The government's campaign to move away from huge IT suppliers in favour of courting SMBs has come under fire, according to the Financial Times (FT).
Over the past year, the government has been keen to shout about its plans to break supplier oligopoly in favour of working with smaller, more agile IT providers that can provide better value for money.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude unveiled a range of new "radical" measures to help SMBs win government business at the start of this year, including capping all IT deals at £100m.
The department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which share their IT provision, have been the first to test the new initiatives. But after migrating to new systems supplied by SMBs last month, the duo has been brought to a virtual standstill, the FT claims.
Government insiders told the publication they had suffered trouble with their email, internet and network connections since the move, with one branding the outcome as "shambolic".
Analyst TechMarketView said the government's good intentions to work with smaller suppliers – many of which were sourced through G-Cloud – may have gone a step too far.
"In our view, the pendulum has swung too far," said research director Georgina O'Toole. "The Cabinet Office refers to legacy ICT contracts as expensive, inflexible and outdated; but moving away from this style of contract does not necessarily mean moving away from the large SIs [systems integrators].
"And it appears that it is beginning to dawn on some in UK government that you can't do big IT without the big SIs. A mixed economy approach – involving large and small suppliers – is what's needed.
"The good thing to come out of the government's recent approach is that the large SIs have been encouraged to work more with SMEs and treat them well."
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