I’ve posted on Scribd the original customer research and thinking that we did with Sapient in October 2001 when looking to rebuild ukonline.gov.uk (and this same work later fed into direct.gov.uk along with other research). We called the work “Project Kane”. Here are three snapshots from the work – the links follow those.
Liam Maxwell’s ICT Futures team are, as far as can be seen, getting properly stuck into IT deals. But who is going to look at the other deals going on in government?
1) Frameworks are being generated across every part of government. Central government has its PSN, G-Cloud, commodity (known, I think, as Achilles) and according to the GPS site there are more to come and, whilst these deals are set up for the entire public sector to use, there are still other frameworks being generated including regional and local PSNs, NHS frameworks and also frameworks within departments themselves. And then there’s the overlap between frameworks, such as PSN and G-Cloud both offering, for instance, e-mail. Pretty soon suppliers will have a choice of three dozen routes to market for any given deal yet will have little in the way of business to show for their hard efforts. After all, getting on to a framework isn’t free – far from it in many cases. There needs to be a charge to rationalise all of the frameworks, eliminate overlap and ensure that everyone knows where to go to buy what they need, rather than have them think that what they need is yet another framework.
2) BPO deals are shortly to become common place, I suspect, as departments move their attention away from the apparently “easy to count” (the PASC might disagree) world of IT to the more complicated world of business process. Whilst IT costs anywhere from £13bn-£25bn a year depending on who you listen to, government’s spend on its core business may soon be up for grabs – and that annual spend could easily reach £100bn-200bn (again, depending on who you listen to). Figuring out what is and isn’t a good deal for these will be a complicated process. We need a BPO futures team to look across the public sector, starting in the centre perhaps, to see how these deals are being structured and what needs to be in place to help prevent poor deals being done, ensure lessons are learned and that service improves as a result.
So John Collington is doubtless the Liam Maxwell of “Framework Futures” though he’ll want to get moving and put the “hairdryer treatment” on all those setting up their own frameworks in competition with his own.
But who is going to be the BPO Futures lead? The person who reviews business outsource deals to make sure that they make sense and are in line with the overall strategy?