Public Sector Procurement Technology: Duplication of Spend Effort

This post originally appeared on Public Spend Forum

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Last week, I was in the UK with my trusty colleague, Peter Smith, who serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters UK/Europe operations. Peter is a former CPO (public and private sector) who remains very connected with former colleagues and friends in government procurement. He asked before my trip if I would not mind “doing a bit of public service” for the people of England and attending a prearranged meeting between him and some former colleagues to discuss the topic of procurement technology architecture. Being the geek I am and not wanting to let my friends across the pond down, I jumped at the opportunity.

What’s most curious to me about meeting some of Peter’s colleagues in government procurement in the UK is that a good number are quite sophisticated compared with procurement civil servants in other countries. A number have moved between public and private sector in their careers—something that is just starting to happen in the US. Yet many of the lessons are not directly transferable between private/public sector from a technology perspective, not only because of specific regulations (e.g., OJEU tendering processes/requirements), but the structure of government itself. But the good news is that the struggles of the public sector in the UK are applicable in the US (and elsewhere).

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