Bob was struggling with his self-esteem. So, Dilbert suggested that he get a job in IT Procurement…

DILBERT © 1995 Scott Adams. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights

At Expense Reduction Analysts, we get involved in a lot of IT procurement on behalf of our clients. Often this is because they don’t have any actual procurement expertise in their organisation – they have lots of techies who love buying stuff, but they don’t treat it in the same way as they would a high core spend like raw materials. So they look to procurement companies for invaluable guidance; at ERA, we fill the gap by providing a great blend of technical, market and commercial knowledge.

Sometimes they have procurement expertise but it’s a bit light on IT. Other times, they might not necessarily want us to do all of the procurement for them, but they need a hand with parts of it. That’s great for us too, because we are very good at understanding the missing pieces of their jigsaw and helping them to fill the gaps.

Occasionally, Finance and IT don’t really see eye to eye, because Finance worries about the increased spending in the IT department and they can’t figure out if it’s valid or not. IT like to spend more because their principal concern is delivering service to the business and the quality of that service is affected by not only how much is spent but also how wisely. This is where the experts at ERA can help because we can be trusted advisors to both the Finance and IT departments, therefore improving the situation for all.

In all of these scenarios, we have a lot of interaction with IT suppliers and one of the biggest value-adds to our clients is our ability to work well with the IT supply chain. Bob struggles a bit with that – he’s kind of old-world procurement:

DILBERT © 1995 Scott Adams. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights

We know cost savings are important. But we also know that the operational obligations of key stakeholders are equally, if not more important to the organisation. That’s why we make sure we have a good relationship with the IT stakeholder(s) in projects and why they usually ask us to take on further projects later. We also ensure we fully understand the client’s motivation, because it isn’t always about saving money. Some of this years’ projects have included:

  • Helping a not-for-profit client to select and purchase the right replacement for their ERP (enterprise resource planning) and EPOS (electronic point of sale) combined system.
  • Running a selection and procurement process for an insurer who had previously outsourced their IT support division to another company and wished to find a new, better support provider – transferring employees over.
  • Guiding a national retailer through the selection and evaluation of their next generation ERP/EPOS journey and educating them on what that journey will entail.
  • Successfully implementing a hardware replacement programme for an insurance broker, ensuring that they will make savings by changing the way they buy and refresh their hardware estate.
  • Running a selection and procurement process for a large national charity to find a suitable partner for their new content management system and website development.

Leading the negotiation team for the same charity in their acquisition of new CRM/Fundraising and HR systems.

There have also been other projects, linked to IT through the core project, for example:

  • Undertaking a study in invoice routing through the ERP system for an institutional publishing client which revealed that by changing their invoice approval process and approval levels they could save considerable sums.
  • Working as part of a team to select a Tier 1 law firm, to lead negotiations on a large, multi-million pound client IT outsourcing contract (where we are also engaged as the IT procurement experts).

All of these projects have been successful or are yet to conclude but give every appearance of a successful outcome.

We’ve also tried to stop Bob from giving our clients Dymo labellers instead of laptops and letting suppliers tie him up on long-term unfavourable contracts…

Get in touch with us today to find out more about our IT procurement services.

Article by: Simon Atkinson