The Crown Commercial Service has indicated that it is set to replace the government’s long-standing cloud first policy with more appropriate guidance.
Since 2013, government organisations have been required to apply the guidelines to all technology procurement decisions. The policy, which was developed by the Government Digital Service, stipulates that buyers should fully evaluate potential [public] cloud solutions first before considering any other option.
Doing so is mandatory for central government entities and strongly recommended for the rest of the public sector.
But CCS said that having worked though the digital transformation journey with many central government departments and wider public sector organisations, it has become apparent that one size does not fit all.
“Organisations should make sure they understand what the journey to ‘cloud’ is and means for them in terms of costs, risks, skills and timescales,” CCS said. “We are seeing more and more customers land on a hybrid solution and therefore ‘cloud first’ may not be right for everyone. Therefore, we have engaged with GDS to find more appropriate guidance,” it added.
The review of the policy comes shortly after CCS took over running of the Digital Marketplace platform from GDS. Over the coming months, the procurement agency is to lead work to develop a replacement platform, currently dubbed Digital Marketplace 2. This comes instead of the Crown Marketplace – a planned ‘Amazonesque’ marketplace for all commodity goods and services – the construction of which is no longer going ahead.
CCS is also looking to create a new commercial agreement covering cloud hosting services. The framework, which will likely launch next year and will initially sit alongside the more generalist G-Cloud vehicle, is set to feature three lots, respectively addressing hyperscale hosting, smaller hosting environments, and related services.
The cloud hosting agreement is likely to feature longer-term call-off contracts – of five years, rather than the two-year deals available under G-Cloud – as well as the scope for further competition, and what it calls normalised pricing.