The Small Software Association (SSA) has launched a campaign calling for the government to increase direct spending with SMEs, it has been announced.
Smaller software firms account for just 10.5% of government spending, although the figure doubles if sub-contracted work is taken into account. This falls far short of government goals to award 25% of Whitehall contracts to SMEs by 2015, including 50% of IT spending – and the SSA has warned that many SMEs “still don’t see the point of bidding for government business – it’s time consuming and costly, and they often feel that the odds are stacked against them.”
To remove barriers and encourage more SMEs to bid, the SSA has issued recommendations to the government that, it says, would help set up “a clear and rational framework system that minimises the amount of time spent on bidding for work”. In particular, the group has called for excessive insurance requirements to be scrapped, and for successful case studies of work completed by SMEs to be internally promoted in government departments.
The SSA also said that quotes should be evaluated based on the total lifetime cost of projects rather than straightforward day rates, which can be easily undercut by larger firms. “Where SMEs can provide innovative solutions that drastically cut the number of days required, day rate is an extremely poor measure of value,” said the group.