Down the Procurement Pub with Tejari, Sunderland, the Olympics, RBS and The Beach

Not too many pub trips to write about this week so let’s look forward to our next Real World Procurement events with BravoSolution in the UK (September 14th) and Tejari in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (September 20th / 21st). You can find out more about those events here (UK) and here (UAE), and this is a picture of a previous trip to Dubai, with some of the attendees and Tejari staff having a very serious discussion about procurement after the RWP event. On a beautiful evening. With palm trees. And some very cold beer.

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The Council in my home town (city now), Sunderland, has decided to terminate a procurement process for an IT “transformation partner”, according to the Government Computing website“The city council has halted this procurement process because no tenders have met requirements,” said the spokesperson.

Launched last October, the opportunity was intended to include a variety of functions, including consulting, internet and support services, hardware and software management and IT training.  The contract value was a very vague £30m to £500m, depending on which organisations chose to use it – the deal would have been open to health and blue-light services as well as the council. I confess, my first reaction is “good”. There are not many successes and too many horror stories around in terms of failed IT transformation contracts in the local government world, South-West One in Somerset being perhaps the best known, but BT in Cornwall is another and there are more. I would hate to see Sunderland join that list.

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Well, the Olympics has been pretty incredible from a British perspective, although the size of the crowds at many venues has been a real shame. Perhaps London should just host it every four years?  We have been thinking about what drives the success of the British teams and will give you our desperate attempt to link it to procurement management next week. But some of those articles we have seen are just ridiculous. I saw one the other day that was “management lessons from Usain Bolt” or something like that and it was plain silly. There are no management lessons from Bolt, he is a freak (I mean that in a complimentary sense), a superman, and a unique individual. He can run incredibly fast and has the personality to stay chilled in tense situations. Great, but what can I possibly learn from that as a CPO? Anyway, we’ll see if we can do any better next week!

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More interesting goings on in the IT world, as the Royal Bank of Scotland cancels a huge IT contract with Infosys. The Indian firm was building a stand-alone IT platform for the Williams & Glyn bank, which was (is?) going to be spun off from RBS. But now some different divestment options are being pursued – goodness knows what. Funny how those clever people at RBS told us poor NatWest folk how great they were at IT when they took us over in 2000 … Bitter and twisted, what me? The problem I suspect is trying to sort out some pretty ancient IT systems, that have grown and got tangled up rather than integrated with each other. That’s a problem many of the traditional banks have, and is one reason why technology and new entrants will eventually drive transformational change in financial services.

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Continuing our killing two birds with one stone series of cover versions – but also from acts we’re looking forward to seeing at Reading Festival next week, here is London singer-songwriter known as “The Beach” with a rather lovely cover of the Bon Iver song Holocene. Mr Beach’s new single Geronimo is very good too - that's also below.

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