The Cabinet Office has said that its second round of procurement for the G-Cloud framework, or Gii, has been designed to be more accessible to SMEs.
Gii procurement, which was launched on 24 May by the Government Procurement Service (GPS), has no lengthy pre-qualification questionnaire, less stringent requirements of financial history, simplified mandatory questions and specifications, and provision of services on standard terms, it said.
A series of short agreements will be created with the intention of enabling new suppliers to be considered for appointment to frameworks – covering infrastructure, software, platform and specialist services - on a regular basis.
Each framework will last for a year, with the possibility of a six month extension. In exceptional circumstances contracts will run up to 24 months.
Existing suppliers could be fast-tracked onto each successive framework if certain conditions are met, according to the GPS.
In addition, the value of the total procurement possible through the G-Cloud has been increased to £100m from £60m.
Chris Pennell, principal analyst at Kable, said: "Given the low uplift in anticipated contract value it looks like the shift to cloud services is - as we predicted - a slow burner, something that will impact on the next review of the implementation of the government's ICT strategy."
Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, said: "Our ICT strategy is all about the public sector avoiding the expense and inefficiency of developing different systems and duplicating services that cannot be shared.
"This off-the-shelf, pay-as-you-go approach is a great example, and G-Cloud services typify the cheaper, more agile model for government IT that our ICT strategy is making positive strides towards."
Pennell added: "This is really an opportunity for those suppliers that have adopted a 'wait and see' approach to join the party, and for GPS to address some of the issues identified in the first iteration."
The G-Cloud framework has been under development for more than two years, with the aim of providing IT services on a 'pay as you go' basis. Central government has a target for 50% of its IT spend to go on cloud services by 2015.
The first round of G-Cloud procurementwas launched in October last year and closed at the end of December 2011 after a three week extension.
It attracted more than more than 500 expressions of interest. Framework agreements were signed with about 250 suppliers, of which 75% were SMEs.
In terms of big players, Amazon and Salesforce are understood to have been in talks with the government about joining the G-Cloud. They are believed to be likely to start serving government with hosted computing, storage and ERP.
Details of Gii procurement coincided with publication of a progress report on the government's ICT strategy.