Govts need to thwart IT rip-off merchants

It seems our IT vendors are rip-off merchants and our IT leaders are too dumb to notice.
Written by Darren Greenwood, Contributor on

It seems our IT vendors are rip-off merchants and our IT leaders are too dumb to notice.

No sooner had I written last week's post on government tightening the screw, than a major report alleged massive waste in UK public sector procurement.

The UK report, done by one of Britain's top bosses, noted that government departments could pay up to several times the going price for a laptop. These departments were also paying hundreds of millions more for telephone services than need be.

It certainly looks as if government has been seen as a soft touch by ICT vendors in Britain.

And how stupid of the IT bosses and others who buy the stuff to let such abuses happen.

Now, considering how the Australian Government is getting poor value when it funds insulation schemes or school buildings, it follows IT bosses in the public sector should also sharpen up on purchasing.

Despite a massive appreciation of the Aussie dollar in recent weeks, I see no sign of anyone in government trying to use this as a lever to get all those imported supplies for less.

The contrast with New Zealand could not be greater.

Its government is adept at tightening the screw and I see it has announced new policies on procurement to save money, including creating a panel for cheaper computer purchases.

It seems there is much Britain and perhaps even Australia, can learn from New Zealand on the procurement front.

This may even be why Australia is seen as a potential market for a UK product aimed at making procurement easier and cheaper.

After reading of such waste and abuses in procurement, I feel our government ICT bosses must try harder to avoid the taxpayer being taken for a ride.

And when government finances are under pressure, better procurement from its departments should be one "cut" we can all approve of, unless of course, you are a vendor!

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