There are many examples in technology where no one foresaw the need for that product or service before it was launched. However once it is launched, lots of people want to buy it or use it. Prior to 2007, if you asked a mobile phone user what they wanted, it would have been a cheaper, smaller phone. Once the iPhone was released, a whole new vision of what a phone should be, was created.

Another example is cyber security. Computer security never used to be uppermost in people’s minds, a virus scanner was all that was needed. With the growth of the digital economy,  events such as the hacking of TalkTalk, DDoS attacks at JANET and other incidents, it is now a clear concern, especially as more and more public sector business moves on-line and becomes digital.

How do you provide references for the latest products?

This is a very real practical problem. How do you show three previous similar customers for a product or service that is new? We have to adopt a pragmatic approach to procurement and accept that standard questions such as these need to be waived. Otherwise no-one will  buy new products, someone has to be the trailblazer/ launch customer.

How do you buy these services?

What do we do if no-one is clear which framework to use for these new products? Where is the guide for the procurement proffessional which explains what framework provides what kind of service?  We would like to see a general catalogue of services with an indication of which framework can be used to procure that service. This makes more sense that starting with the framework and then working ut what services are available.

We would like to ensure that all frameworks are written in a broad a way as possible so as to allow for new services or products. They also need to be structured in the way that customers want to buy services. With the advent of new technology, the older definitions no-longer hold water.

New frameworks need to be dynamic in nature, so that new products can be uploaded and available as, and when, they are launched.

Catalogues have to be easier to use and access

Some frameworks are now adopting the use of online catalogues of products. The concept is good, but there is still a lot of work to do to make it easy to upload new products. If suppliers need to put extra resource in place to administer the procurement portals, then this will be reflected in prices offered via those portals

These catalogues also need to be easier for buyers to use with improved search facilities, reviews from existing users, available on a variety of platforms and open to all. Let’s look at the best of catalogues in the commercial world and build something flexible and dynamic that stands with the best. Not re-use something that would fail in the in a competitive market.

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