Dilly dallying of Government IT purchasing strengthens case for agile

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Procurement teams are taking almost two years to make decisions about acquiring IT, Gartner research has found. 

The global survey by Gartner found Government takes longer than any of the other 12 industries analysed – 22 months in fact.

It has prompted calls for government procurement professionals to be more agile and creative in their approach, Gartner VP analyst Dean Lacheca told Government News. 

Scope disagreement behind the problem

Dean says long and risky proposals to acquire Government IT fall out of a lack of agreement on scope in the buying cycle. 

“Many government legacy modernisation initiatives never get past this stage as they struggle to agree on a scope and approach that avoids a long and risky proposal, which leads to a lack of support for a business case or a lack of sufficient funding. This sends them back to the drawing board,” Dean says. 

Dean says frustration with the buying cycle leads to delays, with some procurement professionals shying away from going to market all together. 

“Government takes procurement very seriously and spends a lot of time and resource to ensure that the process is fair and defendable,” Dean says.

“But at the same time most government technology leaders are frustrated by impacts of the buying cycle and will actively avoid going to market where possible.”

Lean agile procurement – a new alternative

Marcus Ward, a Lean-Agile Procurement Alliance facilitator from Twenty2 Collective, says external factors such as the pandemic, supply chain disruption and inflation are driving a need for procurement – including government procurement – to adopt agile.

“Agility is a journey of small steps forward and measuring and adapting along the way,” he said. 

“To avoid shadow procurement or being outsourced, we have unique opportunity to get a seat at the table and be an integrated part of strategy. 

“Procurement which embraces agile allows us to become enablers of the organisational strategy by solving problems and realising opportunity by becoming connectors in the marketplace.”

Register for Lean Agile Procurement Online – October 30 November to 2 December. 

Gartner’s research suggests government procurement professionals instead prefer to use panel agreements, standing offers or whole-of-government agreements. 

With business cases, Dean explains it is often difficult to explain the value of the investment and such cases stall due to no support being offered by executives or ministers. 

“Technology leaders need to be more creative in their approach, focusing on the quantifiable value of the investment from a business/community perspective,” David says. 

What’s contributing to buying-cycle delays

The factors most reported in Gartner’s research as causing delays were: 

  • developing the business case (74%)
  • scope changes requiring additional research and evaluation (76%)
  • reaching agreement around budgeting (75%).

Editor’s note: Marcus Ward is an Agile coach for PASA.

About Author

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PASA (Procurement and Supply Australasia) is the leading provider of information, education and networking opportunities to procurement professionals throughout Australia and New Zealand. PASA supports the largest community of engaged procurement stakeholders in the region, through its renowned series of events, publications, training, awards and PASA CONNECT membership network. PASA is a trading name of BTTB Marketing Pty Ltd. BTTB Marketing has operated under the BTTB, CIPSA Conferences and PASA names for over twenty years. https://procurementandsupply.com/

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