Check Suppliers Carefully Before Buying Software Systems

Sofia Jekie
May 27 · 2 min read

This site looks into the accounts of 8 UK suppliers of social care case management systems. Each supplier has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, Corelogic has decent market share but their accounts deserve a really close look. Tribal have very limited market share in the social care arena, and so should be questioned in depth about this topic. Azeuscare, bizarrely, appear to operate from somebody’s house!

Picking the right supplier is as much about culture and working practices / integrity as it is about product specification. Procurement specialists would do well to understand the landscape in each field they choose to enter before starting any procurement process.

The past 10 years have been volatile in this sector, with many local authorities replacing their ageing OLM and Northgate systems. The pace of system replacement is high, which sustains a large number of suppliers — only time will tell how many of these will survive long term.

Local government procurement is blighted with ineffective evaluation processes. For example, many tenders in the current climate over-emphasise price, which means that the cheapest solution almost always wins, regardless of how well or badly it scores functionally.

Some tenders in this sector place as much as 70% on price — you might as well send a child to the nearest Pound Shop and ask them to pick a software system! Careful analysis of supplier accounts — including such accounting tricks as capitalising software development (which can be seen in the accounts as excessive levels of intangible assets) can help to reduce risk for the authority and its citizens.