Innovation and changeCloud ComputingAmazon strengthens government cloud influence

Amazon strengthens government cloud influence

Contract award raises questions over government's commitment to small businesses

The influence of Amazon Web Services (AWS) on the UK public sector has further strengthened after its technology was chosen to power a new government platform.

AWS technology is being used to host the foundation stage of the Crown Marketplace platform, a portal being developed on which government departments and councils will be able to procure goods and services. The platform is being built by government IT design consultancy Dxw Digital who, as an independent company, can choose any technology provider for their projects. In this instance, they are using AWS technology.

The platform will have Amazon’s infrastructure embedded in the portal, with a report in the Telegraph claiming that this could put the cloud giant in a better position to be chosen at later stages of the project.

An end date for the contract is stated as 23 September 2020 and, according to the contract award notice, the scope of Dxw’s work on the project includes digitising and streamlining the paper-based processes that public sector users have to follow when buying common goods and services through five of the CCS’s commercial agreements.

These agreements span facilities management, management consultancy, legal services, agency supply teachers and apprenticeship training services, and the outcome of this project will – the CCS hopes – lay the foundations for the broader Crown Marketplace to be built.

A spokesman for the Crown Commercial Service told us: “The Crown Commercial Service technology programme involves many different services, partners and activities. As a G-Cloud provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was engaged to provide just one part of that programme – its hosting services.

“Other suppliers have and will continue to be contacted to support the Government as the programme progresses.”

AWS is thought to have won around £16m worth of contracts with the Government in 2017, making it one of the most dominant cloud providers. This latest, indirect involvement comes at a time when the government is championing small businesses. Last year Oliver Dowden, the minister for implementation, said: “This government is listening to the business community and is committed to levelling the playing field for smaller suppliers to win work in the public sector.”

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