Last year the UK Government approved over £80 billion to spend on a number of major transformation programmes. Around half of that spending is likely to go to smaller, privately owned enterprises through the Government’s Digital Marketplace platform.
If you’re a procurement officer working for government, it’s therefore highly likely that you will be involved in sourcing and hiring technology services from external digital experts in the near future.
That is, if you’re not already
As a procurement officer, you are in the driving seat when it comes to sourcing the specific digital skills necessary to complete often highly technical projects.
And if you find this an overwhelming prospect, then you are not alone.
According to a Tech UK and Dods Research survey, only a fifth of civil servants involved in the design, specification or procurement of IT services agreed that their department possessed the right skills to properly manage supplier contracts and relationships.
That’s a strikingly low number – but it’s also an understandable statistic.
As procurement officers in both central and local government find themselves increasingly responsible for hiring a wide range of specialists, they are being called upon to apply knowledge in areas that are often deeply complex and technical.
If you’re planning a digital transformation project for a public sector department in local or central government, it will pay to undertake some ground-work before embarking on the complicated task of finding the specialist you need.
To help with this, I’ve written a guide on the topic – which is aimed to help public sector procurement officers like you plan for the road ahead.
As a taster, here are five pointers that I’ve taken from the guide that will help you prepare to hire skills for digital transformation:
There’s a download link at the end of this blog, should you want to read it in its entirety.
It’s not necessary to become a digital genius overnight, but understanding the vital knowledge such as the framework you intend to roll out on – as well as knowing the different specialism categories – will be very useful.
Create a hypothesis and conduct some research to make sure that your up and coming project will be well-received – whether the end users are civil servants, the general public or both. This will help avert the type of negative outcome we’ve seen in the news recently – whereby time and investment is directed at a project that fails to deliver.
Whilst public departments exist to serve the interests of society, SMEs are profit driven, commercial entities that exist for the interests of their private stakeholders. This can lead to a clash of cultures.
Aim to conduct meetings at your government office. Seeing how potential suppliers function ‘in situ’ may be all it takes to see if a particular consultant or company has the right characteristics to sufficiently blend into public sector life.
Establish the exact outcome of your project. Working backwards and identifying the ‘pain point’ that the project aims to address is a useful tactic for maintaining focus, knowing what you want to achieve and setting objectives.
There’s pressure on small businesses to compete for new projects, and this may tempt suppliers to over-state their abilities.
Ask for evidence from potential suppliers to back up any claims that they are the right people for the job. This could include case studies about similar projects, for instance, or client references that will prove they have the experience and knowledge they say.
If you are a procurement officer that works in government then you are likely to play an increasingly important role in driving digital transformation.
It’s an exciting but challenging prospect.
But as you might be moving into uncharted water, it will no doubt help to know support is at hand.
If you find yourself with questions, or need a steer, then don’t hesitate to contact Digital Skills for impartial – and free – advice on 01628 421781.
Or download our free guide here: “How to find – and hire – the consultants you need when planning a digital transformation project.”
We are able to help you out by making greater sense of the road ahead.
About the author:
Mike Cheeseman is the founder and managing director of Digital Skills – a specialist digital talent and resources provider based in the Thames Valley. He has a degree in government and politics and an extensive background in sourcing and recruiting specialists for digital and business transformation.