Does G-Cloud 9 provide too much choice?

The risk of choice overload

In his book The Paradox of Choice, American psychologist and professor of social theory Barry Schwartz argued that choice overload can, in the long run, lead to decision-making paralysis.

The launch of the G-Cloud framework opened up the market to SMEs via the Digital Marketplace.  And with successive iterations of G-Cloud came lots of choice.

Yet, looking at the G-Cloud 9 supplier portfolios below on the Digital Marketplace, are we seeing an overload of choice? And bear in mind, this chart represents only the top 25 of over 2,800 supplier portfolios covering over 19,000 cloud hosting, software and support services.

Top G-Cloud Supplier Portfolios

Simplifying choice with categories & themes

The Government Digital Service recognised the need to make it easier for supplier services to be found by buyers. GDS implemented a set of categories in the ninth iteration of the G-Cloud framework. And as articulated in this GOV.UK blog, these categories are designed to help suppliers define their services more accurately. And help buyers find and compare groups of suitable products more easily.

In addition to this G9 innovation, it is also worth noting that there are some common themes running through the myriad available services. For example, drill into Cloud Hosting and a small number of distinctive flavours are noticeable. Five of the world’s leading cloud providers dominate the landscape, some leveraging business partners more than others.

Cloud Hosting Flavours on G-Cloud

The takeaway

What does this mean for buyers and suppliers?

  • For buyers, this perhaps provides a strategy for further simplifying the choice. They could choose the desired flavour first (e.g. Bluemix, Azure, AWS, Google, Oracle), then seek out the contracting partner to deliver it.
  • For suppliers, the challenge is how to stand out from the crowd with a highly-differentiated service.

R toolkit

rvestread_html; html_nodes; html_text
dplyrselect; arrange; filter; count; left_join; slice; mutate; if_else
tidyrspread; gather
stringrstr_replace_all; str_replace_na; str_trim
ggplot2theme_set; geom_col; geom_text
gridExtragrid.arrange; arrangeGrob


R Development Core Team (2008). R: A language and environment for
statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing,
Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3-900051-07-0, URL

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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