How to sell cloud hosting, software and support on the Digital Marketplace
The Digital Marketplace and G-Cloud
Public sector organisations, including agencies and arm’s length bodies, use the Digital Marketplace to find cloud services, specialists who can work on digital projects and physical datacentre space. If you want to supply any of these things to government, you need to apply to be on the relevant framework.
|Type of service||Example services||Framework|
|Cloud hosting, software and support||Accounting software or content delivery networks||G-Cloud|
|Physical datacentre space||Crown Hosting|
|Digital outcomes, specialists, and user research facilities and participants||An appointment booking system beta or a technical architect||Digital Outcomes and Specialists|
The public sector can use the G-Cloud framework on the Digital Marketplace to find:
- cloud hosting, for example content delivery networks or load balancing services
- cloud software, for example accounting tools or customer service management software
- cloud support, for example migration services or ongoing support
If you want to sell these services on the Digital Marketplace, you need to apply to G-Cloud and provide your service details.
You can only do this when an Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) contract notice has been issued. At this point, suppliers will have 4 to 6 weeks to apply to the framework. On average, a contract notice will be issued every 6 to 9 months.
At the moment, the G-Cloud framework is closed for supplier applications. The next G-Cloud framework is expected to open in 2019.
If your application is successful, buyers will be able to find your services on the Digital Marketplace.
Who can apply to the framework
G-Cloud is open to cloud service suppliers of all sizes. Previously, smaller suppliers may have found it difficult to invest time and resources in the long application process. The simplified application process creates a fairer and more competitive marketplace.
You don’t need to be based in the UK to provide services.
Frameworks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Suppliers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can sell through G-Cloud but there are also public sector procurement websites for each country:
Public Contracts Scotland for opportunities with public sector bodies in Scotland
Sell2Wales for opportunities with public sector bodies in Wales
eSourcing NI for opportunities with public sector bodies in Northern Ireland
Who shouldn’t apply
G-Cloud isn’t for:
- services that aren’t cloud-related
- recruitment or contractor services
- ‘colocation’ services, for example equipment the buyer rents from a supplier’s datacentre
- bespoke development
Services you can sell on the framework
Cloud hosting suppliers provide cloud platform or infrastructure services that can help buyers:
- deploy, manage and run software
- provision and use processing, storage or networking resources
Buyers only need to pay for what they use.
Suppliers must provide cloud hosting services in at least one of these categories:
- archiving, backup and disaster recovery
- compute and application hosting
- container service
- content delivery network
- NoSQL database
- relational database
- data warehousing
- load balancing
- logging and analysis
- message queuing and processing
- networking (including Network as a Service)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- infrastructure and platform security
- distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) protection
- intrusion detection
- protective monitoring
- block storage
- object storage
On G-Cloud 8, cloud hosting was known as ‘Platform as a Service’ and ‘Infrastructure as a Service’.
Cloud software suppliers provide applications that are accessed over the internet and hosted in the cloud. Buyers only need to pay for what they use.
Suppliers must provide cloud software services in at least one of these categories:
- accounting and finance
- analytics and business intelligence
- application security
- collaborative working
- creative, design and publishing
- customer relationship management (CRM)
- electronic document and records management (EDRM)
- human resources and employee management
- information and communication technology (ICT)
- legal and enforcement
- operations management
- project management and planning
- schools, education and libraries
- software development tools
- transport and logistics
On G-Cloud 8, cloud software was known as ‘Software as a Service’.
Cloud support suppliers provide services to help buyers set up and maintain their cloud services.
Suppliers must provide cloud support services in at least one of these categories:
- setup and migration
- security services
- quality assurance and performance testing
- ongoing support
On G-Cloud 8, cloud support was known as ‘Specialist Cloud Services’.
All G-Cloud suppliers must work in a way that helps buyers comply with the Technology Code of Practice.
How to apply
All supplier applications go through the Digital Marketplace. To apply, you must:
- Create, or log into, a supplier account on the Digital Marketplace.
- Start your G-Cloud application.
- Make the supplier declaration on the Digital Marketplace.
- Add service information on the Digital Marketplace.
- Wait for eligibility checks to be made on your information.
- Get the result of your application.
- Sign and return your framework agreement on the Digital Marketplace.
Each step in this process is mandatory.
1. Create, or log into, a supplier account on the Digital Marketplace
You’ll need a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number first.
After you’ve created an account, you can invite extra contributors to help you add services more quickly.
2. Start your G-Cloud application
When G-Cloud is open and you’re logged into your account, click on ‘Start application’. This starts the application process and signs you up to receive G-Cloud updates.
Asking questions during the application process
You can ask ‘clarification’ questions during the application process. All questions about this procurement must be submitted through the Digital Marketplace on the G-Cloud updates page. CCS won’t respond to questions individually.
All questions and answers will be posted regularly on the G-Cloud updates page. Anyone who has started an application will be notified when new clarification questions and answers are available.
If you have any technical issues with the Digital Marketplace, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commercially sensitive clarification questions
You may not want the answer to your question to be published. Explain when you submit the question why you believe that making the question and response public would put you at a disadvantage.
If GDS and CCS don’t think that there’s a clear need to withhold the question and answer, you’ll be asked to decide if:
- the question and the response should in fact be published
- you want to withdraw the question
3. Make the supplier declaration on the Digital Marketplace
You must make the supplier declaration to be eligible to provide cloud services to the public sector. If you don’t complete the supplier declaration, any services you mark as complete won’t be automatically submitted. You have to:
- agree to the framework terms
- confirm how you’ll work with government
- answer questions to establish grounds for mandatory exclusion
- answer questions to establish grounds for discretionary exclusion
- provide information about your organisation
4. Add your service information on the Digital Marketplace
You need to provide your service details on the Digital Marketplace. You can copy your services if you’re reapplying and your services haven’t changed.
Each service you include needs to fit into one of 3 categories, or ‘lots’:
You can apply to provide services in as many categories as you want. Each service you add must be marked as ‘complete’ on the Digital Marketplace.
Your services will be automatically submitted as part of your application on the deadline day if you’ve also made your supplier declaration.
Information you need to include
You’ll be asked to include information like a short service description, product features and benefits, and pricing details. You have:
- 50 words to introduce your service
- 100 words to describe up to 10 service benefits (10 words per benefit), for example simplified system maintenance
- 100 words to describe up to 10 service features (10 words per feature), for example real-time reporting
You’ll also have your own supplier page where you have 50 words to describe your organisation.
Writing advice for suppliers
Clear content can help a buyer understand and, ultimately, choose your service. Any descriptions you include should be relevant, concise and written in plain English. Don’t include keywords. They make services harder to find and understand.
Talking about security
You’ll need to answer a series of questions to help buyers understand how your service works. Buyers will use the government’s Cloud Security Principles to help them understand how secure your service is.
Don’t describe your service as ‘Official Sensitive’. This isn’t a classification. Read the:
Documents you need to include
Before you can submit a cloud service to the Digital Marketplace, you need to add a:
- pricing document
- terms and conditions (specific to that service) document
You can also add a:
- ‘service definition’ document
- Skills for the Information Age (SFIA) rate card
All documents should be in an open format.
Your pricing document should include:
- the service price, including unit prices, volume discounts and data extraction costs
- what isn’t included in the price
- prices for extra services
Terms and conditions
The service terms and conditions you provide can’t be changed while the framework is live.
There can only be one set of terms and conditions on the Digital Marketplace for each cloud service.
The terms and conditions document is not the signed framework agreement signature page between CCS and the supplier.
Service definition document
You’ll be asked questions about how your service works when you apply, but if you want to provide more information, you can add a ‘service definition’ document. This could include detailed information about:
- what the service is
- the levels of data backup and restore, and disaster recovery you’ll provide
- any onboarding and offboarding support you provide
- a pricing overview, including volume discounts or data extraction costs
- service constraints like maintenance windows or the level of customisation allowed
- service levels like performance, availability and support hours
- how you’ll repay buyers if you don’t meet service levels
- the ordering and invoicing process
- how buyers or suppliers can terminate a contract
- any technical requirements
Your service definition document will be on your service page on the Digital Marketplace but it won’t be indexed by search.
Don’t include links marketing the service or pricing information. You can refer to your website.
5. Wait for eligibility checks to be made on your information
CCS will evaluate the information you provide in your application against the criteria published in the invitation to apply on the Digital Marketplace.
- monitor supplier credit scores, for example Experian credit scores and Dun & Bradstreet financial stress scores
- investigate specific queries raised about suppliers
- perform random spot checks on services to ensure they match the information provided in supplier applications
6. Get the result of your application
You’ll then get an email telling you whether your application to G-Cloud has been successful. You can also access your application result through your Digital Marketplace account.
7. Sign and return your framework agreement
If your application was successful, you’ll enter into an agreement with CCS. Your framework agreement will be available in your account on the Digital Marketplace. You’ll need to sign and return your framework agreement within 10 working days of it being issued.
8. Your services will go live on the Digital Marketplace
Your services will be available on the Digital Marketplace as soon as the framework goes live. Buyers who want to buy your services must enter into a contract (or ‘call-off’) with you and accept the terms and conditions you submitted when you applied. The maximum length of a contract is 24 months.
The G-Cloud framework isn’t like most other frameworks because it incorporates the suppliers’ terms and conditions. If there are differences between a supplier’s terms and conditions and those in the contract, the contract terms will be used.
- G-Cloud templates and legal documents
- how to talk about being a supplier on the Digital Marketplace
- how buyers award contracts
When to apply to the framework
The G-Cloud 10 framework is closed for supplier applications. The next G-Cloud framework is expected to open in 2019.
A new version of the G-Cloud framework is released about every 6 to 9 months. If you have an account on the Digital Marketplace, we’ll email you before a new framework iteration opens for applications so you can prepare. You need to apply to continue to offer services.
Sign up for email notifications about when the framework opens.
You can apply to supply services when a new version is published on the OJEU. You don’t need to be based in the UK to apply to the framework, but you need to agree to the terms of the framework agreement and contract, which are governed by English law.
Follow the steps in ‘How to apply to the framework’ to submit a new application.
Applying for a new category
If you want to offer services in a category that you haven’t successfully applied for before, you can apply to do this when a new version of the G-Cloud framework is released. You’ll get a ‘contract notice’ (formal notification telling all potential suppliers about a public sector contract opportunity) from the OJEU before each new release of the framework.
Editing existing services
You can make edits to your service:
- features and benefits
You can’t change the service itself or how it works.
You could be asked to prove it’s still the same service if you make a major edit. If you can’t provide evidence, your service could be removed from the Digital Marketplace.
How to remove services
You can see a list of your G-Cloud services in your Digital Marketplace account. To remove one, select it, scroll to the bottom and click the ‘remove service’ button.
When you’ve done this, it won’t come up in Digital Marketplace search results any more but you’ll still be able to see the service details in your account.
What removing services means for buyers
If a buyer enters into a contract for a service that a supplier then removes, the contract is still valid. The URL of the service will remain public but a banner will be added to the service page saying when the supplier made the service unavailable.
Putting a service back on the Digital Marketplace
If you’ve removed a service and want to restore it, email email@example.com with the details, including the service ID.
Read more information about the Digital Marketplace.