Data analytics to improve procurement decision-making. Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash ©2015.

Procurement is a huge business which affects virtually all sectors and organisations. In the public sector alone, spending on goods and services across the EU is estimated at more than €2 trillion per year.

But there are many challenges. Governments and state-owned enterprises are confronted must deliver services with greatly reduced budgets; prevent losses through fraud and corruption; and build healthy, sustainable economies. Managing these competing priorities at a national level and across many disparate agencies is notoriously difficult. Coordinating them across Member States seems almost impossible, and the development of vibrant, competitive economies without access to data and tools is problemmatic.

In times of enhanced transparency and accountability, there is a pressing need for better insight into, and management of government spending. Too often, the same suppliers are given contracts without considering the total, longer-term benefits to the government’s bottom line or the broader implications of tendering decisions in terms of employment and skills development. At the same time, we struggle to identify fraud in public tendering; the OECD estimates that more than 82% of these cases remain undetected across all OECD countries, while recent research puts the costs of corruption in EU public tendering as high as €990b a year.

Private sector procurement faces similar challenges. Decision makers are expected to deliver the best possible value and to run efficient and accountable tendering procedures, whether the beneficiaries are company shareholders or taxpayers. While the process tends to be less structured than in the public sector and decisions and framework conditions are not subject to public scrutiny. However, these decisions should be transparent internally, and they should demonstrate best value for money. Facilitating this becomes increasingly difficult as the global flows of goods, services, finances, and people reach levels unimagined a few decades ago.

In this environment, They Buy For You are using open data to build tools for better and fairer procurement. Over the coming years we aim to assist SME’s and public organisations, stimulate the growth of data companies, save €billions in public spending, and help to combat corruption in the tendering process.

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