Implementation and Management Approach
Before creating Intercent-ER, Emilia-Romagna Region has conducted analyses and studies on the procurement systems of the public administrations of the Region. Specific areas of investigation have been:
-Â Organization of the procurement offices of the public administration, with particular reference to the number of people involved in the purchasing procedures, to IT systems Â and the typology of skills involved;
-Â Procedures followed for the tenders, analysing the number and type of procedures used and if they are below or over the European threshold;
-Â Typology of goods and services purchased, determining the value of each category and the most relevant characteristics (possibility of standardization, market composition and competitiveness, etc.).
In this phase a strong dialogue has been established with all the actors involved, public administrations (municipalities, health case entities, regional agencies, universities, etc.) and suppliers, to deeply understand their needs and expectations.
These analyses have allowed the designing of all the relevant aspects of the initiative:
-Â Legal framework to enable the initiative;
-Â Organizational model and relation between the different actors
-Â Services to be activated
-Â E-procurementÂ system specifications
-Â Business plan containing an estimation of the costs and the potentially attainable results.
The detailed definition of all these aspects has permitted to create a strong political commitment on the project, to shorten the decision making process and to complete the entire project in one year.
As for the design phase, in the operational phase the mostÂ critical factor is the involvement of all the actors; to face this issue specific actions have been taken:
1.Â Creation of two lead teams one composed by the managing directors of public health care entities and one dedicated to the municipalities. These teams participate toÂ the taking of strategic decisions like Intercent-ER action plans and express, annually, their opinion on Intercent-ER results
2.Â The deployment of the purchasing initiatives of Intercent-ER is assigned to specific multifunctional work teams involving a representative of the public entities;
3.Â The commissions established to evaluate the tender offers, always include representatives of the public administrations;
4.Â A multi-channel communication system (web, email, fax, call centre) guarantee the continuous flow of feedback and information from the end users.
Moreover, to facilitate the use of the innovations introduced by Intercent-ER in Emilia-Romagna public administrations, a new management strategy has been defined, including training and consultancy on the usage of the new procedures and tools.
On the supplier side too, Intercent-ER has made a big effort to guarantee the sharing of the projectâ€™s objectives and the understanding of the needs and expectations, especially from the point of view of the local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEâ€™s) through:
-Â Periodic updatings with the supplier associations, in order to share plans and objectives;
-Â Meetings with the suppliers to understand the evolution of specific markets;
-Â Training and communication initiatives on e-procurement procedures and tools and, in general, on the public procurement system.Â
As better detailed in the section 9 of the part 2, a strong methodology has been established to ensure the governance of the project and the achievement of the results. In particular, Emilia-Romagna Region and Intercent-ER formally agree each year on the activity to be developed, the level of the services to be guarantee and the objective to be achieved.
The objectives assigned to Intercent-ER are than split on all the agency organization, thus guaranteeing the commitment of all the personnel to the results achievement.Â
To summarize, the success factors of the initiative are:
-Â Â Strong political commitment;
-Â Â Deep involvement of all the actors;
-Â Â Project management based on concrete results.
To ensure the service supply to the regional public administrations, Intercent-ER has developed an e-procurement platform. Its main functionalities are:
-Â E-tendering: possibility to run tenders via web, avoiding the use of paper based documents;
-Â Market place, that allows to carry out direct orders or requests for quotations for the purchasing of goods and services below the European threshold;
-Â E-ordering, out of framework contracts that allows public administrations to adhere to the initiatives of Intercent-ER through documents electronically signed ;
-Â Â A knowledge sharing system, containing all the documents on the initiatives carried out by Intercent-ER;
-Â Goods and services demand consolidation tools, that support the gathering and standardization of the needs of the different public administrations;
-Â Price monitoring tools, providing information on the purchasing conditions of regional administrations.
The platform is based on Oracle Data Base; the e-procurement functionalities are guaranteed by Oracle Exchange application.
Intercent-ER platform has several points of contact with many other Information Technology systems;
In this field technical interoperability has been established with the following systems:
1.Â Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems of the regional health care public entities. The interoperability consists in the automatic transfer of the orders made in the e-procurement platform on the ERP systems; this allows to avoid duplication of activities and eliminate the possibility of human errors in the data transfer.
2.Â Other e-procurement platforms. A â€œsingle sign on applicationâ€ â€“ unique identification system - Â has been realized with other public e-procurement platforms, allowing to surf the electronic catalogues jumping from a platform to another one.
To achieve this technical interoperability, semantic and organizational standardization projects have been developed, especially about public administrations and supplier identification; in the field of goods and services classification and codes several projects aiming at achieving a common vocabulary at regional level are ongoing
Intercent-ER is also participating to PEPPOL project and it is working, in particular, to achieve the standardization of the format and content of the e-catalogue to be used in the tendering phase and as basis for e-ordering.