Google Cloud has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UK Crown Commercial Service, a step towards developing a supplier relationship with public sector organisations in the country.
While there might be some UK public sector organisations out there already working with the Google Cloud team, signing a deal with the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) could be considered a seal of approval from a higher bureaucratic power. It’s a valuable credibility badge to have when attempted to secure additional business from public sector customers.
“CCS provides commercial agreements which help organisations across the entire public sector save time and money on buying everyday goods and services,” said Simon Tse, Chief Executive of CCS.
“This MoU with Google Cloud unlocks large-scale business benefits for our customers and demonstrates CCS’s role in helping the public sector serve UK citizens in more innovative ways.”
While the MOU incorporates all services and products offered by the Google Cloud business, particular attention have been afforded to Anthos, a hybrid- and multi-cloud management tool. This is an interesting element of the announcement, as it allows Google to boast about its toolset to aid interoperability in an increasingly complex cloud environment.
This agreement might not seem anything more than a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but it could prove to be important. Theoretically, public sector organisations in the UK should aim to work companies which have been approved by or signed an MOU with CCS. The following is the organisation’s mission statement:
We’ve brought policy, advice and direct buying together in a single organisation to; make savings for customers in both central government and the wider public sector, achieve maximum value from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery for common goods and services across government
In a nutshell, the CCS is aiming to leverage the purchasing power of the UK public sector as a whole, negotiating discount rates and creating standardised contracts. Of course this will dynamic will not work perfectly, and there will be those who ignore the correct procedures, but it could be viewed as an edge over rivals.
Looking through the suppliers listed on the Digital Marketplace, it is an exhaustive list but there are some very big omissions. Google has made it, as has Oracle, perhaps owing to legacy business relationships, but Amazon Web Services and Microsoft do not feature.
If the world is to become more defined by cloud computing, the wrestling match to secure valuable contracts will require every advantage which is possibly available. This MOU with the CCS could certainly prove to be one for Google in its scrap with the other cloud segment leaders.
What is worth noting is that being listed on the Digital Marketplace as a supplier might not mean much. There are several Government departments and agencies offering very lucrative contracts to companies who are not listed.
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Ministry of Justice are high-profile AWS customers, while Microsoft counts the Department for Education, the BBC and Kent County Council as its own. Microsoft Azure is also being used to power the UK’s controversial contact tracing app being used to track and combat COVID-19.
Interestingly enough, what this does demonstrate is Google’s success in monetizing its higher-value services on top of cloud computing basics.
Nick McQuire, of analyst firm CCS Insight, highlighted that Google Cloud does lag behind rivals AWS and Microsoft for UK cloud market share, being viewed as more of a ‘backup’ service provider in a multi-cloud market, but this could change.
“What we are seeing now however is the market shifting more rapidly to Google’s higher-level services on top of compute and storage such as its data, analytics, AI and it’s hybrid multi-cloud management offerings for Kubernetes in Anthos,” said McQuire.
“So, it’s no surprise this announcement reflects this trend. But above all, it highlights that the market is very much in a hybrid multi-cloud picture but no doubt the move is a big boost for Google in the government sector, a segment where we have seen AWS and Microsoft push more aggressively towards in the past.”
Whether this agreement is viewed as merely symbolic or not, it is perhaps evidence that Google is being considered more on level terms with its rivals. This is not to say public sector organisations will not be just as tempted to go with AWS or Microsoft, neither of whom are featured on the Digital Marketplace, but credibility is the first step toward profitability for Google. This is perhaps want this MOU is more than anything else.
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