- 26 April, 2012 22:00
So here I am, Clever Trevor, living in a small Waikato town with a famous toilet and working as a trainee manager at the Huntly Countdown. It’s not much of a job but it’s the only job I can get. I have an injury that means I can’t drive trucks anymore. My eyes point inwards and my teeth are rented. The money at Countdown is not very good. I have to budget for all the bills and if something out of the ordinary comes along like a new scooter, I just can’t physically pay for it because the money is not physically in my pocket. I’m living week to week, like 90 per cent of us. I left my scooter outside the dairy and NEK MINNIT, I’m a millionaire. (If you’re unfamiliar with our two new friends that I’ve combined above, then unblock your Youtube access and search for Nek Minnit and last week’s Lotto winner.)
It is of course our hopes and dreams that keep us going in life. Trevor had hopes and dreams that he could continue working at Countdown forever and only bought his weekly lottery ticket so that his dear old mum would never have to work again and that he could fulfil his life-long destiny as a Westie to own a larger American car than most Americans can afford. Nek Minnit had dreams of going home after buying Zig Zags from the dairy on his scooter.
The point here is that we all have hopes and dreams and like Trevor from the town with the famous toilet we take steps to move towards those goals in order to fulfil our inner most dreams. Trevor’s steps were buying a Lotto ticket every week in the hope that his number would one day come up. Others among us tend to make more concrete steps, (although sadly less successful than Trevor’s) in the form of responding to government tenders. But we’re often put in a position that calls for a jaw dropping statement of situation similar to our scooter-riding friend’s exclamation.
One such company, keen to secure a contract with the tantalising carrot of an A-o-G solution dangled in front of it, spent six months negotiating and dedicating hundreds of hours tailoring a proposal that exactly met the stated requirements. Further hoops were placed in front of the company, including enduring integrity audits, negotiating software licenses and supplying written specifications, and all were overcome with the excitement that comes with surviving the first gruelling stage of the process.
However, just as things were starting to look really promising, the company was dumped at the last minute by the IT consultant who was running the tender, on the grounds that perhaps the tenderer wanted something different after all. All bets off, thanks for coming, have a nice Easter.
This particular company who shall remain nameless spent a huge portion of its income presenting a tailored solution only to have the goalposts moved just as the fat lady was about to sing. In other words “NEK MINNIT” they come out of the dairy and found the scooter in bits. In the meantime the government still has no system, a huge amount of time, money and effort has been wasted by all parties pitching for the business as well as the government department, but never mind because the IT consultant still got paid.
It’s hard not to be overly cynical here, but surely there’s something wrong with the process when months of effort end up with the users no closer to getting the tools and solutions they need to do their jobs, and a number of frustrated vendors wondering what they have to do to win a contract that they’re perfectly suited to deliver. Why is it that, just like legal cases where only the lawyers win, with government procurement the only people guaranteed to get paid are the IT consultants, and Nek Minnit, unlike Clever Trevor whose life is changed for the better, the taxpayer is left holding the broken pieces of a scooter.