When David complements Goliath
The Government has pledged to spend a third of its procurement budget with SMEs to help support UK economic growth and deliver more value for the taxpayer. This is great news for technology businesses in the UK, but also for the Public Sector as there are so many benefits that SMEs deliver that differentiate them from the largest players in the market.
IT service giants have traditionally dominated the public sector because of the legacy brand power that says “you’re in-safe-hands”. As famously quoted for decades, “no one ever got fired for buying IBM”, and this statement is still quoted in decision-making discussions for IT service providers as well as technology vendors. It’s a long-held belief that when you need complex, high-risk technology solutions, the big guys are a safe bet because they’re simply too big to fail. But with demand growing for bespoke services that are uniquely tailored to the needs of individual organisations, the appetite for more boutique SME service offerings is growing. What the Goliaths deliver in longevity and stability, they lack in the flexibility, agility and cost fluidity of more nimble SMEs.
These benefits are essential in today’s ever-evolving technology landscape. So, with Government procurement directives driving change, we’re seeing a shift that is paving the way for SMEs to win once impenetrable Public Sector service contracts from monolithic service providers.
Not a Jack of all trades
SMEs bring to the table a deep expert knowledge in their given sector. The hands-on, collaborative approach of smaller organisations creates a diverse skill set within teams, with subject matter experts encouraged to share knowledge and upskill the wider team more than would ever be required in a giant service provider where skills are more commoditised.
Traditionally, the IT managed service titans deliver the same service on day one as they do at the end of a service contract, but the SME service providers that are thriving are those that put innovation at the heart of their proposition to drive change in a service sector that has seen little evolution in decades.
Innovative, agile SMEs and start-ups have the desire to do things differently, harnessing the latest technology to simplify work and increase productivity in creative ways. This ethos tends to attract fantastic talent, too – the innovators and game-changers with an entrepreneurial spirit – because they have the opportunity to make a real impact within the business.
The benefit of this to buyers is that SMEs bring new levels of innovation and will work closely with client organisations to understand their needs and find new ways to solve pain points and facilitate growth. They’re not bound by the corporate structures and processes that result in the one-size-fits-all approach of many monolithic service providers. This offers a huge opportunity to drive change, transforming clients’ operations and optimising end-user experiences.
Driving change together
There are vast benefits of investing more of the public purse in SMEs, but it doesn’t need to be a David versus Goliath battle. Although SMEs and the largest providers may be going head to head in bids, once within buyer organisations they are often working side-by-side. This creates an opportunity to collaborate to drive change together.
Buyer organisations should facilitate these collaborations to enable providers to complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses and bring together the best of both worlds. This is the quickest way for organisations to reap significant rewards and develop a technology ecosystem that’s more effective than the sum of its parts.
Large IT service providers need the speed, agility and innovation that SMEs can bring to address some of the significant cost savings and innovation challenges that public sector organisations face in the new future of work. The right technology strategy will facilitate a stronger recovery as organisations grapple with new ways of working following the rapid digitalisation of processes during the pandemic. A collaboration between the Davids and Goliaths of the technology service industry will quicken the journey to success.
The Crown Commercial Service frameworks, such as Technology Services 3 and G-Cloud 12, are enabling SMEs to compete on a more level playing ground and this will be key to driving more of these successful David and Goliath collaborations.
Patrick Nolan, Technology Pillar Director at Crown Commercial Service, describes the G-Cloud framework saying, “G-Cloud continues to be a great public sector success. It encourages innovation and improves services for UK citizens, by allowing customers and suppliers to find each other easily. Now, more than ever, SMEs have a crucial role to play in our economy, and G-Cloud is a proven method through which they can grow their businesses and support the national recovery.”
We’re delighted to be Crown Commercial Services G-Cloud 12 Framework and Technology Services 3 Framework suppliers and we value the investment the UK Government is making in simplifying access to innovative services like ours for Public Sector organisations. We’re excited to be able to offer the benefits of our agile, automation-first IT services to more of the Public Sector.