The government’s much criticised CloudStore seems to be making headway following changes to search functionality and the launch of a new purchasing portal following a delay.
The new search functionality prioritises titles and descriptions so users can get the right results. It’s designed to make searches more user-friendly, allowing them to search more quickly and easily.
The latest iteration of the public sector cloud procurement framework, G-Cloud 5, went live last week with over 1,100 suppliers making it into the provider’s index.
However, at the time public sector users were unable to browse the updated list of cloud providers through the G-Cloud online shop front CloudStore as planned.
The Cabinet Office blamed the delay on the time it was taking to update CloudStore with a full range of services. It was claimed that final amendments on the site were causing a search issue and as a result users could not search the site. However, blips in the new search functionality seem to have been ironed out and the service is now live and open to public sector users.
The news has been greeted positively by cloud providers. Peter Groucutt, managing director of cloud service provider Databarracks said: “From the buyer side, what you really want from the CloudStore is to go to one procurement tool and use it to find the services you need, create your long-lists and short-lists and then buy the service from the supplier.
“Our expectation of how accurate and simple a search process should be comes from our use of search engines like Google. In fact, we have heard a lot of feedback from G-Cloud buyers that in order to find services, they have to go outside the CloudStore to search for services in a search engine, then go back into the CloudStore and find the suppliers by name.”
Referring to the new search functionality Groucutt added: “It’s great to see these changes happening; now the key is to ensure a continued level of improvement across all areas of the framework... for the public sector to continue to make the best use of services available to them through G-Cloud, other concerns need to be addressed too.”
Education is seen as the biggest barrier to cloud adoption by the public sector. Unsurprisingly cloud providers say more needs to be done by central government to educate local authorities and councils on the benefits of buying services through the framework.
Recently, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude announced that public sector organisations have spent £175m procuring IT services through the framework, almost doubling the spend since January this year.