Public Services > Central Government

Is disaggregation a reality?

Published 20 December 2017

Steve Robinson from Littlefish says GDS and CCS must ensure they are highlighting supplier successes within government while SMEs must proactively help themselves and build the right relationships to win business


Historically, many government organisations entered into large, single vendor, outsourcing contracts, which would typically last for five to 10 years. Fortunately, government has recognised the restraints these types of contracts present and have been putting measures into place to break down the barriers for SMEs.

The most recent being is the Government Commercial Function document , which provides guidance for departments who wish to exit from large expiring IT contracts. This is reassuring news if government is truly to promote a multi-vendor disaggregated environment.

According to the report, recent government reviews have shown disaggregation and multi sourcing can achieve over 40% savings and we are definitely finding similar patterns. Littlefish customer, UK Export Finance, had a goal to reduce costs year on year by at least 20% through disaggregation and has achieved that from year one with ease. Another customer, Money Advice Service has also saved over £850k per annum.

So, there is truly is an incentive to make the move and demonstrate that there is life outside the static old guard, leading to arguably better outcomes. As a SME in this landscape we have been very successful. It no doubt  goes in our favour that we had pre-existing knowledge of tendering processes and significant public sector experience, so we have been taken seriously from the start. As a result, we have built stronger relationships in central government, currently commanding around 12% of the anticipated £81m spend on the initial CCS Technology Services framework.

However, some SMEs simply don’t have the scale to provide every IT service component, like the larger vendors, so the fact that government departments are breaking down the monolithic contracts into smaller chunks has created the market for us, allowing smaller agile disrupters to apply expertise and provide a high quality service. To make sure we (SMEs) continue to progress, GDS and CCS need to ensure that they are highlighting supplier successes within government to give confidence to others who wish to disaggregate contracts, but feel like it’s a step into the unknown.

It’s not just down to government but the SME must take responsibility too. SME suppliers need to get out there if they want to win business – proactively looking to build the right relationships and get known in the right places (relevant forums, industry events, press, etc.). There is no guaranteed success, but at least you attempted to compete in a receptive market. Also, even if you have not had tremendous amounts of experience in the public sector or specifically central government, you can still showcase your private sector experience because it will be taken seriously. Which perhaps hasn’t always been the case where, historically, public sector referencing was almost always a pre-requisite.

So, is disaggregation a reality? Yes. And, it’s here. Now, that central government organisations are coming to the end of their legacy ITO contracts, it is clear to all in the marketplace that there is an opportunity to regain control by disaggregating to deliver a multi-vendor approach and take advantage of dedicated skill sets, massive service quality improvements and cost efficiencies rather than simply handing over the reins again.


By Steve Robinson, managing director of Littlefish

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