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Guest post: What D5 is doing about open markets

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Dr. Kim Eun Ju, of the Korean National Information Society Agency

Members from the D5 (a group of the most digitally advanced countries in the world) started the Open Markets working group in order to share their experience and knowledge about changing how they buy services and commodities.

Dr. Eunju Kim

Marketplaces for a more efficient government

Several of the D5 countries are developing an open marketplace in order to allow their governments to buy cloud services more easily and cheaply. The UK has led the way by creating the G-Cloud framework in 2012, which removed many of the barriers for suppliers to apply.

However, there are many obstacles to overcome. It takes time to convince people that using cloud services helps government to do its job more efficiently, particularly to use cloud services as a first choice. It requires understanding and capability to be well implemented. The first thing the D5 countries wanted to talk about is how the each member country is convincing its users, in this case the public sector, to use cloud other than enforcing them to using it. This includes exploring what kind of guidelines should be given, and what knowledge we can share about it.

We’ve already started to open up the market

The United Kingdom is the one of the countries that has a head start in this area, having developed the Digital Marketplace. This helps those transforming public services to buy what they need in an open and fair way. To do this, they looked at how they could change the way organisations could supply their services, lowering procurement process barriers which stopped SMEs from entering the procurement process.

Sales of cloud services on the Uk Government's Digital Marketplace
Sales of cloud services on the Uk Government's Digital Marketplace

As a result of this, the G-Cloud framework came into effect. The framework provided the public sector a revolutionary new way to buy cloud services, and made it easier for SMEs to enter the market. The Digital Marketplace has since expanded to include services and data centre hosting, greatly expanding what’s on offer to support digital transformation of public services.

New Zealand's Open Marketplace homepage
New Zealand's Open Marketplace homepage

Similarly the New Zealand government has put its focus on supporting a cloud services ecosystem. By making the marketplace digital and open, government can buy certain services from a range of suppliers at competitive prices. This shows that these countries are focusing on efficient IT governance as well as developing country’s own digital and technology industries.

Under the banner “Digital Israel” established in 2014, the Israeli government has been looking at new ways to reshape IT procurement there.

In order to make a secure open marketplace, they have created a two phase approach. The first phase helps ensure that cloud services are certified before they enter the procurement process. The second phase allows suppliers to change their price on monthly basis.

South Korea's Open Marketplace

In South Korea’s case, we first built an open marketplace for software rather than just supporting cloud services. This open marketplace can now provide the public sector with a place where they can buy all the things government requires, including personal computers and software. Like the UK and New Zealand we’re helping software SMEs to take part, and consequently helping develop our own industry.
A recent change to our legislation means that we now also need to consider cloud-first. Buying software is different to buying cloud services, as our current marketplace is not suitable to support both currently.

Learning from each other

D5 is an international co-operative effort. Each member country is developing its own ideas, in its own way, but we need to keep up the sharing and the learning. There is so much we can learn from each other.
As part of the D5 we’re looking at how the UK is continuing to develop the Digital Marketplace, and hope it can help us to better develop a more inclusive open marketplace.

In addition to learning what other D5 countries have been working on to create an open marketplace, we can also help the SMEs to go global with their services. We should support a wider opportunity to join these various national marketplaces together, creating an international marketplace for cloud SMEs from each D5 member country to help public sector projects in all of them.

I hope that by starting to make this collaboration within D5 members, we can help our more SMEs to enter a bigger market to earn global competitiveness.

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