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Wipro Net arm in 5-yr deal with UK govt dept

R. Raghavendra in Bangalore | March 10, 2004 08:25 IST

01markets, the Internet venture of software giant Wipro that specialises in neutral e-procurement service, has tied up with the United Kingdom's Office of Governance Commerce, an umbrella agency which sets the guidelines for procurement at various departments of the British government.

The contract is valid for five years. Incidentally, Wipro is the only e-procurement partner which is located outside UK and is among the five procurement players who have bagged this contract.

Pradeep Bahirwani, head of sales, 01markets, Wipro Ltd, said, "The British government is trying to promote the culture of e-procurement for its 200-odd departments. As these departments have varied opinions on dealing with specific e-procurement players, it would take a while for them to adapt to this. We have already begun to interact with the departments."

Bahirwani declined to comment on the value of the contract, citing clauses in the terms of agreement.

He said that this was "one of 01markets' larger engagements with a government."

"The government of UK will act as a catalyst to promote e-procurement. They have already done their evaluation and feel that individual departments do not have to go through the procedure of dealing with vendors," he said.

Since its launch in September 2000, 01markets has conducted about 600 transactions (termed as "events"), estimated to be worth Rs 1,150 crore (Rs 11.50 billion). The company claims to account for 30-40 per cent of the sourcing market in India.

According to Bahirwani, "Private sector sourcing is estimated to be about Rs 3,000 crore (Rs 30 billion). We are gradually witnessing public sector companies as well as state governments taking to e-procurement. As governments are keen to reduce paper work and increase transparency, it involves more technology than services. So far, our clients have been able to save in the range of 10-12 per cent as a result of e-procurement. Governments can also save by opting for it."

01markets is also in talks with the financial sector. The financial segment being in the services sector does not have the necessity to procure huge items. But they do procure items that are small and relevant to their business.

HDFC is one of the banks that has used 01 markets for their procurement needs. "For HDFC, we helped them procure some point of sale materials, cheque books, air-conditioners, personal computers among others. We are also in talks with some banks to take up their procurement activity," Bahirwani added.

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