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Avoiding the tender traps

Stewart James | Nov. 12, 2008
The biggest issue for an ICT re-tendering exercise is the availability of time or, more frequently, the lack of it.

Dealing with the inequality in cost of a service transfer is another positive step towards levelling the playing field. A public-sector customer will need to consider these issues as part of its evaluation strategy but both public and private-sector customers should also consider the effect that service transformation might play as part of the re-tender.

Service transformation does, however, bring its own timing issues and the customer will need to ensure that a replacement supplier has mastered the legacy services before allowing it to alter the service or its infrastructure. Part of this will be satisfied by assurance testing during the transfer process but it may also be necessary to insist on a phased approach to moving from the legacy to transformed service. Phasing has the advantage of providing a mechanism to ensure that the transformation is successfully delivered in full.

Planning ahead

The transfer of an ICT service is a complex exercise that needs to be conducted in a careful and considered manner. The planning for this needs to start a long time before the existing contract is due to expire and begins by developing a clear exit strategy. Customers need to take control of this strategy and should not depend on the supplier. However, by engaging with the incumbent at an early stage of the process it is possible to ensure equality between all of the bidders and achieve the best possible value for money.

A recessionary period is also an opportunity for customers to reduce service costs by creating the right competitive marketplace for them. Again, this can be done only by planning the timing and the -process for the re-tender exercise.

About the author:

Stewart James, DLA Piper

Stewart is a partner in the Technology, Media and Commercial group and is based in the Leeds office. He is also the group head for the Public Sector. Stewart's areas of expertise include: PPP/PFI projects, ICT services, outsourcing and re-tendering, business process re-engineering, information assurance (including strong authentication solutions and electronic signatures), data protection and freedom of information, and intellectual property issues.

Stewart has advised on a variety of public sector projects, primarily on behalf of public sector clients. His clients operate in a range of sectors, including the health sector, emergency sector, education sector and utilities. Stewart has also advised a variety of private sector clients in the financial sector, technology sector, information sector as well as in respect of design services and e-commerce. 


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