I had the opportunity to be across the pond recently and met with Chris Chant, programme director for the UK Government G-Cloud initiative. Chris is an extremely energetic, funny and very engaging government official who has built a revolutionary marketplace called “The CloudStore”. The CloudStore is the online appstore of the UK Government’s G-Cloud framework for cloud-based IT services. The G-Cloud framework is set to revolutionize the purchasing, management and delivery of public sector IT services and the way suppliers work with the government. If you have not yet heard of this initiative, please visit http://gcloud.civilservice.gov.uk/. It is really cool.

Around 18 months ago the UK Government realized that they were spending way too much (>70%) of their annual IT budget with less than 12 major suppliers. Further, they were dealing with antiquated and bloated vendor pricing models that offered little accountability. Chris and his band of rebels (with UK Cabinet level support) started with a vision to build a marketplace where every department of the UK Government could quickly and easily procure services, with transparent pricing, to address business challenges – without having to navigate a protracted, multi-year mind numbing procurement process. The site launched earlier this year and although Chris and his team expected to attract around 50 vendors/service providers, 1700 registered! RUNAWAY SUCCESS!

This provides a tremendous opportunity for new and innovative small/medium businesses to engage directly with the UK Government and potentially revolutionize the IT infrastructure over time, while dramatically reducing the cost. The site will also include a review section so the cream will rise to the top. Congratulations to Chris, his team and the vision of the UK Government for breaking the mold on an antiquated system and moving aggressively towards using new technology in the cloud. Lucidworks is signing up when the registration opens up again and we can’t wait.

This might be a good thing for the United States Government to take a look at…