Confusion is mounting in the channel after the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Buying Solutions made further additions to its ever-expanding Catalist framework.
Catalist was designed to unify and simplify several ageing government frameworks, such as GCat and SCat. It will now feature an additional IT Consultancy Framework Agreement sub-category under the banner of Consultancy Services.
Stephen Heard, director of customer relations at OGC Buying Solutions, denied that Catalist is causing confusion.
“We have made sure that SMEs are not penalised in terms of their scale,” he said. “We worked with organisations such as Intellect to help ensure that SMEs stand just as much chance as larger companies of getting listed on the framework.”
Catalist has previously come under fire for its increasing complexity. The OGC itself admitted that it had made mistakes when awarding official supplier contracts to channel partners (CRN, 6 March).
Richard White, director of public-sector sales at distributor Centerprise, said: “I don’t see where the OGC is heading with this. Is it simply making short-cuts on routes to verified and quality suppliers?
“It is hard to get a supplier to fit in a defined category [for some resellers]. It will be equally hard for government departments to find a supplier in such a vast range of different categories.”
Sat Baines, managing director of Serco Learning, said: “It’s a good initiative, but the more categories a VAR is listed in, the more overheads and monitoring it requires from them to keep on top of it all.”
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