Cork entrepreneur to advise EU on e-procurement

9 Mar 2012

Cork entrepreneur Mike McGrath of

The European Commission has appointed Cork entrepreneur Mike McGrath of to an expert group to advise on how a switch to e-procurement could save between €50bn and €70bn across Europe every year.

The purpose of the group is to assist the European Commission in the creation of an European e-procurement environment which is based on ‘best of breed’ solutions, which are easily accessible and usable by public purchasers and suppliers, particularly SMEs, in a single market.

“The problem is that there are over 280 public e-procurement systems across Europe with varying technologies, languages and procedures,” McGrath, a leading member of it@cork, explained.

“This myriad of systems are therefore inefficient and difficult to use for both contracting authorities and economic operators. For example, an Irish company wishing to sell to the German government has to register on 25 different systems, monitor each system for opportunities and then respond in varying formats/languages.”

The European Commission wants to tackle these challenges by identifying the best e-procurement solutions across Europe and define a blueprint for e-procurement that ensures wide accessibility, including cross-border, SME inclusiveness, wide interoperability, transparency, traceability and accountability.

The aim is to use leading technologies ensuring software delivery as a service via cloud computing. E-procurement can help public authorities to purchase goods and services quickly and efficiently.

In recent weeks, the Irish Government kick started an e-invoicing pilot with the National Procurement Service and Sligo IT. Earlier this year, the EU set a target for all invoices sent between businesses to be electronic by 2020 in a move that could speed up the payment process. According to a report from National Irish Bank in 2010, Target 2013: Modernising Payments in Ireland, e-payments can save the Irish economy up to €1bn each year.

Inspired leadership

The European Commission recognised McGrath as an expert in the field of e-procurement. His service is a simple e-procurement system for businesses that sources local suppliers with local quotes and saves businesses time and money. recently topped awards at UCC’s inaugural IGNITE awards.

McGrath, who recently chaired Bill Liao’s inspirational CoderDojo speech at it@cork’s recent Tech Tuesday event, said: “It is exciting to be defining e-procurement systems, leading to greater openness and competition which will certainly assist the Irish Government in reducing its annual €15bn spend.”

The chairman of it@cork Denis J Collins welcomed the news. He said the appointment typifies the organisation’s collaborative approach.

“Our it@cork collaborative model of IT industry, government, public sector and academia working together is leading the way for economic recovery,” Collins said.

“We must accelerate this model with execution of our regional IT skills gap action plan, tier 1 broadband line deployment and ongoing relevant events and strategic alliances that stimulate job creation across the region. Mike is demonstrating this type of leadership,” Collins added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years