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Implementing Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) Problems and Solutions


November 12, 2009

We attended the 3rd Global Conference on Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) held at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC. The event was sponsored by the Multilateral Development Banks e-GP Working Group. Our previous post focused on government objectives when implementing e-GP.

There was a rich discussion about implementation problems encountered when automating public procurement. Many speakers shared their experiences – including unexpected issues. Good implementation practices are emerging.

 e-GP professionals described the obstacles to implementing automated public procurement systems. The two major themes were:

  1. Culture change and the difficulty to motivate stakeholders. Most stakeholders see little need to change the status quo and are quick to object.
  2. Trust of automated systems. Suppliers and buyers distrust the introduction of computerized systems. These systems are often viewed as not secure, skewed to different stakeholder agendas, not reliable and a means to eliminate workers.

 Speakers at the conference highlighted specific project management disciplines – particularly the need to communicate. One speaker recommended a “consistent rhythm” of communication. All project management solutions proposed including communications management.

 Change management was emphasized by many speakers. These speakers described the need for:

  • Training, including e-learning
  • Consulting with stakeholders and end-users to ensure all needs are addressed
  • Developing incentives for career advancement in the public service

 Speakers described specific good practices in scope management including:

  • Communicating clear objectives
  • Phased approach with quick wins to achieve buy-in and show benefits to stakeholders – many speakers demonstrated how this approach enabled changing the scope of phases based on lessons learned
  • Benchmarking and comparing with the previous methods and e-GP systems in use around the world

 Speakers described numerous e-GP benefits for stakeholders. The “marketing” to stakeholders was not considered sufficient to overcome trust issues without communications, change and scope management.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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