The UK government is seeking to speed up departmental IT service standardisation and procurement through an app store available through the G-Cloud programme.
The App Store for the Government (ASG) will contain standardised apps, rated according to price and performance, and offered at the latest best price.
The apps will be available through both a Certified Zone, which will house ready to consume, pre-procured apps, and an Open Zone, where users can cloud-source new innovative apps that can built for a specific purpose.
By offering pre-procured apps, government departments should be able to search for, choose, and start running any standardised app available on the service instantly - at least in theory.
Vice President for Technology and Product Strategy at Open Text Richard Anstey suggests that pre-procurement is more likely to mean pre-negotiated, however.
Normally, when a government department aims to upgrade technology, it could take up to 11 months to allocate the budget to procure it.
Procurement is ruled by a theory of ‘fair play’, where the department must prove that it has not been persuaded by an interested party into using the technology it wishes to procure. By the time this process is completed, more often than not the technology a department has budgeted to procure is already out of date.
As all of the apps in the ASG will have to be paid for, departments will still have to budget to procure an app. By pre-negotiating, procurement time will be significantly reduced, but the process could still take weeks, if not months to finalise.
Even so, any time saved in procurement will speed up the time taken for departments to gain newer technology through apps, reducing the gap between technology used by the consumer, and technology used by the government.