HMG goes cloudy

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.

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    • dave on 2012/02/26 at 6:03 pm

    Hello. The solution in question is pure open source software. It has been deployed with US federal government cloud project for the integration of legacy applications and databases to deliver services in support of new application development. It falls into the category of information integration and information management. Most organizations are dealing with multiple, somewhat immovable, legacy applications; a suite of more modern applications; and new applications and services that need to be developed. The solution in question supports that rapid development and delivery. In addition the solution provides a archiving capability that can support single view of citizen by merging the data from many different systems and schema into a single database. Drop me a mail if you want more information.

    • Mick on 2012/02/26 at 10:25 pm


    Thanks for taking the time to reply. But I am still none the wiser

    My initial frustration was aimed at the poorly implemented g-cloud “CloudStore” service (which was clearly rushed out of the door without much testing). The only response I got to my search for “open source software” was your company’s offering.

    Forgive me, but your response to my post does little to enlighten me as to what your product actually offers. I say “product”, because I confess to a dislike of the word “solution” when I have not described a problem. Of course, your company is not alone in using this formulation, but that does not excuse the, in my view, sloppy, wording.

    I have tried to find what it is you are actually trying to sell, but the domain “” seems to have no presence other than a holding page on Come on please. I would love to see a small UK company successfully providing bespoke builds of systems based on OSS products in response to HMG requirements. But if the best your company can do in showcasing what is really possible in a rapid build of a system is a single page on then you have a really long uphill struggle ahead. A /really/, /really/ long struggle.



    • dave on 2012/02/27 at 1:34 pm

    not sure really understand. in your original blog post you complain about marketing drivel. and now you complain because we dont have some flashy marketing website. that really isn’t our business. i think IBM and SAP were also awarded G-Cloud framework supplier agreements if you are looking for web site with lots of white papers.

    difference between a product and solution? a solution solves a particular business problem using a set of products and professional services. our award is in the category of professional services. our solution framework is based on a set of open source products/components.

    i hope that clarifies.

    our work has so far been under customer confidentially agreement and sold through a partner with 8(a) STARS II GWAC agreement. hence there has been no need to advertise or make a website. our value proposition has been communicated through proposals to clients.

    the UK G-cloud works in same way. it can be a catalogue for buyers to find vendors/products but there is also a tender (ITT, RFP etc) process with the procurement portal for the approved suppliers where the customer need (for products or services) is expressed in the ITT/RFP document


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