Welcome to the Customer Zone, this is our short overview and guide to help you to understand how to use G-Cloud and the CloudStore. G-Cloud is open to all of the public sector in the UK and to check whether you are eligible to buy through the G-Cloud Frameworks, you should belong to one of these organisations - click on the link to download the file.
What’s the CloudStore & how do I use it?
This is the CloudStore. The CloudStore is a searchable database of over 7,000 services split in to 4 areas or Lots – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as as Service (SaaS) and Other Services. These are designed to enable you to match your requirements to the best-fit service from suppliers. The CloudStore contains all the required details of each of the suppliers and their services.
To help you use the CloudStore we’ve split the process into 5 straightforward steps:
Step 0 – Funds
Step 1 – Requirements
Step 2 – Using CloudStore to search for the long list
Step 3 – From long list to short list
Step 4 – Buying and not buying
G-Cloud does not replace any internal processes your department or organisation may have for the control of funds. Hence before you complete the CloudStore process you may need to have a business case or other authorisation for funding – you can use the CloudStore to help gather the information that you may need to do that.
What G-Cloud has done is all the procurement processes up to the point of final selection and buying. As far as EU and UK law are concerned you do not have to run a tender or mini-competition with suppliers so long as you have budget, you only have to follow the steps outlined below. If your organisation uses the Government eMarket Place, or has internal procurement procedures, you should use those routes to purchase the item. The products and services in the CloudStore will all be available on the Government eMarket Place. In addition your organisation or department may also require you to write a business case or complete other processes to secure budgets. Neither the CloudStore nor the G-Cloud programme can complete these tasks for you, however the information on the CloudStore and the G-Cloud programme may be incorporated into any evidence and documentation you are required to produce.
Step 1 Understand the business requirement
G-Cloud is part of a new way of thinking about IT and might mean a radical new way of thinking about your requirements.
G-Cloud has created a catalogue of commodity IT services. That is, we have moved to standard products rather than customized solutions; and the CloudStore lists over 3,500 services.
If a service has achieved Pan Government Accreditation, this will displayed under ‘Item properties’. If you are unsure, or want to check the status of the service in regards to Pan Government Accreditation please contact email@example.com.
So, your requirements process should run something like this:
- What are our business needs?
- What common categories of service do they fall into?
Step 2 Find best-fit candidate service(s)
When you know what kinds of services you are looking for it’s time to search the CloudStore to see what fits best.
In many cases you will not find something that meets 100% of your requirements – that’s not the aim of the exercise, you are looking for what best meets them. In practice you might find that the Requirements / Best-Fit process takes a couple of iterations as you understand what commodity services are available.
Step 3 From the Long List to the Short List
When you first look on the CloudStore for Services you will likely be searching on the type of service that you need rather than specific features. This will give you a long list of suppliers. From this you can use the CloudStore and the Suppliers’ information to work down to those suppliers that best meet your requirements including your budget.
When you have a Short List of best-fit services you can simply select the supplier you want based on which one has the lowest price: see: Buying and Not Buying.
In some cases your short list will not comprise of services that are functionally identical as far as your requirements are concerned, but you still need to make a fair choice among them. To do this you can look at four aspects of the services and use these to measure which service in the short list best meets your needs. You can weight these factors however you like just so long as the same weighting is applied to the whole short list in the same way. The factors are:
1. Whole life cost
2. Functional fit
3. Non functional characteristics
4. Service management
To determine which of the services is the best fit you might need to look at Service Definitions in detail and even try the services – but you must do the same with each one on your short list.
In some cases your requirement may need two or more services from the CloudStore. This of course can get complex as you might be faced with a situation where you can easily find the cheapest option for one half of your requirement but that does not work with the cheapest option for the other half, or it increases the overall cost above another combination of services that individually don’t appear to be the cheapest etc.
In such cases you need to look to combine your two or more short lists into the combinations of solutions that make best overall sense and then apply the four factors listed above to them (see FAQ for more detail).
Step 4 Buying and not buying
Congratulations you have found the service you are after. If you want to buy it (you don’t have to of course), you now have to do two things: buy the service and ‘not buy’ the rest of the short list.
If you use the MEAT process for selecting a supplier you must inform those suppliers that you short list but do not buy from that they made the short list but were not selected. It would be further assistance to suppliers if you said why they were not selected. This does not apply if you use the lowest price method.
To buy one of the Services you form what’s known as a Call-Off contract with the supplier. If something is on the CloudStore it means that they already have a contract with Government to supply services, all you are doing is agreeing exactly which ones you want supplied to you.
To place an order with a supplier you should follow whichever of your organisation’s procedures fits with the buying option the supplier has provided. For example you may have access to Government Procurement Services GEM system or you may have a GPC card or purchase order system.
To continue the discussion or if you have any other questions please get in touch with one of the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which services on the CloudStore have Pan Government Accreditation?