Down the Procurement Pub with the NHS, Amazon, Blockchain and Welshly Arms

Not much pubbing this week but I'm back in the north-east now, and this is my cousin Kathryn's pub, the Lambton Arms in Sherburn village. She has a lovely display of flowers in the pub back garden (more of a yard / car park really). The picture also shows the pigeon coop, where Harry keeps his fancy birds - his racing pigeons are off-site!

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The HSJ reported that a settlement has been reached finally between the UK government and Fujitsu over disputed payments during the NHS NPfIT programme. The parties have been in dispute since 2008, amazingly, when Fujitsu’s contract was terminated, and for several years the firm has been claiming the government owed it £700 million. The settlement has not been disclosed – and Fujitsu are still in dispute with another supplier to the programme, thought to be CSC. But it looks like the end result for the taxpayer is several hundred million down the pan. The programme was one of the worst IT programmes ever undertaken in the public sector, with “procurement” playing a large role in the disaster.

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Amazon Business announced that it is now running at an annualised revenue of $10 billion. “This year, we expanded our global marketplace to France, Italy and Spain. With these additions, Amazon Business is now live in eight countries, including the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan and India”. And “wholesale suppliers and distributors are just as much our customer as the end buyer. Today, our third party sellers make up more than 50% of the $10 billion in global sales”. Their first UK public sector deal was done with YPO recently, although that has caused some controversy.

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The Australian Financial Review website reported that bank Westpac is aiming to position itself as a global leader in blockchain technology, developing (with tech firm Infosys) a proof-of-concepts that digitises inventory management, procurement and trade.

The platform integrates internet of things sensors, data analytics, artificial intelligence and blockchain to create a system that can predict demand and price rises for goods, as well as automate the manual procurement and payment processes. The use of blockchain technology has enabled smart contracts to be created that can execute stock orders automatically, while artificial intelligence is used to identify the opportune time and place to make a purchase”.  Sounds interesting, so we’ll try and find someone clever enough to tell us what it all means …

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Welshly Arms were one of the real lump-in-the-throat moments for me at Reading Festival this year, having never heard of the Ohio blues-rock band before then. Their set was just excellent, passionate, inspiring, exciting.  This is an acoustic version of one of their biggest songs, but it shows (before the production kicks in) what great voices they have.  The album No Place Is Home is excellent too – thoroughly recommended for any rock / blues / gospel / pop / soul fans!

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