The Digital Marketplace Contenders, 6: Blue Frontier, Salisbury

Dec 04, 2015

In the latest in our series looking at small, promising new entrants to the UK public sector tech supply chain, we meet Gillan Ide, Portfolio Manager at digital agency Blue Frontier

Tell us about your company and the value proposition, then, Gillan.

With pleasure. We're a digital agency, but that makes us sound a lot less diverse than we actually are! We provide a whole set of solutions and services, from Website development to support to helping build mobile apps, working closely with internal IT development teams: we first specialised in database software and report writing. Since then, we've expanded to offer a full range of technical, web and software services for business. We're about 30 people now, growing steadily.

In terms of who we work with, we have a wide range of clients in the private, public and connected health/NHS space. Specific customers in the latter markets include Salisbury City Council, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust. We offer a really broad range of help for these and other organisations, all the way from digital marketing to project roll-out.

Great overview, thanks. So Why are you going on to The Digital Marketplace? What do you expect to get out of it? Why now?

Well, we've been on the g-cloud for a couple of years - but I have to say I am not sure we've really made the most of it as yet. It started as a bit of a Catch-22, where we knew we had to be on it but didn't really know why, I suppose. I am happy to say we didn't take full advantage of it at the outset; all we really knew was that some public sector customers wanted us there.

What's turned all that round is the latest version, G-Cloud 7. I think the government team there has really revamped it and put a lot of effort in, and it shows. At the same time, there's the on-going pressure on finances, especially with last week's November Spending Review, which has concentrated a lot of public sector buyers on to the Digital Marketplace as a way to source affordable solutions.

Now customers are more open to the G-Cloud, things are easier. But I will say that our experience proves that you get back what you put in - you need to kep selling and marketing, even when you are on there.

How did you find the process of applying? 

For G-Cloud 6, we got some great help from a specialist in getting companies ready for these sorts of frameworks, Advice Cloud. The guys there were excellent in terms of hand-holding us through all the steps in what is a very complicated process.

Glad to hear it. So, is the cloud a viable delivery mechanism for UK public services?

Like I said, post the Spending Review I think the doors are definitely a lot more open. Public sector CIOs want to save budget while the citizens still want the same level of services they're used to; the only possible way to square that is to look at cloud. At the same time, I think there's also been a shift in the mindset of the suppliers, who want to meet these customers half-way a lot more and really help them. There's even a lot of SME-SME collaboration to try and co-develop the sort of flexible solutions the market needs. Even the big System Integrators are more open to working with smaller tech firms like us now.

All this makes this an exciting time to be in this market and I think we can all expect a lot from G-Cloud 7. 

Thanks for your time Gillan, and good luck on the G-cloud.

To find out more about this G-Cloud-7 Digital Contender, go here

We are looking for other companies entering the Digital Marketplace and would love to feature your experiences in this new on-going editorial series. Please get in touch with us here to kick start process:

(c) 2015

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