29 February 2008 | Paul Snell
The cost of tendering for public sector contracts is discouraging half of Irish software firms bidding for government deals.
Shane Dempsey, director of the Irish Software Association (ISA), told the organisation's annual conference yesterday that government procurement policy was restricting buyers from choosing the most productive and efficient products.
"Most software companies, many of which provide excellent solutions to other countries' public sectors, find it difficult to get contracts in Ireland due to aspects of the procurement process," he said. "The government must be innovative and take steps to remove any measures that unnecessarily militate against SMEs."
He added that many of the best products were "ruled out from the outset", because tenders were rigidly defined, ruling out the possibility of offering innovative ideas outside the specification.
The ISA wants public sector buyers to collaborate more with suppliers in advance of the tender process, and provide criteria that encourages partnering with small firms on large contracts.