In the latest in our series looking at small, promising new entrants to the UK public sector tech supply chain, we meet cloud hosting specialist Cloud9's Director, Michael Owen
Originally called Innovate, what is now Cloud9 started life in 2005 as an IT managed mervices company. We sort of became a victim of our own success, I suppose: the more contracts won meant more people, more headaches and more challenges. In 2011 we reached a tipping point and the company set out to create the a new way of doing business with the cloud, which led to our present identity, Cloud9, getting started.
What we offer is a single cloud platform for all IT services, from raw infrastructure and platforms, to virtual desktops (VDI) and Software as a Service (SaaS). The uniques of Cloud9 are really around how we have designed our platform to maximise efficiencies, process management and automation, service fulfilment and simplification.
This allows Cloud9 to deliver services in minutes rather than hours or days. It makes us highly scalable and very cost effective. Customers range from a £56bn private equity firm to the main UK broadcaster and global telecoms carriers; we also have numerous start-up organisations and resellers.We claim we can on average reduce support calls by 70%, IT costs by 30%, as well as massively improves user experience and business agility.
We went on to G-Cloud for a couple of reasons. Primarily, we are developing a close relationship with Jisc, which owns and operates the JANET higher education network. And so for us to service it and Jisc's customers, we need to be on G-Cloud. Secondly, we believe in the process behind the digital marketplace and what is stands for; we’ve seen the positive impact cloud can have on organisations, be they Ltd, Plc or public sector organisations.
We used the help of an outfit called Advice Cloud who ran the whole process for us. G-Cloud 7 his was our initial listing on the framework, and with limited resources and expertise on the process we decided to use a specialist organisation that offered a no-listing, no-fee service.
We’ve were successfully listed with no issues and have since engaged with several prospects and have opportunities we can now take to the next level. Without being on G-Cloud, public sector organisation are not able to buy our services, and so therefore we not able to entertain a conversation to explore our capabilities.
I’d suggest working with an organisation like Advice Cloud, because they work with SMEs to help get listed effectively; they also run events and provide advice on how to make the most of G-Cloud, and can even help position opportunities for a more effective procurement process. They work on the buying side as well, so have much greater insight that you would have otherwise.
‘Cloud’ is an overused and over hyped term - it doesn’t really mean much by itself! The reality is that cloud services and service provider vary greatly. I’d like to see more of a quality metric for measuring such services, like around migration, support, integration and the cultural support required to work effectively with a key external partner who deliver major IT components to internal teams.
From a service perspective, finally, I see more standardisation of cloud services that public sector organisations can subscribe to off the shelf. But that is a major cultural change in moving from a view of 'understand what you really need as an organisation' to 'what you think you want'. The realities are often very different.
To find out more about this G-Cloud-7 Digital Contender, go here
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