Government needs to play the Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones (soundtrack)

Game of Thrones (soundtrack) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Government is dependent on the big IT players, but they need to stand up for their share of power.

Speaking to Duncan Jones principal analyst serving sourcing and vendor management professionals at Forrester, he believes Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude is wrong in his approach to getting rid of the oligopoly of IT giants that currently supply to government.

“We are dependent on them,” he said. “Oracle, SAP, Microsoft – they make great products. They’re spending the most money and using the brightest people. You hurt yourself by not using them.”

Talking about the recent news that the government confirmed plans to standardise document formats across the public sector, by rejecting Microsoft’s lobby to be the preferred standard, Jones said he didn’t think this was the right thing to do.

But he said that government needs to change its relationship with the big suppliers so they don’t act up and end up mistreating the customer.

He used Game of Thrones and The Wall as an analogy of the predicament government is in at the moment, saying that government can stay south of The Wall where it is “sunny, but they have no power.” Or they go North of The Wall towards the territory of startups and the “practioners of dark arts of open sourcery.”

Like with all unknown ventures, it can be dangerous to venture North of The Wall.

Jones said that government must straddle The Wall and do a bit of both.

It then needs to take a high level holistic approach to developing the relationship. He said there is no point arguing with a big supplier over a small price raise, “You’re always going to lose that argument,” he said.

It’s not a price war, but a long-term relationship and Jones said threatening to migrate to another platform may escalate the issue.

“Software companies want quarterly figures, but they need long term customers,” added Jones.