It is with mixed emotions I read Kate Craig-Wood’s, CEO Memset, blog where she announces she’s given up trying to make G-Cloud a success. Kate has been a cheerleader for G-Cloud ever since it started, so the fact that she has finally given up is poignant.
My emotions are mixed because on one hand I can smile wryly and say “Told you so”. On the other the ideas behind G-Cloud, making government purchasing faster and easier, reducing cost and saving the tax payer money, and opening up government purchasing to small businesses, were and still are laudable.
Unfortunately, government purchasers haven’t made the migration from the 20th to the 21st century, and so G-Cloud has failed.
The reasons are those that I have recited many times:
- Government purchasers like to use “trusted” suppliers
- Suppliers have to run an expensive and long sales cycle, which ultimately increases the price that suppliers must charge
- Political changes mean instability, so suppliers offering subscription SaaS products can’t rely on long life-time values
- They can’t evaluate software themselves so can’t purchase cheap, self-service, applications, which is what the Cloud is all about
We gave up on G-Cloud years ago for all the reasons listed above, plus the fact that getting on the directory itself was a time consuming process.
Having burnt a lot of small businesses once, any future government initiative will have a hard time convincing SMEs to sign up again. We certainly won’t. We’ll wait and see if the Leviathan can really change is behaviour before investing any more time trying to make government more efficient.