Tag: procurement

Hospitality industry feels ripped off by IT

mcdsThe food industry feels completely stitched up by long-running and misleading IT contracts packed with hidden costs leaving them out of pocket, according to a survey.

Over half of managers in the food and beverage industry think they have been completely misled by IT suppliers – and with exclusive contracts, are finding themselves tied in and trapped by ongoing costs that were not made clear from the beginning.

Of those surveyed, many said their IT systems cost too much money to start with, but are near impossible to get out of.

A staggering 81 percent of managers felt disappointed or unhappy with their IT systems, and one in ten thought picking a big IT supplier in hospitality would make their IT better. Instead, the technology was missold and doesn’t do what it said on the tin.

Just ten percent of all managers surveyed said they were content with their IT systems.

The survey, carried out by Censuswide and commissioned by Caternet, asked 180 managers in hospitality what they thought of their IT.

“Supplier and customer relationships are a two-way thing – they’re about trust and honesty, or at least they should be,” Jerry Brand, Caternet’s MD said.

OFT launches public IT investigation

poundsThe Office of Fair Trading has just launched an investigation to scrutinise government IT procurement and the companies that supply it.

The top IT software and service providers earn roughly £10.4 billion a year through public sector contracting. That said, public IT projects are known for their disastrous implementation and frequent high profile bungles. Top providers often lock the public sector into excessively long contracts which must be seen to the end, and in some cases drag on even longer.

This is not a phenomenon specific to the UK. The public sector often finds itself duped into taking on bloated contracts that arguably provide little value for money, and serve more as a cash-cow for funnelling public money into private pockets without noticeable gains or efficiencies to the public.

The OFT announced that it wants to ensure market competition is up to scratch so that all firms can, at least, bid for projects without contracts automatically going to the biggest players.

“Healthy competition in any market drives down costs, drives up efficiency and promotes innovation,” an OFT statement read. “While a lack of competition can hinder productivity and, in turn, economic growth”.

G-cloud, a government project to open up procurement away from the the IT giants and offer SMEs a fighting chance, has been fairly successful but elsewhere the big hitters still dominate.

Phil Dawson, CEO of Skyscape Cloud Services, offered his comments on the investigation. “For far too long, IT giants and incumbent suppliers have been allowed to reign supreme,” Dawson said. “It is precisely this dominance that has created a stagnant public sector market, which is exactly what the G-cloud programme was established to tackle”.

“Through G-Cloud, public sector organisations are able to avoid inflexible contracts and the locked-in clauses which have been all too common with some of the big incumbent providers,” Dawson said.

The OFT will be examining whether there are barriers stopping smaller businesses from competing, as well as the difficulties associated in the public sector for switching suppliers.

This review aims to look specifically at if market supply is hampering competition rather than a general overview of public IT.

An approach oriented along the lines of G-Cloud would certainly be welcomed by British SMEs, as these companies can offer services that do not lean as heavily on the public purse.

To push further still, perhaps it is worth exploring open source products and services as other flexible, and potentially far cheaper, options.

A reorientation in public IT towards smaller firms, however, could easily upset top corporate lobbyists of the biggest businesses. A push towards open source alternatives would agitate even more.

IT buyers out of touch with office needs

Canon logoCanon has commissioned a study which found those making buying decisions in the office are often out of touch with the needs of the actual user.

Canon Europe surveyed 1,671 end users and decision makers. It found that firms all over Europe are having a hard time bringing in technology to enable flexible working – with a real minority making sure employees had smartphones or tablet PCs. BYOD, then, is crucial at the moment, as those with these devices find they are crucial to their jobs.

Most respondents said they need advice and support from their IT departments if they’re to properly reach their working potential, whether in the office or on the go. Just one quarter knew the office technology inside out, and the report highlights many workers feel they are excluded when it comes to picking technology they feel would be right for their companies.

Canon also found that, while the majority of respondents work with sensitive documents, they are being allowed onto insecure devices on insecure networks. Many end users believe that their organisation is managing document security – when that isn’t a case at all, with under five percent of IT buyers indicating that as a concern in printing, copying or scanning.

The company’s European and UK marketing manager, Matt Wrighton, said the gap between staff and decision makers is obvious. “It’s clear to see how the division within organisations between the two key parties, decision makers and employees, will, if not already, prove harmful to productivity in the workplace,” Wrighton said.

Austerity pressures hospital CIOs

nhsleafletEurope-wide austerity programmes and spending cuts are placing more and more pressure on healthcare providers and hospitals to shrink their spending, and a report from IDC Health Insights claims one viable option will be consolidating their IT systems.

Increasing efficiencies must be a priority for hospital procurement and implementation, IDC claims. They will be striving to offer the same level of care, quality and safety with less resources, so in turn, to stay afloat, they should offer services coordinated with other providers in their catchment areas.

Silvia Piai, IDC Health Insights EMEA research manager, said that in a resource stretched scenario, keeping IT in line with long term business objectives is not an easy task. “Hospitals’ CIOs have to architect for reusability, interoperability, and scalability when implementing new enterprise and line of business solutions, Piai said. “Just keeping the lights on for the existing systems will only drive them to a budget-cut vortext”.

Hospital IT departments are usually driven, IDC pointed out, by regulation compliance. Other aspects in chain management and governance are underestimated, and this leans on a hospitals’ capabilities in risk management.

Top on the agenda for hospital CIOs at the moment is electronic medical records. Health information exchange exchange focusing on cooperation with other providers “is still relatively low,” IDC said. High investments are being put into e-procurement, business intelligence and analytics.

Speaking with over 100 European hospital executives about their business priorities, IDC noted that pressure to reduce public expendiature is reflected in hospitals’ needs to improve performance and IT costs. Strong financial and legal penalties for failing to meet regulatory requirements in emerging areas such as data capture, retention, protection and security are ultimately determining the course of hospital IT investment.

IDC notes change management will include alternative governance models and this challenge is being underestimated in IT. It will bring together physicians and nurses from different care centres, IDC said, or changes in funding models that offer incentives for care and collaborative culture.