The Digital Britain report’s commitment to simplifying the public sector procurement process could help channel players win lucrative government business.
The report has been derided for its perceived lack of ambition in plans for the country’s communications infrastructure. But channel players have leapt to its defence by lauding measures to democratise public sector procurement.
The government wishes to open the process to “smaller, innovative companies”. One section read: “The barriers to entry can lead to the public sector becoming dependent on incumbent suppliers.”
It added that contracts’ “offloading of risk to the supplier” hampered the flexibility of relationships and stifled public sector IT chiefs.
The report called for a simplified, fast-track process to enable smaller players to act beyond just being sub-contractors for incumbent providers.
Chris Gabriel, solutions director for integrator Logicalis, said: “The industry can now add value into government. Previously, we have been hamstrung by the rules of the procurement process.”
However, he said he would have welcomed the chance to engage in a more pre-emptive way. “The report focuses a little too much on central government. They need a handle on what could be done at a local level.”
Making the procurement process quicker and simpler has been needed for a while, said David Hobson, managing director of VAR GSS.
“It can be unwieldy and there is tremendous focus on price rather than value,” he said.
“A lot of it is effectively controlled by the systems integrators. But most recognise the specialised skills we can add.”
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