John Suffolk, the Government CIO, dropped a strong hint this week that some of the top 12 suppliers to government - who get more than 60% of the total ICT spend - may be unwilling partners in radical change within government.
Suffolk told a conference in London: "There is no money in simplicity. There is no profit in simplicity. The more you standardise, the more you commoditize, the more you automate, by definition, margins come down "
The Coalition, with strong support from the Cabinet Government, wants to simplify ways of working within government. The more business processes are simplified and standardised, the simpler and the cheaper the IT support for the changes, and the less control major suppliers can exert on departments. The unofficial slogan of the Cabinet Office is: simplify and standardise.
But can Cabinet Office officials enforce such a policy? Those 12 suppliers won't relinquish control that easily.