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Government procurement is complex. Most times, it is decentralized across various ministries that account for billions of dollars.

Political pressure is becoming more acute as governments look to stem deficits, freeing up revenue for initiatives or for reducing debt. Though this pressure exists, procurement organizations are struggling to find savings. With a move to Enterprise Resource planning (ERP) and its ability to centralize and report on data, most organisations have paid short shrift to the data itself and the quality of that data to provide insights. A good data management strategy identifies duplication, standardization issues, as well as providing 'spend insights.' Matching government procurement to a third party data partner can uncover:

  • Multiple contracts with a single vendor (opportunity to reduce spend, negotiate a better contract)
  • Multiple contracts across a business family that without linking records and spend would go unnoticed (opportunity to reduce spend, negotiation leverage)
  • Multiple contracts with multiple vendors (i.e., office supplies). Provides an opportunity to reduce contract management complexities and better negotiation leverage
  • Spend equity (is the government contracting equitably across geography or diverse groups)
  • Data standardization (decentralized procurement results in a variety of data inputs that are not standard). Working with a third party can provide a standard template that captures vendor information that is then stored accurately across all ministries

Earlier this year, we read this Governing magazine article and one of it's highlighted points was that procurement is at the heart of almost everything a government does. But states (Canadians, read: provinces) vary widely when it comes to how well they manage the things they buy. We’ve seen this from coast to coast. We've seen it time and time again. There is a smart starting point though. A good beginning consists of understanding who your vendors are, what relationships they have with the government, and where opportunity lies to reduce spend (and leverage contract negotiation) based on a solid foundation of data. These insights and opportunities can’t be leveraged without a centralized data strategy.  

Our team has been engaged in procurement discussions with government teams for more than thirty years. There is always a common finding; that is, goverment teams need to make procurement easier for themselves by working with a third party data source. 

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