It’s happened: AWS signs Memorandum of Understanding for fluffy white services with UK.gov

Exclusive Amazon Web Services is the final of the big three cloud providers to have put pen to paper to sell a range of cloud services to the British government under a pre-defined discount, The Reg can reveal.

Under the so-called One Government Value Agreement (OGVA), a three-year Memorandum of Understanding between AWS and Crown Commercial Services, all purchases by public sector organisations will be treated as though they are made by one large enterprise client.

In a canned statement, Simon Tse, CEO at Crown Commercial Services, an executive agency and trading fund of the Cabinet Office, said it is trying to help save buyers “time and money on everyday goods and services”.

“This agreement with AWS demonstrates excellent value for public sector organisations we serve, and supports them in their drive to improve services for citizens across the UK,” he claimed.

The Reg has previously asked about the discounts on offer but was told this is commercially confidential. In 2020, Microsoft, Google, UKCloud, IBM and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise all signed up to framework.

AWS says members of the AWS Partner Network – a collection of small and large resellers, service providers and consultancies – will also be able to sell its cloud services to UK public sector. This is to satisfy the government’s agenda to open up more business to SMEs: 150 businesses used AWS clouds to provide their own services to UK.gov and half of these are categorised as small outfits, AWS told us.

Marlow-based reseller Softcat said as a qualified AWS Solution Provider and Advanced Consultancy Partner, it is planning to get involved. Anthony Cowen, sales director at the reseller, said it will “help public sector customers to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives.”

As world + dog knows, organisations have been forced to shift processes and functions to be more digital-based since the COVID-19 lockdown, and the government space is no different.

According to AWS, its OGVA has two tiers: tier one is to support organisations that are starting to embrace the cloud and provides bespoke training, workshops and cloud credits for new research projects and the not-for-profit sector.

“As part of the agreement, AWS is also establishing a new digital skills fund which will train over 6,000 civil servants in cloud computing at no cost to government,” the company claimed.

The second tier is aimed at those already using the cloud in public sector and this collection of customers will get access to a “new pricing structure” based on total spending volumes across the public sector.

AWS is the world’s largest cloud infrastructure provider by far: Canalys Q3 stats had AWS as turning over $36.5bn, which was bigger than its next three biggest rivals combined.

Nor is AWS a stranger to the public sector: TechMarketView had AWS as the fastest rising services and software player in the UK public sector in 2018 and since then it has hoovered up plenty of fat deals, including a £100m contract with the Home Office in January.

The big hitters that AWS lifted from the UK public sector to run its public sector business include former UK government CTO Liam Maxwell, which can’t have hurt its efforts to find more ways to spread its tendrils.

AWS’s inclusion in the OGVA comes at a time when the UK government has tried to levy a charge to online businesses that have a global turnover of more than £500m where they generate more than £25m in the UK. The company, run by the richest man in the world, has been repeatedly criticised for its tax efficient practices. ®

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