The UK Cabinet Office has announced the winning bidders to supply IT goods and services to UK Government under its new framework contract called “G-Cloud”. The winners are listed on a new website called the CloudStore which, supposedly, allows HMG procurement specialists to search for the goods and services they want to purchase. The new framework is supposed to break the old cosy relationships in HMG procurement circles between the big suppliers and HMG Departments. Politics and personal prejudice aside, I think Francis Maude’s intentions in setting the new services framework is actually quite honourable. But, frankly, the results baffle me.
I picked “Infrastructure as a Service” as my first choice and the list I was presented with gave several suppliers for which the description said “The supplier did not provide a description of this service, please click on the link to find out about this service.”. Of course, clicking the link merely confirms what the description says – no info. So I tried a search for “open source software” on the IaaS page and got no results. I also got no results when similarly searching “Software as a Service”. Excuse me? Am I expected to believe that not one supplier of the 255 successful companies even mentions open source software in their offering of IaaS os SaaS? Has no-one heard of the LAMP stack?
I then widened the search to include any and all service by any and all provider and got just one result – for some company called “Cloud Cache and Archive Limited”. The description says:
“Cloud Cache And Archive Limited is a privately funded software company with development based in London. Cloud Cache and Archive provides a game changing solution to allow the rapid integration of legacy applications and databases; and the deployment of new enterprise services and Web 2.0 applications on the Cloud. The solution leverages “big data” technologies; a 100% open source software; and cloud native platforms to provide Agile Information Integration and Agile Information Management all based on a cloud native platform. The proven solution is designed for Governments and large commercial organizations.”
I’m sorry, but that is just marketing drivel. WTF does that actually mean? What solution? To what problem? What is a “cloud native platform”? And how will this help a government procurement specialist (who, trust me, will not be an ICT specialist) choose a supplier?
Answers on a post card please.