The Government’s new CloudStore went live on 20th February 2012 - a huge achievement both for the Government’s G-Cloud team and the Microsoft partner that built the store from scratch in just six weeks Solidsoft.

Solidsoft CEO, Garth Pickup, says that his company relished the challenge whilst welcoming the opportunity to showcase what they could do with Microsoft Azure. In fact, they were so keen to undertake the development that they offered to do so for free.

The resulting online catalogue is a remarkable achievement, and one that that will profoundly impact both the future use of technology and the way in which the public sector buys its technology. Complete pricing and feature transparency on the store will, for the first time, enable ‘apples to be compared to apples’ and ensure that public sector organisations buy the right technology for the right job at the right price, and at the right time.

Says Pickup, “It is only right to make cloud purchasing easy to compare, and we are very proud to have played our part in making this happen. There is, of course, more that can be done to extend the
CloudStore’s capabilities further. For example, we need to give suppliers the ability to change their pricing/descriptions in order to remain competitive, and to make sure that people can ‘on-board’ new products from existing suppliers and new suppliers.

“The G-Cloud programme has many plans for the development of the store; indeed, there is no reason why it couldn’t be operated on behalf of government by a mutual tasked with maintaining and assuring products. It could even be self-funding in same way as the Apple app store! The possibilities are endless.”

Pickup is also enthusiastic about the Microsoft products and services he used for the development: “Their technology has provided us with a great leg up over the years in reusability, whilst at the same time giving us the freedom to choose the right tools to do a job, regardless of whether the focus be on speed, cost reduction or resilience.

“One if the things that attracts you to working with Microsoft is that they have a terrifically vibrant and mixed partner community – over 600,000 worldwide – and a fantastic professional network.

Pickup is rightly proud of the CloudStore’s very visible development within the tightest of timeframes. Since going live, the CloudStore developers have been praised in the press and by the BBC.
Posted by Howard.