COVID-19: Impact, innovation, and the Smarter State

Has COVID-19 changed the tech industry for good? Find out how the UK public sector is procuring and distributing tech in a post-COVID environment.

All successful organisations have a strategic approach to procurement. When sourcing external partners to deliver goods or services, an established in-house procedure ensures that the vendors or service providers you’re negotiating with meet certain criteria.

Within the UK public sector, there are firm regulations about which companies, partners or bodies are permitted to deliver services to public sector organisations. Although the are legitimate reasons for this approach, it does limit decision-makers when it comes to working with new vendors or entrepreneurs.

What is technology procurement?

Procurement takes place across all sectors, but technology procurement refers to the process of finding tech service providers, manufacturers or retailers. If companies need to purchase hardware, for example, their procurement department will set about finding a reputable retailer to deliver the goods.

However, a nuanced approach must be taking when it comes to obtaining tech services, software and hardware. Public sector organisations hold vast amounts of sensitive data, which means that technology procurement & distribution strategies must include effective security measures.

To achieve this, companies must achieve certain accreditations or certifications before they are permitted to offer their services to public sector organisations. The ISO 9001 and 27001 accreditations confirm that the firm has effective systems in place to protect corporate information and secures people, processes and technology. Similarly, employees may need to have BS 7858 clearance before a firm can apply to be a service provider to a UK public sector organisation.

Image courtesy of Pixabay - CCO Licence

Is tech procurement effective in the public sector?

Safeguards are essential in relation to tech procurement and distribution in the public sector. When purchasing new hardware or obtaining specialist services, public sector bodies must have complete confidence that systems are not inappropriately modified, and that data remains secure at all times.

However, this approach does mean that public sector organisations may be tempted to use existing providers, rather than taking advantage of the latest technology. The length of time it takes for companies to acquire accreditations and establish themselves as reputable public sector partners means that the industry inevitably gets left behind.

What impact has COVID-19 had?

The public sector is notoriously slow when it comes to digital transformation, particularly in comparison to private enterprises. In 2020, however, the need for increased digitalisation could no longer be ignored. As the COVID-19 outbreak prevented people from using outdated services, it was essential that the UK public sector adopted digital alternatives quickly.

Fortunately, the sector largely lived up to the challenge. In fact, the changes which have taken place since the start of the pandemic may represent that fastest and largest digital transformation that the sector has ever undergone.

Going forward, it’s clear that the UK public sector can embrace change more quickly if it chooses to do so. While security should never be compromised, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how the sector can embrace digitalisation swiftly and successfully in the future.

Guest blog by Bipin Kulkarni and Sarveshwar Desai, Gemraj Technologies

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