step forwards for us as it means we can buy these commodity services and focus on what’s critical to the MCA and that’s ensuring the safety of people and shipping.
Why is this important? We are an island nation and over 95% of our trade by weight comes by sea and we have an increasing number of people enjoying leisure pursuits on our coast, so our provision of a 24 hour maritime search and rescue service around the UK coast and inspection and surveying of ships, ensure that we all benefit from the continued security and safety of the maritime environment and that has to be a good thing.