By David Bicknell
The government has the potential to leverage its huge buying power in the ICT marketplace. However, the government’s procurement of ICT has in many cases failed to deliver economies of scale and failed to deliver value for money to the taxpayer.
So that is why the latest ICT implementation plan has an objective for the reform of government procurement by centralising common goods and services spend by funding improvements in technology, processes and government wide procurement resources to better manage total procurement spend and government wide standards.
The government insists it is therefore committed to become a single and effective ICT customer, leveraging buying power whilst remaining flexible on how it procures.
As part of that process the government says it will create a more open, transparent and competitive ICT marketplace embracing open standards and open source that will remove barriers to SME participation in public sector procurement to create a fairer and more competitive marketplace.
It is important that these barriers to SME participation are removed, because these smaller innovative companies have solutions that the private sector recognises and which will pay to acquire, but which the government seems to miss.
One, ChangeBASE, which specialises in automated application analysis, remediation and conversion for platforms including Windows 7 and 8, Internet Explorer 8 and 9, Terminal Server/Remote Desktop Session Host, VDI, and Application Virtualisation, has just been snapped up by Quest Software to help Quest become a single source to help organisations take advantage of technology changes to benefit both IT and users alike.
Another UK SME, Procession, continues to try and make the government aware of its technology for the creation of business application software that is both rapidf and agile. Procession’s CEO David Chassels recently wrote to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude to try and engage with the government in its goal of becoming a better and more intelligent buyer of ICT. It also plans to speak at a forthcoming “teacamp”, the latest of a series of informal meeting places to stimulate ideas and discussion about government work in ICT.
A third, BCS, provides a global universal library subscription service that provides monthly audit data analysis and optimisation for devices, making audit data much easier to manage and understand. It has also created a carbon footprint library that enables organisations to establish a desktop estate baseline for CO2 information so that they can establish and manage software influence on CO2 output and reduce their carbon offset purchase requirements.
There are countless other SMEs offering innovative solutions to help deliver value for money for the taxpayer that the government still probably has no knowledge about, and which have long since given government procurement up as a lost cause. The government says it will create a more open, transparent and competitive ICT marketplace that embraces open standards and open source and that removes barriers to SME participation in public sector procurement.
As they say, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.