Interview with Rob Anderson
Ahead of our Client & Partner Day on 16th January, we asked one of our amazing speakers Rob Anderson his views on Gov tech procurement.
Your role as Principal Analyst for Government at GlobalData means you’ve seen some shifts within the GovTech landscape. What are the big changes you’ve identified recently?
There have been so many changes since I took on this analyst role 5 years ago, many of which were kicked off whilst I was in the Cabinet Office from 2011-13. The opening up of the market to SMEs has to be one of the most exciting – not just because of the vitality and innovation that they bring to bear, but also because it shook up the traditional SI’s who had become somewhat fat and lazy. The move to a cloud-first policy and the development of the Digital Marketplace to enable easier procurement has been a really great enabler for that.
And, what are your predictions for the coming year?
The result of the election will have a big impact on this. If there is a definitive result that delivers a government with a viable majority, then I believe (well, hope!) that funds will be invested to reboot the transformation agenda. Austerity and the diversions of Brexit have meant that reform of public services has to a large extent stalled. That said, the main party manifestos didn’t offer much in terms of a strong backing for new and innovative technology to deliver a step change in delivery of public services so I’m cautious about that. The government still has a massive job to persuade the public that it can be trusted to store and use citizen data responsibly, but if that can be achieved there are huge amounts of potential for surfacing better services through the sharing of data, both inter-departmentally and with trusted external agents.
How can suppliers use data to inform their public sector sales strategy? What are the benefits of doing so?
There is so much procurement transparency in government now that it has become much easier to target those departments and agencies that are spending, or are looking to invest in technology. However, the data is not always complete or consistent so it’s fascinating for analysts like me to be able to analyse the data, understand where there are gaps in the information and provide sales teams with some insight to hone their go-to-market strategies. In a crowded market that has an abundance of opportunities, suppliers, particularly those with limited sales resource, must be able to focus their attention on the opportunities that best fit their solutions. Working with market intelligence firms like GlobalData can provide additional nuggets of information and understanding that may be the difference between bidding on a lost cause and unearthing a potential goldmine.
What would you say are some of the big challenges we’ve been seeing lately with GovTech procurement? How do you think suppliers and buyers can overcome these?
The Digital Marketplace has been a fantastic vehicle for opening up the supplier market to new agile GovTech partners, but recently we have seen a swing back toward larger Enterprises, especially in the cloud hosting space. I think this has been at least partially down to the continued risk aversion of many buyers. I know the Crown Commercial Service is always looking for new ideas to broaden both its customer base and its supplier portfolio, so the Dynamic Purchasing Systems like Spark offer exciting new opportunities. However, I think there is a danger of confusion and dilution of message with an ever-increasing number of frameworks and purchasing options, not just from CCS but also those available through other Professional Buying Organisations across the country. This puts extra strain on suppliers and an added burden on procurement teams to select the right vehicle. Organisations like Advice Cloud and techUK are, I believe, in great positions to ease those burdens and provide a good conduit between the public and private sectors.
We look forward to hearing from Rob, as well as our other great speakers, on 16th January 2020. You can find more details about the day here. If you’re one of our clients or partners and want to attend, just get in touch with our client delivery team!