Government procurement problems rankle in tech world

The frustrations of dealing with government procurement spilled out at the Disrupt the Public Sector conference. Outdated processes are holding back the acquisition of ever-changing software and prevent joint procurement.

Amid the countless invocations of the mantras of disruption and innovation at last week’s Disrupt the Public Sector conference in Melbourne, one frustration stood out: the difficulty of working with government procurement processes.

In particular, some of the technology solutions needed to tackle complex problems present a challenge for traditional procurement methods, as it can be hard to define all the details of a product that is designed to change and adapt.

Grantly Mailes

Grantly Mailes

“With the procurement system, you need a PhD to run it and to participate in it and if you do the slightest thing wrong things start going very badly wrong,” said Grantly Mailes, outgoing deputy secretary at Department of State Development, Business and Innovation.

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