New measures to boost online public procurement in the European Union could make it easier for smaller IT companies to secure government contracts.
The European Commission has launched plans to push the take-up of e-procurement by governments and other public sector organisations when buying supplies and services or tendering for public works.
A new study will be carried out to monitor current e-procurement levels in the EU. The results of this research will be used to help set best practice guidelines.
The Commission has also called for experts in the design and implementation of e-procurement systems to take part in a new, informal group on e-tendering. This expert group will develop a common blueprint for electronic submission of offers by the end of 2012. The deadline for applications is 30 September.
"E-procurement implies more than just changing from paper-based procurement systems to ones using electronic communications.
"It has the potential to streamline and accelerate public purchasing, benefiting both purchasers and suppliers -- and the European taxpayer along the way. It will lead to more efficient procurement administration, resulting in cost and time savings," said the Commission.
Full conversion to e-procurement could save between €50 billion (£61 billion) and €70 billion per year according to recent Deutsche Bank research.