Agile Procurement

Written by Stephanie Lawless, Communications Consultant at Sopra Steria

The September Digital Leaders Northern Ireland (DLNI) Salon took place in Belfast on Friday 11th.

Agile Procurement was this month’s discussion topic. This was a very topical subject in light of the political announcements that morning which I am sure you are all aware of. We had representatives from both private and public sector bodies, for whom, procurement can be massively impacted by political changes.

The Lead Discussants, Shaun McCann of AccessNI and Mark Furnivall of Sopra Steria, gave an interesting run down of their experiences and thoughts on the subject.  This led to much debate on best practice for procurement and what needs to be done to improve the use of agile procurement processes.

It was noted that in terms of digital transformation, we need to move away from a traditionally security constrained approach, and towards setting rules for procurement practice to get people move involved in an agile, flexible way.

There was a general consensus that at present, few organisations drive their suppliers to determine deliver value. There needs to be change and innovation in this respect. Know what you as a client wants, particularly with G-Cloud and also what you will accept.

At the moment, using G-Cloud for procurement can be quite difficult for some as the business case templates used by many organisations are prohibitive and not geared towards agile. Why might this be? Generally speaking, people found that this was because decision makers prefer to have the end cost established prior to lift-off for a project. Agile procurement and practices are by their very nature changeable and while costs can be fixed in ways, in most cases there is an element of uncertainty which can prove too much when it comes to decision time.

There is a need for education when it comes to procurement of digital services. This is essential so that people don’t think that they need to go out for a massive procurement drive, rather, that they can use G-cloud which can sometimes be better for smaller, self-contained platforms.

As you can see everyone had lots to say and the conversation continued over lunch.

Looking forward to seeing what the November Salon has in store for us.


The author is Stephanie Lawless is the Communications Consultant at Sopra Steria.

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