Tuesday 10 September 2019

Another Government cloud services framework

NHS SBS Cloud Services Framework 24 suppliersThe UK Government’s G-Cloud framework, for the procurement of cloud-based services, is open to any public sector organisation. Which begs the question why has NHS Shared Business Services deemed it necessary to launch its own Cloud Solutions Framework? The Joint Venture between the Department of Health and Sopra Steria, providing finance, procurement, ICT, employment and other corporate services has just launched the framework, which will run until September 2021 with a two-year extension option. It is aimed at NHS, police, local authorities, educational establishments and other public sector organisations

The answer is that the framework seeks to do better than G-Cloud in a couple of ways. Firstly, the latest iteration of the G-Cloud framework (11) now has 4,200 suppliers (offering in excess of 30,000 services); in our view (one that we have expressed many times before), this makes it very difficult for public sector organisations to identify the best supplier for their needs. The new NHS SBS Cloud Solutions Framework, conversely, has gone through a rigorous procedure to select just 24 suppliers (see table) across four Lots (10-20 in each); the aim, according to Phil Davies, Procurement Director for NHS SBS, is to simplify a “crowded and complex market”. The selected few include both large and small suppliers, specialists and generalists. Public sector organisations should have more confidence they are selecting the best of the best. The framework is also designed so that suppliers are encouraged to invest in and launch innovative product and solutions over the life of the arrangement.

Secondly, the framework Lots are organised differently. While G-Cloud offers Lot 1 IaaS and PaaS; Lot 2 SaaS; and Lot 3 Specialist Cloud Services, NHS SBS’ framework has 4 Lots: Solution Design & Consultancy; IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS; Cloud Support Services; and End-to-End Cloud Solutions. By including the latter, the framework has made it easier for public sector organisations to tackle more complex digital transformation projects.

The framework’s launch coincides with the Government Digital Service’s lead technology advisor publishing a blog highlighting informal research it has carried out into the progress of the Government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy. The research has identified that public sector organisations are unsure whether to go ‘single supplier’ or ‘multi-supplier’ to meet their needs. It is clear that the Government has much to think about; one of the fears is that departments an agencies risk lock-in with their chosen cloud supplier.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: publicsector   nhs   cloud   procurement   government  

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