Going global - GDS wants to open up Digital Marketplace to emerging economies

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez March 13, 2018
The Government Digital Service (GDS) has announced plans to expand the Digital Marketplace, making it a platform for governments around the world to use.

global digital marketplace gds
The Government Digital Service (GDS) has announced plans to take its innovative procurement platform, the Digital Marketplace, global. It foresees an opportunity for suppliers to sell their services via the frameworks on the Digital Marketplace to countries overseas, particularly emerging economies.

Services on the Digital Marketplace - which includes the G-Cloud and Digital Specialists and Outcomes frameworks - have been limited to public sector organisations in the UK.

The Digital Marketplace has helped to transform and simplify the selling of cloud and digital services to UK government buyers. It intends to provide a transparent, searchable platform, with the aim of democratising procurement in government, which has traditionally been dominated by a handful of large SIs.

A total of £3.2 billion has been spent through the Digital Marketplace in just under 6 years. Of that total, 48% is spent with SMEs – that’s £1.43 of every £3.

That being said, problems still remain with the current iteration of the Digital Marketplace, with complaints being aired regularly by suppliers and buyers.

GDS, however, has revealed that it received funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to expand the Digital Marketplace, as part of their work on anti-corruption.

GDS said in a blog this week that it is now ready to “go global” with the platform, but that it needs help with the development.

It said:

We’re working on a project called Global Digital Marketplace. As the name suggests, it’s an expansion of the Digital Marketplace that will be open to international governments. And it means UK suppliers will have access to the global market.

Global Digital Marketplace is a partnership between GDS and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It aims to help international governments make their procurement more transparent, in order to prevent corruption and to boost their digital, data and technology sectors.

We announced the project at an event last September, where we looked at how Global Digital Marketplace could support emerging economies to deliver better public services and reform their digital and technology procurement.

GDS said that it is holding another event next month to further refine how Global Digital Marketplace can work.

It states that the event, which is on the 12th April, is open to government and industry, but particularly digital, data and technology (DDaT) suppliers. GDS wants to hear from both large enterprises and SMEs who are interested in exporting their services globally.

At the event, it will discuss the challenges and opportunities of exporting DDaT services to support global government transformation.
In particular, the event will focus on:

  • plans to work collaboratively with UK DDaT supplier partners
  • plans to support Smart City initiatives around the world
  • How GDS can work with government organisations and suppliers to support international governments to deliver transformation

In other recent news, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has made a u-turn on its decision to hold off submissions for the G-Cloud 10 framework for 12 months, announcing that a new version of the framework will now be open for bids in April.

In November, CCS had said that a new version of the G-Cloud framework would be delayed by a year, meaning that a new iteration would not have gone live for two years, prompting dismay from suppliers.

One of the reasons cited by CCS was that it was developing a new version of the Digital Marketplace - although it wasn’t clear whether this global version was the new development in question.

My take

A good opportunity for UK suppliers, particularly within the context of Brexit Britain. Although it can’t be denied that selling to our European partners within the the single market and customs union would have created an even larger opportunity than what suppliers may be now faced with. But nonetheless, this is an idea that has been touted for years and one that could be a huge opportunity for the UK.

Image credit - Sourced via GDS

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