Birmingham, United Kingdom (PressExposure) October 02, 2012 -- The UK IT Association (UKITA), the trade association for UK SME IT companies, today announced an initiative to encourage smaller IT companies to pool skills and improve their chances of participating in public sector IT contracts through a new Associate Membership level.
UKITA is opening up its community of IT companies to the smallest IT and digital companies and IT freelancers to complement the skills of existing members.
The move has come as new public sector initiatives designed to open up procurement to more SMEs are failing to attract smaller IT companies. UKITA's annual member survey reveals that far from opening up tendering to more small and micro-business suppliers, changes in the marketplace are actually driving them away from the public sector.
The most frequent reasons given include: cut-throat competition, which includes increasing numbers of larger suppliers now tendering for smaller opportunities than before; low success rates for small companies under five years old; under-pricing by new entrants and ex-public sector workers bringing the risk of non-delivery, and the time and cost involved in preparing the tender documentation.
Meanwhile, IT companies that are well-versed in finding and responding to tenders, sometimes lack specialist skills for a particular project or are temporarily short of capacity to meet project deadlines.
Andrew Corbett, UK IT Association director said: "Our new Associate Membership grade will raise visibility of the smaller specialist IT companies and freelancers that our larger members want to partner with. Through our own national UK IT tenders sourcing service, we understand who is procuring IT services, and who is responding to those invitations to tender. We also speak to hundreds of small and not-so-small IT companies about how and why they get involved in tendering and on the other hand, the reasons why many do not."
Every day, the UK IT Association's tender-finding process scours 1,100 information sources for tenders and projects in the UK. The trade association's expert team examine and select tenders and 'tag' them with a matrix of the required skills to deliver the project. Overnight, the projects are matched with each full member's individual IT skills profile so that they receive a fully customised list dailyof the tenders that match their stated criteria.
Corbett continued: "Through our tendering activity and annual survey, we gain knowledge of trends and developments in the SME tendering landscape of public and private sector IT procurement. We have identified a huge gap and see a massive opportunity to bring together the businesses who have the resources and skills to successfully bid for tenders and the smaller specialist players who are giving up on bidding directly for the work.
"For many of the smaller businesses the best advice is actually to target those businesses that are successful in tendering rather than tendering expensively and unsuccessfully for the work themselves."
At £49 + VAT per annum, the new Associate Member rate is positioned at a point where even the smallest or start-up IT business can join the Association and gain visibility to successful tenderers. This in turn benefits UKITA's full members by expanding the talent pool to cope with heavy workloads and provide specialists as necessary.
Businesses becoming members of the Association can offer their IT products and services to other businesses, identify types of companies in the sector they would like to form working partnerships with. The fact that everyone is operating under UKITA's ethical Code of Conduct provides members with the confidence to work with each other. Members gain visibility thanks to a detailed entry in the website directory at http://www.ukita.co.uk and are visible to small and medium-sized business IT buyers in via the customer-facing http://www.thegooditguide.co.uk website.