The gift that keeps on taking

On Tender

Christmas can be a funny old time, especially if you have outlaws to consider.

Not the type that wear moustaches, wrapped in double bandoliers, smashing saloon chairs over one another's heads. The ones I'm talking about are far more dangerous: the extended relations of your significant other's children.

This gaggle of cronies can ruin your Christmas. Paradoxically, they can also make your partner's children's day complete. Which has nothing do with getting more presents, I'm sure.

Most couples can’t stand the thought of visiting their own in-laws. Imagine how much worse it is being dragged to your partner’s ex-in-laws. Joy to the world.

Not only are you reminded that your loved one once had eyes for someone else. But there is also the horde of crusty aunts, uncles, grandpas and cousins who regard you as "Partner 2.0".

I see a parallel to this in the government’s Syndicated Procurement Programme. Much like the "outlaws", syndicated procurement has existed for many years. I didn’t think it was common knowledge but I was informed of this in the same way that you get the news that your new girlfriend has a whole houseful of baggage in the form of a family complete with its closets full of skeletons attached to those cute kids.

The Syndicated Procurement Programme, especially its Common Use Provision, means that any government agency can latch onto any other agency's existing contract. It’s like AoG (All of Government) with options. If AoG were a Ford, Syndicated Procurement would be the Ghia version.

Syndicated Procurement is like going to the partner's ex's parent's house for Christmas dinner only to discover you've been press-ganged into some hideous Secret Santa duty. It means that if you can endure the process of winning a syndicated government contract, you'd better put out a few extra plates in the event some "outlaws" show up at your door. You'd better have the capacity to supply other agencies who suddenly throw their hats in the ring and want a slice of your amazing solutions or services.

SMEs in the IT world already struggle to evaluate their capacity for bringing on more business. Evaluating the capacity required to fulfil a government contract, in the Syndicated Procurement Programme, is near impossible, I would bet.

You can imagine it as a scene from Star Trek: great piles of computer boxes teetering as the walls creak from the strain as your trusty old store man pulls at his ears and shouts, “She’s gonna blow Captain. She cannie take anymore.”

You may really like the good people at the Ministry of Health. They are kind, speak softly, have nice uniforms and generally care for people’s welfare in a compassionate way that reminds you of your mum’s cuddles. Then you get those nasty people from MFAT with their suspicious looking trench coats and thin moustaches when it’s not even Movember. You don’t want these people at your party, but with Syndicated Procurement and its little add-on of CUP you have no choice but to let them in. You have to play with both of them.

But much like Christmas with the outlaws, the seemingly impossible often comes to pass and the Earth does not deflate in the manner of a soccer ball that has landed on the top of a spiked fence — because sometimes doing the very worst thing you can think of leads to possibilities that you could never have imagined.

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Bloody funny and very well written. Classic.

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