Procurement News September 22nd: technology update

by Peter Smith on September 22, 2010

A technology theme today for no particular reason….

Schools still use paper apparently….

Within a week of a mass-buying event for A4 paper being published on the Schoolquote procurement website, 256 of the schools using the service added their potential demand to the purchase, a massive 56,000 reams in total. Over 1000 schools are using the platform which, with Wiltshire Council’s schools, won a CIPS Supply Management Award in 2007.

There is an interesting tension here between a ‘top down’ approach to collaboration and technology and the more grass-roots ‘bottom-up’ strategy.  The Department for Education has been developing its own procurement platform to schools for some years now - OPEN - while commercial businesses such as Schoolsquote have been building their customer base school by school.  I don’t know how the new administration feel about OPEN (or if it has even crossed Ministers’ radar yet) but it will be interesting to see how this race to become the standard procurement platform for schools develops; notwithstanding other potential market competitors of course.  We’ll also come back and look at Schoolquote in more detail sometime soon.

Emptoris in the clouds…

We mentioned the Emptoris user conference last week; they also announced a new service, Emptoris Echos, a cloud-based delivery system which enables users to deploy their suite of applications “behind the firewall”.   So my interpretation is that it enables you to get stuff up and running more quickly than installing conventional in-house apps, and (as they say)  “adds ‘burst’ capabilities to support fluctuating demands for performance”.   For a more informed analysis of this, a piece that is insightful yet somewhat perplexing at the same time, have a look at this Spend Matters post from Jason Busch.

The biggest IT beasts…

Impress your CIO with your category and market knowledge!  Computer Weekly has a useful list (originally Gartner material) of the largest IT service providers in Europe and their revenue chnage 2008 to 2009.  Did you know Cognizant – number 1 on the growth list -  started as the technology arm of Dun & Bradstreet?  I didn’t (until 5 minutes ago) and I was actually working for D&B in 1994 when apparently Cognizant was formed!  Must have dozed off during that bit of the Management Conference….

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