What to learn from a micro-SME winning a G-Cloud award

When running EuroCloud in the UK, a role I enjoyed for 3 years to July 2015, there was one unmistakeable signal that shone out from the activities we undertook. The cloud vendors needed help understanding how to be successful on G-Cloud.  G-Cloud events were sell-outs, participation in the Q&A was tireless, the networking party was frenzied and the feedback was positive and always called for more.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Why do only a small number of vendors make enough money to make being on G-Cloud worthwhile?” hashtags=”GCloud”]

The question that needs to be answered is why a small number of vendors are successful and a large proportion (90 per cent for SaaS) don’t make enough money to make being on G-Cloud worthwhile.  The events EuroCloud run always include inviting the successful to show-and-tell how they do it; it’s a credit to the community that these firms are prepared to give away part of their competitive advantage. But it is in their interest that G-Cloud grows and becomes the model Cloud marketplace.

That’s also why we started the G-Cloud Outstanding Success Story Award. And why my firm (micro-SME that we are) is pleased to sponsor it. It showcases how to succeed; look here for the real story on what works, and how the winner has adopted not just a functional service but has wrapped the whole-product in a packaging of non-functional attributes which have been correctly assessed to be requirements or desirables and compensate, if compensation is necessary, for not being a global vendor.

This year’s winner, Linkspace, a flexible data management system that empowers business process owners to create, modify and control the data in and around their evolving business processes is developed on Open Source components by Ctrl O Ltd, a micro-SME that is getting it right when so many firms with a lot more marketing muscle have not yet found the path to success.

What did they do? Linkspace (SaaS) was deployed by the MoJ in two contrasting instances to securely manage sensitive data that required concurrent access and updated by dispersed staff with highly granular security administration (who can look at what and do which tasks).  Linkspace was selected against opposition probably in large part because Ctrl O have been painstaking in making themselves easy for that type of customer to do business with.

I asked Andy Beverley, Ctrl O’s CEO, to explain the secret formula that seems to be eluding some pretty heavyweight vendors who are clearly successful off G-Cloud:

“I think it’s down to two things. Firstly, supplying exactly what the customer wants in as simple a manner as possible: we know the language in which our customer articulates their need, and understand how they want to fulfil a requirement. Secondly, the whole service needs to meet the sometimes-difficult needs of the public sector. That includes the security requirements, and keeping the overall management easy and uncomplicated, without a myriad of potentially costly support options.

In the case of Linkspace, because the software can be adapted as the business process evolves, there’s no costly external consultants’ bill every time something changes.”

[easy-tweet tweet=”The G-Cloud Outstanding Success Story Award provides positive examples for #cloud firms” hashtags=”GCloud”]

In my view, this is an exemplary story, which is the whole purpose of the G-Cloud Outstanding Success Story Award, it is a sign-post that simply shows the way to those vendors who are open-mindedly looking for answers.  It is a story that has many of the marketing best practice features that are common in many of the successful G-Cloud SaaS vendors I have studied. It’s worth taking a look at the full case study which can be found here.

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Lindsay Smith, Principal, GCloudSales.UK

Lindsay Smith BA FCA founded the G-Cloud Special Interest Group at EuroCloud, the independent trade association for cloud vendors, where he was Secretary General from 2012 to 2015. He has closely studied the evolution of G-Cloud since its creation and is a firm believer in its benefit to the industry, the citizen, innovation and economic prosperity. Lindsay’s degree from Warwick University included the disciplines of mathematics, econometrics and statistics and he is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He has 30 years Board level experience in the IT (Software/SaaS) industry and for the last 15 years has been UK Regional Director for the York Group, an international marketing platform assisting SaaS companies to grow.