SMBs have hailed the government's recent changes to its IT procurement strategy as a bold step in fighting supplier oligopoly.
Last week, the government laid out its "red line" measures aimed at making it easier for smaller firms to win public sector business.
The changes include capping IT contracts at £100m and a ban on automatic deal extensions. Hosting contracts will also be limited to a two-year maximum and firms supplying services to the public sector will no longer be able to provide systems integration to the same part of government.
The SMB push comes as part of a flurry of measures put in place to improve value for money for the taxpayer by working with a much wider range of suppliers.
SMB firm Memset's public sector advisor Robin Pape welcomed the new measures and urged the government to rigorously enforce them.
"Limiting contracts to £100m does not constrain SMEs but does help put an end to the mega-contracts which were the norm until recently," he said.
"Making suppliers choose whether to be a service provider or service integrator, but not both, for a particular customer will also drive the move to the cloud model and a more open marketplace.
"We welcome this announcement and the commitment to rigorously enforce these measures."
The government insists that in 2012/2013 alone, some £3.8bn of savings has been realised due to smarter purchasing on top of a further £500m in savings derived from tightening its grip on IT spending.
Howard Hall, managing director of HP reseller DTP Group, said that G-Cloud had already made some progress in opening up government procurement but that the new measures were a further step in the right direction.
Open source reseller Siruis' managing director Mark Taylor agreed and said that the ban on automatic extensions is one of the most significant elements of the shake up.
"The [new rules] have been very, very well received which is nice to see; it's all part of moving in the right direction," he said.
"I think the £100m cap is good but I think for a number of people, more significant is the big change that there is no automatic rollover. It means the oligopoly can't take [government business] for granted. There are a lot of contracts up for renewal this year."
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