I find much to love in the BC CIO’s “IM/IT Enablers Strategy v1.5 for Citizens @ the Centre: B.C. Government 2.0” (well, perhaps not the name!) but there is one section that chills me to the core: Strategic Procurement.

At the heart of “strategic procurement” is the “strategic vendor relationship” (SVR), wherein “enhancing the government’s relationship with key vendors [emphasis mine] will lead to more agility in responding to new needs, or making full use of emerging technologies”. What part of working with “key vendors” enhances government’s power in the vendor/customer relationship? Where do market forces come into play?

How will we know which vendors are strategic and which ones are a waste of our time? Will we play golf with them? And those non-strategic vendors, what of them? Do they get to play golf too?

Verily, there is only one place this leads, and the name of the beast is “Master Standing Agreement”, or more colloquially, the “[HP|IBM|Accenture] Always Gets a Piece Act”. The same actors will be arranged in the marketplace, but the small ones will only get to access work via large ones, who will always get a (the most) lucrative piece.

It’s nice that the BC IT bureaucracy is coming to grips with its co-dependent relationship with the big consultancies, but unfortunate that the reaction is to formalize co-dependence as desirable in the master strategic plan.

Note to readers: I’ve heard talk of a “vendors solutions center” or something like that floating around, anyone have any links or documents they can share?

This (and everything else, it seems) reminds me my favourite technology joke, from circa 1995:

How many Microsoft engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?
None, Bill Gates just declares darkness to be the new standard.