German National IT Trade Association Bitkom Releases New Public Procurement Guidelines

  • Guidelines ensure lawful and economically efficient public procurement tender practice and give recommendations for correct use of benchmark programmes

Berlin, 18. May 2015 – With its new and updated guidelines “Vendor-Neutral Performance Description of Desktop PCs” Bitkom is aiding public procurement authorities of all sizes in lawfully drafting technical specifications for the procurement of Desktop PCs. The guidelines have been developed with and are vetted by the German Federal Procurement Office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Procurement Office of the German Armed Forces and the German Federal Agency for Employment.

Public procurement authorities are often challenged in drafting technical specifications for tenders that are economically efficient, fulfil the actual procurement task and are vendor-neutral as required by European procurement law. An ever increasing pace of technological developments and a rapidly changing IT ecosystem are not making this task any easier.

“These guidelines are giving advice on how to specify technical requirements for desktop PCs with regards to their performance, connectivity, form factors and other features under the premise to be vendor-neutral,” says Felix Zimmermann, Bitkom Head of Public Procurement and Procurement Law. When purchasing technical equipment, public procurement authorities need to adhere to a number of legal requirements in order to ensure fair competition. As such the technical specifications shall not refer to a specific brand name or trade mark. Instead, buyers should outline the technical requirements in the tender.

One of the biggest challenges is usually the description of computer performance. Therefore the chapter on performance measurement has been completely revised using selected benchmark programmes. It also provides recommendations as to which thresholds are appropriate for their respective tender. “By requesting specific minimum performance values, public purchasers are able to ensure that the hardware that is being procured fulfils the performance requirements of current and future office usage scenarios and enables competition,” Zimmermann explains. Desktop PC vendors and authorities are also easily able to check whether the products match the specifications using the recommended programmes.

Besides the new guidelines for Desktop PCs, Bitkom has been offering guidelines for other categories such as the procurement of notebooks, printers, servers, thin clients and monitors. Most of these guidelines are also available in English.