Birmingham based technology services provider, Probrand, is hoping to help West Midlands councils save 2.5% of their 140M IT budget following a unique invitation by the West Midlands Centre of Excellence (WMCOE) to showcase its on-line IT procurement hub, The IT Index.

Probrand is the only private sector organisation to be invited to a WMCOE ICT Procurement event a gathering of IT and financial officers from the areas 38 councils, having proven its technology can save time and money as a best practice approach to procurement.

The event focussed on IT provision and the adoption of more efficient processes towards hitting total UK savings targets of 21.1BN, of which 6.45BN (24%) rests within local government.

Research by the National e-Procurement Project found that e-procurement could save the public sector 1.1BN.

Accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England & Wales, The IT Index is Europes largest on-line catalogue of over 75,000 IT products from 500 vendors daily listed by best price and availability.

The solution is proven to save time by eliminating the need for time consuming supplier ring rounds and adds value to the bottom line by giving users visibility and access to the best priced IT products held within the UKs mainline distribution network.

Cheltenham Borough Council has saved a day a week in man hours and 20% on purchases of IT consumables as a result of using The IT Index.

A point that prompted WMCOE Procurement Director, Andrew Coller, to invite Probrand to the event: "We have been searching for a solution that will generate significant savings through simple automation of processes. We already have the traditional e-auction and there are significant advantages to that process, but what if we could discover a process that conducts daily e-auctions? This would genuinely take us to the next level of efficiency.

"As a tried and tested private sector proposition, Probrand offers the public sector an alternative for the procurement of IT. Considering Cheltenham's lead, this is an opportunity that the public sector needs to investigate and exploit in order to help meet efficiency targets without hurting the delivery of services.

"Probrand is talking the 'e-talk' and clearly demonstrates a best practice approach to procurement that focuses on delivering value."

One of the UK's leaders on e-procurement, Peter Robbins, who attended the event, said: "The solution is scaleable, quick to deploy and proven end-to-end within the IT vertical.

"Impressively, it offers intuitive reporting, analysis and planning functionality for increased spend visibility. This will help to reduce andc ontrol issues like rogue purchasing. These tools are recognised by the public sector as essential for meeting targets.

"Interestingly, if organisations have existing supplier relationships inp lace I believe they can use elements of this solution to gain market knowledge to enable them to negotiate better value."

Stephen Bushell, Group Head of Probrand, adds "The success of the technology behind the it index can also be applied to catalogues in other market verticals. In conjunction with our additional tool sets, users can enjoy a total commerce solution.

"The ICT Procurement event qualified our understanding that the public sector is becoming more entrepreneurial and given the interest we received, our technology will undoubtedly assist in meeting efficiency targets."

Probrand recently posted strong 2005 interim results showing 24% year-on-year growth.

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