Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Best practices for ICT procurement based on standards in order to promote efficiency and reduce lock-in: 2-year project completed

Article
The European Commission has published a study on the best Practices for ICT procurement based on standards in order to promote efficiency and reduce lock-in.

Many organisations are "locked" into their ICT systems because the knowledge about how the system works is available only to the provider, so that when they need to buy new components or licenses only the specific supplier can deliver. 42% of the monitored organizations have admitted to have experienced ICT lock-in. Making better use of standards to which competitors can provide alternative solutions diminishes lock-in and increases competition, thus reducing prices and potentially increasing quality. The Commission estimates that an increased level of competition would result in a yearly saving of € 1.1 billion in the EU public sector alone.

The study was conducted between January 2014 and January 2016. Main activities carried out and key results achieved include:

The set-up of an Open Standards for ICT procurement Community

The community on Joinup has been the main tool supporting awareness creation and engagement activities along the whole Study. Thanks to Joinup’s reputation as one of the biggest collaboration platforms for the European Public administrations and to the extensive communication efforts deployed over the last two years, the community easily reached 30,000 Internet accesses, becoming a reference point for all those actors wanting to develop their understanding on ICT procurement issues.

Running a communication campaign

A series of communication tools were developed to foster stakeholder awareness. In addition, extensive social media communication activities were conducted: around 500,000 emails, around 17,000 in-private tweets and around 1,000 posts on the major social media.

The bi-annual workshops

Four different workshops, every six months, took place during the Study. These workshops were organised in conjunction with other significant initiatives concerning ICT procurement issues. Thanks to a carefully designed dissemination strategy, around 75 participants from 25 different countries took part in each event and 130 on average registered to participate.

Brainstorming events (webinars) and online engagement

Ten online brainstorming events (webinars) were organised as part of the Study. Their aim was to foster discussion within the Joinup community, but also with the public at large. Online discussions were useful to create momentum, raise attention on specific themes and generate new ideas; in average 20 people joined the events. Some of these events have also been registered and published on the Joinup community to foster further discussion among stakeholders pertaining to the community.

Collection of best practices

The Study’s library of good practices on Joinup provides a snapshot on a series of practices currently existing at the European and international level to better procure ICT on the basis of standards, while reducing ICT lock-in. With over 30 different cases available and more than 7,000 Internet accesses from most of the EU Member States, the library can be considered as one of the most important web repositories of practices concerning ICT procurement.

The Guide: Using standards for ICT procurement

The Guide was prepared as a tool to better disseminate the Study and create awareness around lock-in. Before proceeding with its dissemination, the Guide has been made available in a more user-friendly format to maximise its effectiveness at www.openictprocurement.eu.

Monitoring the take-up of “open” procurement

A light measurement monitoring aiming to measure the take-up of open procurement has been developed by using a preliminary analysis and text-mining algorithm applied to the data enclosed in the TED database. This monitoring has unveiled that 26% of tender notices analysed received only one offer and 11,9% of tenders contained at least one direct reference to specific ICT vendors, infringing the EU Directive.

All key outputs are available within the study’s dedicated community on Joinup