Europe, despite having a reputation for bringing in ‘crazy’ new laws (a recent campaign to counter an EU law claiming our barmaids must only show a certain amount of cleavage springs to mind) has finally turned its attentions to something of interest to our sector.
Last week, the UK government was warned that their IT tenders must now be completely vendor agnostic – no mention of any vendor’s name or brand can be identified within the tender, or the government risks breaking EU rules.
The rules, enforced by the Office of Government Commerce, state: “Under no circumstance can contracting authorities reject offers solely on the grounds that they are not based on a specified standard or technology.”
This is particularly relevant to the processor vendors and comes as a boost to AMD, which first made the complaint to the European Commission last year. AMD has been expending a lot of its energy recently on suing Intel to ensure that its products are counted as equal and the playing field is at least levelled slightly.
But the announcement won’t just have an effect on AMD and its channel, it should have an overall benefit for government IT. Public-sector organisations are still considered the ‘old school’ of procurement, often selecting brands simply because it is what they used in the past, adopting an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude.
But the problem that many government institutions can’t see is that while it is true that their systems might not be broken as such, they are not delivering either effective IT, ease of use, or specific functionality. Add to this the high-profile IT failures in the public sector and it is a wonder that some government bodies have not simply returned to pencils, pads and filing cabinets.
But with tenders opened up and more niche players entering the race, better offerings with more applicable, bespoke technology can be put on the table, and in turn maybe help to restore public sector faith in IT. And more faith can often equal more funding.
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