Open Standards for ICT Procurement

Open Standards for ICT Procurement is a 24 month project of DG CONNECT of the European Commission, meant to facilitate and promote the use of standards when procuring ICT.

This Community is addressed to all those procurement officials, policy makers, strategists and architects within public organizations that care about reducing their ICT procurement costs through the employment of open procurement standards.


To achieve its objective this community will allow its users to:

  • Learn more about the benefits deriving from the use of open procurement standards when procuring ICT goods and services
  • Have access to a large online-library of open ICT procurement practices
  • Discover the good and the bad practices already employed by other public organizations around EU
  • Participate in the discussion for the identification of new practices
  • Share their own experiences in the process of adopting open standards for ICT procurement
  • Obtain, through online discussions, precious advices from other public procurers in the same situation
  • Participate in several online meetings (webinars) regarding open standards for ICT procurement
  • Be informed of all the initiatives regarding open standards for ICT procurement
  • Download the user-friendly version of the Guide for the Procurement of standards-based ICT


It is it in the intention of Open Standards for ICT Procurement to engage also those already existing Joinup communities that address topics similar to its own; indeed, Open Standards for ICT Procurement sees collaboration as a way to exploit latent synergies and avoid unnecessary duplications.


Click here to download the project leaflet: Open Standards for ICT Procurement leaflet



In order to comply with Action 23 of the Digital Agenda, the European Commission is funding a set of initiatives, Open Standards for ICT Procurement being one of them, for creating a community aimed at procurement officials, strategists and architects within public organizations to support them in the adoption of open standards when procuring ICT.


The problem is that a number of EU public organizations are “locked-in” with their actual supplier of IT systems. The existence of lock-in and excessive influence of legacy systems can lead public procurers to engage in poor procurement practices that restrict the ability of suppliers to participate in call for tenders. Symptoms of possible lock-in include excessive use of specific brand names of products in procurement documents, and requests for backward compatibility with proprietary systems of which only a few suppliers have knowledge.


When a public authority is overly dependent on a single vendor for its ICT systems, there will be a lack of competition for the provision of these systems and value for money might not be achieved in the long term. Indeed, it is estimated that doubling the number of bidders could result in a 9% decrease in contract values in EU public procurement.


Online library: collection of practices

We are providing you with free access to an e-Library of open procurement practices for the procurement of ICT goods and services. The e-Library includes both good and bad practices that EU bodies are already using in their day to day.

You can easily access to the online library clicking here or by clicking the "Best Practices Library" button on the top menu of this page.

puzzle pieces

What is ICT Lock-in?

You are "locked-in" when it's difficult to change suppliers. Lock-in means that when you need to amend a system, buy new hardware or build a new component then you don't have much option in the short term other than to use the current supplier. This can increase cost, decrease flexibility and close the market to new and innovative companies.






A quick Action Plan to reduce lock-in

Are you a Standards Setter? This is what you should be doing:

* You are a Standards Setter if your role is to define the standards to be used in a country or region

  • Develop a strategy or set of principles for the selection of open standards
  • Define a methodology for selecting standards
  • Invest in a small team
  • Develop and publish a list of recommended standards
  • Develop templates and ready-to-use texts on standards and technical specifications
  • Monitor calls for tenders on ICT so as to detect recurring issues


Are you a Senior Manager? This is what you should be doing:

* You are a Senior Manager if your decisions impact how standards are applied within your organization

  • Gain the flexibility to change supplier at the end of each contract
  • Decrease contract durations and become more agile as an organisation
  • Strengthen your internal technical capabilities
  • Plan and manage organization-wide adoption of open standards


Are you an Strategist? This is what you should be doing:

* You are a Strategist if you help define your organization's IT strategy

  • Create a Strategy which includes the use of open standards
  • Develop a list of recommended standards


Are you a Technical Architect? This is what you should be doing:

* You are a Technical Architect if you are responsible for IT architecture aspects including interoperability and components

  • Design a technical architecture so that components interface using open standards – and so that they can be easily replaced should the need arise
  • Understand the need for interoperability
  • Understand your legacy systems and change the parts that are causing lock-in
  • Consider what use will be made of data generated by new purchases
  • Consider public access needs
  • Consider the need to change suppliers or products in the future


Are you a Business Case Author? This is what you should be doing:

* You are a Business Case Author if you help assess the pros and cons of new initiatives

  • Write up case studies of procuring ICT in order to share good practices
  • Learn from experience and adapt centralised and local advice accordingly


Are you a Procurement Practitioner? This is what you should be doing:

* You are a Procurement Practitioner if you are a procurement manager for a public entity

  • Understand the Regulatory Landscape
  • Engage with the Market
  • Be aware of Intellectual Property Rights and other relevant issues
  • Draft procurement documents bearing these aspects in mind

Access the "Guide for the procurement of standards-based ICT" to know more!


Get Involved

If your organization is a central, local or individual public administration which has experience in buying ICT goods and services or you are simply a public organizations which wants to use open procurement standards for your next tender notice, you should join this Community. Should you be interested in knowing more about Open Standards for ICT Procurement and collaborating with us, then please follow us on twitter: @Open_ICT_Procurement.


Facilitate the access and use of open standards when procuring ICT.