Five Essential Tips on how to use G-Cloud 10 to engage with CIOs
Advice Cloud’s Strategic Adviser Jos Creese shares his top tips on engaging with CIOs. Don’t just get listed on G-Cloud 10, start engaging from the onset to win business.
G-Cloud was developed to make public service IT procurement easily accessible for cloud- type services with its series of searchable, pre-tendered framework agreements. From it, public-sector organisations can buy services without needing to run a separate tender exercise to legitimise spend.
Despite this, suppliers can still find public service procurement frustrating, reducing business opportunities. A major aspect of this predicament is in expectations. For example, in 2011 the government aimed to shift 50% of new IT spend to cloud based services by 2015, yet that target has not yet been reached by 2018. In 2013 a ‘cloud first’ policy was mandated by government, with expectations of widespread public services adoption outside and within Whitehall, but this has not yet taken root to any great degree.
Yet these policies are undoubtedly the direction of travel for government, and suppliers can help whilst increasing the odds of winning business by engaging with CIOs earlier in the process. This means in addition to having a G-Cloud 10 listing, suppliers need to understand the wider context of public sector challenges, helping the CIO in improving public service outcomes, not just selling products to drive efficiencies. Public sector CIOs need practical solutions based on technology opportunity.
Here are Five Essential Tips on how to do so:
- Any supplier of IT solutions to the public sector needs to be on G-Cloud 10. If you are not, an avenue of sales and marketing will be closed off. But having a listing is not in itself enough.
- IT legacy constraints are critical in the adoption of new technology solutions for the public sector, however strong the business case may appear. Understanding the appetite for risk and digital innovation, the legacy constrainst and the procurement and decision-making process can help to manage expectations of suppliers, especially regarding timescales.
- Understand the context for a sales pitch to the CIO and their team, relating technology opportunity to the challenges of the CIO, especially in implementation. This means risk, total costs of owernship, transition support for example.
- Sell solutions not products. A G-Cloud 10 listing, is not enough in itself to guarantee new business. It’s a shop window for products and services and needs to be backed by marketing and sales to steer prospective public sector client towards the G-Cloud 10 entry and the solution to business problems.
- Suppliers need to build relationships with CIO teams in the public sector to establish reputation, trust, technical credibility, capability and ideally before any tendering or G-Cloud procurement begins.
G-Cloud is here to stay and offers a growing opportunity for public sector clients and suppliers alike in procurement of technology, especially cloud services. It is especially valuable to SMEs, given the costs and hurdles involved in full formal tendering without G-Cloud.
At the same time, G-Cloud cannot guarantee sales or inbound leads. It is a shop window, and sales mechanism and a purchase route but that is all. A G-Cloud 10 listing is a good way of describing your wares and as a starting point for conversation. But what the public sector needs more than technology tools are IT-enabled solutions.
This lies at the heart of ‘digital’ – i.e. new ways of working and delivering public services, made possible by technology opportunity. Therefore, understanding the pressures facing the public sector, empathising with the challenges of the CIO and being realistic about the procurement process, will all help IT suppliers to increase public sector sales and engagement and the value of solutions delivered through G-Cloud.
This blog is part of an Advice Cloud white paper “Use G-Cloud to engage with CIOs”, by Jos Creese.
About the Author: Jos Creese is one of Advice Cloud’s Strategic Advisers with over 30 years in IT leadership experience. Jos has held a range of CIO roles and non-executive director positions and has been described as the most innovative and influential UK CIO. He is Principal Analyst for Eduserv, an Associate Director and previous President of Socitm, and past President of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.