09 December 2022 - Three key challenges for IT Procurement in 2023
Acting Associate Director, IT Operations
Leeds Beckett University
Chair of UCISA Procurement Group
As we move towards Christmas and the start of a new year, the Procurement Committee have been mulling (wine pun avoided) over challenges that will likely affect IT Procurement in 2023.
For over ten years now, inflation rates of around 1 to 2% have made annual price negotiations slightly easier for us. Suppliers have not had significant salary pressures and rises in the price of a particular commodity have generally been balanced by falls in another. Things have changed in the last six months and we are going to have to work harder to control our costs. We know that our institutional income will not rise by 10 or 11% and we know that other costs are going to increase – the pressure will be on us to be more creative about how we work with suppliers for manageable changes in cost. The reduction of duplication and waste, on the basis of mutuality, will help us with this but effective engagement with our business stakeholders and ongoing, accurate cost projections will be much more important as our colleagues in finance try to balance the books.
Contract Management with Dispersed Cloud Environments
For those of us who have been around for a while, life used to be a lot simpler. We bought lots of tin – servers, storage, switches etc – and we bought big licences, our technical colleagues put the two together and were then responsible for service delivery. Now, we may have services hosted on site, some in AWS, some in Azure and some in private clouds with a complex web of interconnections between them. When something goes wrong, it will increasingly fall upon us to know what will it impact and to understand how we facilitate resolution. IT Procurement are, therefore, going to have to continue to develop their contract management skills. The management of SLAs across a dispersed estate, with multiple cloud based contracts and differing terms and conditions. The compliant procurement of this dispersed estate, balancing the use of frameworks such as GCloud and the SLRA with the knowledge that any investment in a complex landscape of SAAS, PAAS and IAAS will likely be for much longer than the initial term. The creation of a logistics hub to collate, monitor and manage the impact of failures of individual components. Knowing who to chase and how to influence within global providers will be key.
So; prices are increasing more rapidly than they have in recent memory and our digital estate is now dispersed and outsourced. On top of this, we also have to monitor and hopefully improve our sustainability. This includes environmental sustainability, with an increasing focus on Scope 3 emissions, as well as social sustainability through schemes such as Electronics Watch and financial sustainability for ourselves and our supply chain. Finding a balance between price pressures, the increasing fragility of some suppliers and improvements in sustainability is a key challenge.
These are the items that the committee have been discussing and these are the topics that we will be looking at through the group in 2023. We’d love to hear from you, though, as to what your thoughts are about the key opportunities and challenges for the year ahead, and beyond.