A new network is looking to help small cloud computing providers win government contracts with an online marketplace and accelerator centres in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.
The Canada Cloud Network announced today its Cloud Ecosystem Accelerator Program that seeks to serve as a service broker between small firms offering computing as a service and the government departments that buy them. It will be targeting both federal and provincial governments with a marketing and sales campaign for a central marketplace that will display cloud services of participating firms. It will also look to attract venture capital investment.
“We see this as being potentially as disruptive as what happened to the music industry with online purchase,” says Howard Oliver, CEO, What If What Next, who is also an investor in the cloud network.
The three locations for the accelerator centres were chosen for their active IT communities, he says. Ottawa makes sense because of its proximity to government, and Toronto is where the Canada Cloud Network is based.
The three centres will collaborate with infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service firms. It will focus on creating cloud computing services in the categories of e-government, e-commerce, and business continuity.
“We had a vision of a war room type office,” Oliver says. “People will be able to come together and we’ll be able to share ideas.”
The centres won’t be business incubators, he says, but serve as collaborative spaces for cloud services providers.
Many smaller firms often don’t even try to compete for government contracts because they assume they are already destined for a larger provider, Canada Cloud Network’s founder Neil McEvoy writes in the announcement. By banding together with a collaborated eco-system, the firms will be able to market themselves as a trusted alternative.
The cloud service broker will allow prospective clients to avoid the request for proposal service altogether and offer supplier discounts and workflow automation for the buying of IT services.
“We see it as an alternative channel that will be small in the grand scheme of things,” Oliver says. “Displacing the government RFP process is a bit grand.”
Cloud providers RackForce and Futurestate IT voiced support for the initiative in a press release. The network is having conversations with other providers as well, Oliver says.