G-Cloud Procurement: how public sector bodies can buy cloud services

Buying cloud services has never been quicker or more cost-effective for public sector organisations. In this article we look at the G-Cloud Procurement process.

Posted on 19 September 2016 - Hosting
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Buyers in government departments, local authorities and other public sector bodies are able to find and procure the services and products they need from the Government’s Digital Marketplace and G-Cloud framework. So, how does G-Cloud procurement work?

The basic steps

In some ways G-Cloud procurement is similar to traditional procurement. After all, there is no substitute for careful consideration and planning as to what your organisation’s requirements are and getting approval from within your organisation to buy those products or services. This process will inform your budget for the project and help to identify the criteria that will be used to find the most suitable supplier.

It’s at that stage that G-Cloud procurement comes into its own. Instead of advertising or making cold approaches to potential suppliers and hoping for a decent response to your tender process before the deadline passes, you can instead search among the pre-approved suppliers listed on the G-Cloud framework.

This helps you to easily find suppliers with the expertise that is best suited to your requirements for any given project. The Digital Marketplace blog has a useful article on searching for the services you need. The framework’s transparent pricing ensures you can see exactly which suppliers fall within your budget and help you avoid any nasty surprises on that front, while the fact that all suppliers have gone through a stringent application process before being added to the framework offers reassurance that your potential candidates are up to the job.

The shortlist

Having conducted a search for suitable suppliers, you can then draw up a shortlist of companies that are best able to provide the products or services that best match your requirements and will do so at either the cheapest or best value price.

After evaluating all the options, you can select a supplier based on the criteria you outlined at the start of the process and award the contract.

The migration

It is now time to get the new product or service up and running. This process will vary between suppliers, so we can only talk about our processes.

This entails carrying out a full infrastructure audit and identifying and documenting all stakeholders involved in the project. We then consult with each of the stakeholders to establish what challenges, resources and external factors might impact the migration process.

The next stage is to carry out a ‘dry run’ of the migration process to test the processes, timings and problem areas of the actual migration. No changes are made to the live environment during this test, which will inform the plan for the actual migration. A secondary dry run will be carried out using an amended plan based on the results of the first test.

It is then time for cutover: the execution of the agreed migration during a planned maintenance window. We keep all existing infrastructure in place to allow for easy roll-back in the event of any unforeseen issues. Pre-defined thresholds as to when a roll-back would be needed will have been established during the planning process.

The debrief

The final stage of the migration, which brings to an end the G-Cloud procurement process, is the debrief. We will closely monitor immediate support contact and service feedback in the period immediately after cutover. 

If appropriate, we will then decommission any old infrastructure.

Next comes the debrief itself to ensure that the G-Cloud procurement process has achieved all of its required outcomes. Assuming it has, the migration is complete.

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