Project Management

Old IT models feel the pinch in public sector squeeze

The focus must now be on finding partners that can change ways of working...

...spending less. That means looking at how things are done today and then exploring the art of the possible, and that's what the supplier community can really help the government with."

According to Jones, now might be a good time to consider using upfront investment from suppliers because with NHS and other public sector budgets being cut there is a problem launching work programmes that save in the long term, but require investment now.

"The NHS has used technology to reduce the number of administrative steps involved in dealing with patients, and so the technology itself can create year-on-year benefits, because the processes have been automated.

"Through the length of a contract like this, Xerox finances the upfront cost of change in the way things are done, but recoups money over the entire life of the contract. That's a smart way of doing these things and works well for both parties," he said.

Emergence of new suppliers?
Will there be a rush of new suppliers heading for the public sector? Possibly, but it's unlikely. As Jones explained, public sector organisations are really looking for partners now, partners that can have skin in the game, financing a change programme in the knowledge that future gains in efficiency will work well for both parties.

With the modern public sector, it's no longer good enough for suppliers just to respond to an RFP with the view 'once the customer starts paying, we will start delivering'.

The important thing for both the public sector customer and the supplier community is that the new focus will be on finding a partner that can change the way of working, rather than finding the lowest possible cost to scan a page or answer the phone. It's all about delivering outcome-based services.

In this austere environment, the only way suppliers can measure their own success is by creating the success of a public organisation.

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