back to article SME IT contracts? That's the last thing Whitehall wants – report

Government departments are unenthusiastic about funneling more of their IT biz through SMEs, according to a survey of nearly 1,000 central government IT bods. Only 20 per cent said there is an appetite within their department to procure a higher percentage of technology services from SMEs, found the research from IT trade body …

  1. IHateWearingATie

    Nirvana.... or not

    Currently working on a project with a private sector business where they have SMEs rather than a single big integrator. It's a disaster (which is why I'm here to try and help fix it).

    Just goes to show that if you don't have the fundamentals of IT delivery right, things will screw up just as easily with an SME as with one of the big boys.

    1. Dr Who

      Re: Nirvana.... or not

      Thumb up to that. There seems to me to be an opportunity here to set up a business purely for the purpose of "co-ordinating and managing a large number of SMEs" on behalf of government departments. Based on a management fee of one percent of contract value that would be 100 million pounds on the HMRC contract alone. Sounds like a worthwhile venture to me. Who's in?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nirvana.... or not

        Think BAE/Detica already do that for FCO as "service management integrator" with responsibility for managing the FCO’s IT suppliers.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wierd logic

    Economies of scale doesn't seem to apply to governments.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wierd logic

      I worked for a consultancy that made rather interesting amounts of money out of this lack of skills, and one of the strategies was to extract even more skilled people from government, thus exacerbating the problem and making good money in the process. No, let me rephrase that, it made obscene amounts of money and probably still does, because failure doesn't matter if you're the only source of knowledge.

      If government would pay industry level salaries, it could get industry level quality knowledge which would more than offset the costs of those salaries and the problem would disappear rather swiftly. Of course, that will never happen because the advice governments will get on this .. is from consultancies.

      1. Sir Sham Cad

        Re: industry level salaries

        I don't even think it's that. It's more that people with skills in managing IT procurement etc... are not seen as key front line staff so are the first to be axed or otherwise have the post frozen as part of cost reduction programmes (read: swingeing budget cuts).

        Of course this invokes the law of unintended consequences which then screws the department for a lot more money to rectify the lack of skills in-post.

    2. Velv

      Re: Wierd logic

      Governments, and many other extremely large enterprises tend to prove that the economies of scale does actually break down once you get too big. We've seen plenty of projects be just so big that they self-implode before delivering anything useful. Service contracts can be similar.

  3. NeverMindTheBullocks

    Expect to see the Cabinet Office FLEX contract with Fujitsu extended as well. It's bad enough actually getting them to do anything now, let alone when they are told to start handover.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't the Cabinet Office Flex contracts expire back in January? It was announced on their Blog.

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