The fact that there are different degrees of adoption between EU countries shows that technology itself is not the biggest obstacle. In fact, this appears or evolves according to the business need/opportunity.

To facilitate the adoption of such solutions at a national level in public administration as complex as ours, it should be encouraged first legislatively and clearly. This is what the new Directive enforces unambiguously, the exclusive use of electronic media in public procurement. Only in this way can significant and orderly progress be achieved with an impact on, what is often forgotten in international statistics, the local level.

On the other hand it must be accompanied – it is not enough to enforce it legislatively, but the human factor, transition and the ecosystem must be considered. Portugal, for example, opted for a model standardising current electronic procurement solutions through a national framework agreement, with important results:

a) reducing the time of tender of such solutions for all public administrations (under contract);

b) not blocking the private sector, so that the platform providers have become agents of change, providing additional services to facilitate transition, support users and offer innovation on the platforms.

Leaders in promoting electronic procurement

The European Commission is not skimping on efforts in promoting electronic procurement to achieve the growth of electronic commerce in Europe. According to the European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market and Services (DG-MARKT), public procurement in Europe accounts for approximately 19% of GDP, of which less than 5% is currently awarded today through electronic media. As is apparent from the “Deutsche Bank Research on e-Procurement, February 2011” report, if all European authorities were to implement electronic procurement systems, savings of over 50,000 million euros could be achieved.

The new Directives involve a modernization of public procurement, but also facilitate the creation of a single market for the 27 countries that form part of the European Union, laying the foundations for cross border procurement through the future technological development of interoperability issues.

The Commission would complement the momentum of the new Directive with three other complementary non-legislative measures:

– The Golden Book Project, an analysis of the more than 300 existing platforms in Europe and the selection of best practices.

– The Performance Indicators Project, to define a model of indicators of use for electronic tendering.

– The constitution of the e-Tendering Expert Group (e-TEG).

Also, this project is part of one of the seven strategic pillars of the European Digital Agenda 2020 and is backed by more than 1 billion euros from the Connecting Europe Facility program for its development and implementation, along with other electronic services as e-invoicing.

NOTE: This text has been drawn from the chapter “The New Stage of the Electronic Public Procurement” written by Javier M. Jimenez, Director of Strategy and Marketing of Aytos, for the “White Paper on Public Electronic Tendering” in which VORTAL has collaborated with IESE Business School and Aytos.