Government procurement under fire

Government procurement under fire

A report by Gartner analyst Bruce McCabe suggests the Government has been too fast and too fragmented in its approach to electronic procurement, but channel players on the ground disagree.

McCabe believes the Government's strategy, which involves each level of Government sourcing its own electronic procurement solution, should be consolidated to reduce the risks of creating too many online marketplaces and not gaining the savings eProcurement is designed to achieve.

He proposes a multi-government, national approach as a better way of organising electronic procurement. However, Streamlink executive director Martin Fisk disagrees, claiming such a strategy would be likely to benefit one or two large vendors but leave the local channel out in the cold.

"It's not often I endorse a Government policy, but I think it has taken the correct approach here," he said. Trying to enforce a single proprietary marketplace on every agency is not good for anybody except the vendor and the consultant who get all the business."

"When you think about Health, Treasury, Defence - these departments have very unique requirements and can't all go down the same path," he continued. "It's better to let competition dictate the solution for each."

McCabe was also critical of the Government imposing strict deadlines on its own departments to get electronic procurement systems up and running. He believes departments and agencies are going into e-procurement initiatives with little or no understanding of the costs and potential returns. Again Fisk disagrees, arguing that deadlines are the only way the Government can move forward in the fast-moving Internet economy, providing they are realistic.

"Waiting for everything to be perfect can create an analysis-paralysis situation," he said. "Imagine having to be the person who has to choose the all-encompassing future-proof solution for every Government department. You'd never make the call."

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