The UK Government’s Drive To Improve Public Sector Technology Procurement Is Fundamentally Flawed

Transformation Should Focus On Improving Outcomes, Not Merely On Increasing Competition

I’ve spoken with many IT Procurement leaders in public sector organizations ranging from US county schools districts to national governments. Most are prevented from applying best practices such as Strategic Software Sourcing by their politicians’ ill-conceived edicts and directives, such as those included in this announcement by the UK’s Cabinet Office that optimistically claims “Government draws the line on bloated and wasteful IT contracts”. In related press interviews the relevant minister Francis Maude complained that “a tiny oligopoly dominates the marketplace” and talked about his intention to encourage use of open source alternatives to products such as Microsoft Office, to increase competition and to divert more spend to small and medium-sized IT companies. The new edicts include bans of contracts over £100 million or 2 years’ duration and of automatic renewals. Mr. Maude claims these rules “will ensure the government gets the best technology at the best price”.

Mr. Maude and his team have a laudable and important goal but their approach is misguided, in my opinion. Short term contracts, indiscriminate competition and avoiding sole source category strategies will deliver neither the best technology nor the best price, because:

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Providers Are Courting European Firms For Strategic Engagements To Transform Mobile Workplace Services

Mobile device management remains the starting point for a true mobile workplace experience. VMware's recent acquisition of AirWatch isn't the first time that a leading provider of virtual desktop technology has bought mobile device management capabilities. But the road to creating a true mobile workplace experience is long. The task of meeting workforce requirements by consolidating device management, desktop management, virtualization, and the delivery of the right applications and content to mobile endpoints remains complex. A number of managed service providers are positioning themselves as strategic partners to support you in this transition. Are you ready for such an engagement? How do you select the right partner?

One obvious starting point is to check the capabilities of the provider you have already picked to manage your devices. But which of these providers are up to the challenge? Our research reveals that the European playing field is evenly shared between telecommunication providers and IT service providers.

 

 

IT Providers, Telcos, And Disruptors Are Fighting For Your Business

For our new report, Managed Mobile Workplace Services In Europe, we spoke with a number of leading telcos and IT providers that are expanding into comprehensive mobile services beyond device management. Here's our take on their plans to support your mobile workplace transformation strategy:

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Government-Certified Public Cloud Providers Can Ease Cloud Concerns In China

Although Forrester expects China’s public cloud market to show solid growth through 2020, we have observed that organizations face barriers to adopting public cloud. Survey results indicate that data privacy, residency, loss of control, and security remain the top barriers for organizations adopting public cloud in China. This shows that Chinese customers are getting more knowledgeable about cloud and would like to understand cloud players’ offerings in more detail.

 

To ease concerns about public cloud usage, in mid-2013 the Chinese government and some leading cloud and data center service providers in China initiated an industry standard to evaluate cloud service offerings. After six months of discussion, they agreed upon version 1.0 of the industry standard, which includes three categories and 16 detailed SLAs:

Source: CNII

The first 10 qualified cloud service providers were announced on January 17, 2014:

Source: C114

What does this mean for end user organizations?

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Always-On Service Availability In The Age Of The Customer

When I interviewed clients for a recent telecom sourcing best practices report, I heard a recurring refrain: “We need to drive down costs.” Both CIOs and sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals measure the health of their department with the amount of annual cost savings they can achieve. While this is a laudable metric, over time it can skew SVM pros’ perspectives and cause them to miss an opportunity to provide value to the business in the form of a vital “always-on” service.

SVM pros should:

  • Accept that cost savings are limited and short-term. Telecommunications is highly regulated in Asia Pacific; local competition is limited and governments own significant stakes in incumbent telcos. While cost savings can be had, they will diminish over the lifespan of a contract. SVM pros must understand how to work with lines of business and suppliers to create more value for the organization.
  • Focus instead on always-on service availability. Firms must focus on the fundamentals: ensuring that their communications services push toward always-on service availability. Getting the right price for services is important, but SVM pros in Asia Pacific must align business needs to service sourcing and ensure that the service delivers the expected value in terms of availability and quality.
  • Engender trust with providers with long-term commitments. View service providers as long-term partners; this will take the uncertainty out of the relationship and engender trust. One company was happy to lock in a five-year rental with an equipment supplier, eliminating a source of business risk in a volatile Asian economy. Focusing on long-term contracts gives providers the impetus to serve you well.
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