Archive for April 9th, 2010


Today’s segment on shared services and outsourcing with Colin Cram went to where we need to go, but where few dare to tread

Today’s PI Window on Business segment “Towards Tesco: Saving the Government £25 Billion Per Year” was one of those times when the old saying about the chickens coming home to roost . . .

I of course opened up this afternoon’s broadcast with the comment that “those of you who have followed me for the past few years will note that I have never been a fan of the overarching, monolithic pursuits of a government looking to “centralize” the procurement function under an enforced compliance model.”

Citing failed public sector programs around the world, in which shared services and outsourcing of the procurement function have consistently produced dismal results, one might correctly conclude that my criticism of these kinds of programs was solely directed at the concept of shared services instead of the actual execution.

As it turns out, and according to 30 year public sector veteran and expert Colin Cram, it is at the execution level and more specifically the lack of a collaborative process that has been one of the main reasons why so many programs have failed. That, and of course the absence of tangible data or intelligence, an abdication of responsibility through an over reliance on technology and, the failure to openly acknowledge that public sector job loss is the primary savings mechanism with a shared services strategy.

What was also worth noting is Cram’s position regarding an “in” or “out with accountability” approach to dealing with government departments or agencies that express a reluctance to becoming part of a shared services initiative. In more concise (although “line in the sand” would seem to be more applicable) terms than those associated with the North Carolina conciliatory 2004 MOU with the State’s higher education institutions, if a department chooses to go their own way they will be held accountable re penalized if their results or outcomes are not equal to or better than, those of the main shared services program.

While I could write about the insights from today’s show at great length, given the limitations of the average blog post in terms of size, and the fact that the dynamics of a live, on-air interview provides unique audio perspectives that are not always easy to capture in print, I would encourage you to tune into the on-demand version of today’s broadcast.

It will be time well spent.

Colin Cram to join the PI Window on Business Thought Leaders Series in quarterly segments titled “Public Sector Procurement Across the Pond.”

Colin has also decided to join our growing group of business thought leaders to provide his perspective on public sector procurement practices overseas. If today’s show is any indication, these quarterly segments promise to stir up the sediments of long-held industry beliefs.

Media Bite: Shared Services is Nothing New

Post Show Comments Regarding Elcom:

During today’s broadcast I had made several references to two initiatives that I consider to be models worthy of emulation by governments around the world.

Virginia’s eVA platform, and eProcurement Scotl@nd are both programs that stand out for their ability to successfully engage the supplier community to deliver tangible and sustainable savings.

Colin agreed, sharing the following e-mail with me shortly after we went off the air:

One thing I failed to do today was to congratulate Elcom on the work they have done with Scottish eProcurement. There are several reasons why it has been so successful.
  • It is a good system
  • Users like it
  • It gave easy access to some good procurement agreements
  • The Scottish government paid for it
  • It is free to public sector organisations and to suppliers
  • It was gaining support gradually – before the McClelland review
  • The McClelland review gave it a big boost – he is another plain speaking person who I know well. John McClelland recommended the growth of procurement centres of excellence to let procurement agereements on behalf of the public sector and saw eProcurement Scotland as a means of helping the public sector engage with the agreements
  • There was political will
  • Easy access to the procurement agreements is savings money for public sector organisations.

Seven Steps to Success: Teaming to Win Government Contracts

Due to the very large nature of many public sector contracts, it is very common for commercial organizations to decide to bid on a joint basis. Teaming agreements are used when companies wish to team together to bid on a procurement opportunity.

Very often teaming up will be essential, when customers have prepared a tender covering their requirements and expect the bidder to meet those requirements in full. The most compliant bid has the greatest chance of success and in complex projects the scope of products and services will fall across the capabilities of a number of different suppliers. But the customer would much prefer a “one-stop shop” when it comes to dealing with the suppliers and managing the project. In the bid response, it would like to see one joint solution that fulfills the needs of the entire project.

Typically, but not always, a larger organization will be the “prime-contractor” who is actually bidding for the work, supported by one or more “sub-contractors” providing specific products or expertise. Both the prime-contractor and the sub-contractor are potentially at risk if this relationship is not made contractually binding before any tender is submitted. (Note: Thanks to Waterfront Solicitors LLP for the above text).

In this the fifth of our special seven part series, I am once again joined by Judy Bradt who is an expert author, speaker and consultant who will provide invaluable insight into on how companies can capitalize on the emerging opportunities in the US public sector.

In today’s segment we will discuss the finer points of teaming to pursue and win public sector business.

If you have been following this series, you already know that Judy has helped more than 6,000 clients win in excess of $300 million US in government contracts.

Suffice to say, this will be another insightful 60-minutes.

Use the On-Demand Player below to access both the live and on-demand April 9th broadcast on Blog Talk Radio.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Series Sponsor:

"Building Bridges"


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