Changes In Procurement Practices Are The Death Of Us All …

  • Just replied to someone on LinkedIn in a  conversation about Access work getting really thin lately …  Thought my response might be a good blog .. (additions in blue) ..

    Jeff asked …”Has the market shifted to hiring contract programmers? “

  • My response …

    Jeff …

    From my observations Corporations have switched to a “Contractor-Only” model (and the “Preferred Vendor” model).  There is the possibility of project-base work but that seems to only be available to the big consulting firms now. I have several times recently worked on contracts or turned down contracts to do what is basically a project because the procurement folks simply could not conceive of the idea of me working on a “pay as you play” or a fixed price model for a specific project in Access or Excel. I was “Dick Moffat” so as a “person” they could only think of me as a potential contractor – even though I am actually an incorporated company. Once they knew I was areal “person” their heads exploded when trying to fit me into their model…

    So I’ve had to go to the clients’ physical office (which sometimes mean being away from home for months at a time btw) every day for 8 hours for weeks until the contract ends at which time there is no on-going arrangement to even support the work I did for them going forward. So the users keep asking me to help them for free because they are frankly screwed… Eventually they have to simply stop using the solution because there is no support and no changes or revisions. The corporation simply can’t conceive of this model anymore no matter how hard I try to explain it to them.

    This is a totally dysfunctional protocol but it seems to have become locked in and I cannot see this changing. This is not good for us “gypsy developers” nor is it good for medium-sized consultancies nor for the customers themselves. But that doesn’t seem to matter .. Once procurement gets ahold of the process it will never give up .. sorta like when IT began to clamp down on PC work in the name of security but moreso in the interest of keeping their jobs.

    In the end the losers are the Companies (we really don’t matter I’m afraid) as they end up paying more and more for less and less, while the supply of capable developers shrinks away to nothing over the next 10 years and then they are left totally dependent on technology but with no one skilled enough to help them keep it going – except maybe someone 12 time zones away 😉 …

    But they’ve have lotsa cool, useless stuff to view on their cell-phones 😉 ..

    I went into this biz because I could see the need for these technologies to be forever (and still do) and that enhancements in technology would only allow us to do more and better for the same clients. It wasn’t supposed to end up this way.


About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
This entry was posted in Access, Access Solutions, Analysis Services, Business Intelligence, Excel, Excel 2013, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Access 2013, Microsoft Excel 2013, Office 2013, Office Automation, PowerPivot, Process Automation, Spreadsheets, the Cloud, VBA. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Changes In Procurement Practices Are The Death Of Us All …

  1. Mark says:

    Stick to your guns D – I have come to the conclusion that this is the work part of work. Ie doing those things that actually could be designed out but because of inefficient organisation (usually the soft fleshy parts) aren’t. Those organisations that automate and move on will be those that prosper those that can’t will stagnate. Unfortunately it does seem that stagnating companies seem to outweigh the really forward looking ones. The technology seems to be advancing far ahead of those managing it. The latest key phrase in UK public sector management speak is – least privelege – the policy of giving people the minimum access to data to do their work. Yes completely wrong headed ethos to my mind. No one it their right mind would act as guardians to their children in this manner so why in the hell is it a good idea for your workers.

  2. Christopher says:

    You know Dick I speak with a lot of people, many my competitors, and so many tell me that work has dried up, that they don’t have the time to market themselves. That is one of the reasons we refreshed our Excel consulting site, to try to avoid that. And hopefully I can provide work for a few more of the people out that needing it.

    Also, why are companies like Microsoft hiring companies such as mine to provide Power BI solutions? Why does LinkedIn continue to outsource companies such as ours? They don’t have or don’t use their internal resources.

    One of the reasons is because larger teams have a wider array of skills and services, more than a one man shop can provide. Face it, running a business takes time, and that is time you are not available to program, I. E., earn your fee.

    When companies outsource they avoid the who employee/consultant lawsuits by outsourcing through a third party. So more and more companies do just this.

    So many Microsoft Excel, Access, and Office MVPs have worked with our clients. Our clients have been blown away by the talent. People such as David and Dick are serious Power BI experts, but how do the clients find them? Each week it becomes harder to be in the top 4 spots. There aren’t anymore, only ten per page.

    And a simple fact, one not always mentioned, each week there are new sites offering consulting services, more consultants, better websites, etc. And if a firm does quality work they usually earn repeat business, thus absorbing more and more of the supply. Supply and demand.

    You can always join an existing team, but unless work increases you are taking work from those already on the team. One solution is to join the team, and to help them grow, thus increasing work for all members of the team. You can always reach out to the big names in the business, people like Chandoo, Debra or Armen and ask them for work. Or go it alone.

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