Commercial Design

Much More Than Just Procurement

Tariq Rashid, October 2013

Me, Briefly

IT Reform, OCTO, global enterprises, small startups


Open - Source, Standards, Markets, SME Agenda


Reform of Security


Information Strategy


little on Commercial reform - e.g. IPR in contracts

My Aim

Raise Awareness, Catalyse Debate, Support Change

public money

The Problem


Is the legal fair process of buying something.


That's it.


Anything more is inconsistent across public sector.

What about ...

Size of supplier's footprint?


Multi sourcing?




Market pace vs contract pace?


Performance - to inform procurement?



"provides money"

"spends money"

commercial design?

We Can't Write Everyone's Contracts For Them




Let's Go Back to Basics

So what is this "commercial design"?

Commercial design is about sustaining long term value. That's it.

That's an easy phrase to repeat. What's underneath that?

1. Sustained choice and feasible ability to change ... beyond the point of initial procurement or implementation.


2. Sustained competitive tension to keep suppliers enthusiastic even after the initial contract award.

... because choice on its own isn't enough ?!

How do we do it?

we must actively and strategically steer our organisations to stay close to parts of market subject to most competition and commoditising forces

bespoking away from market

proprietary dead ends

barriers to cost-effective suppliers


enforcing open standards

transparency on contracts


active intervention

for example, this strategic navigation allows us to ... 


know when to pay more short term for better long term value





"free ... yes, but at what cost?"

Commercial Design Principles

Diverse Supply

  • Not just multiple suppliers ...
  • Open to different kinds of business models
  • Understand and remove barriers
  • Keep pace with the market


Large bundled contracts are obscure, shield from competition


Decompose to best match competing market


Smaller components = smaller commitment = smaller risk = smaller impact .... higher success rate 


Aggregated risk is not attractive to most suppliers


You control own your own destiny, not suppliers


Retain IPR and valuable assets, then choose to exploit / share


Don't outsource business-differentiating functions


Informed market - buyers and suppliers


Encourages ever better behaviour - buyer and supplier


Performance and outcomes, not just pricing and contracts

Thank You for Listening!

Commercial Design

Long term value is made possible by choice and competition, and intentional strategic navigation to maintain these as both the customer and the market evolves and changes. Supplier diversity, disaggregation, autonomy and transparency are key ingredients to support this.


It is no coincidence that a more sophisticated approach to commercial design, shares with the agile agenda, the desire to minimise commitment, sustain ongoing choice and adaption — as a feature, not an inconvenience.

commercial design

By Tariq Rashid

commercial design

Commercial Design - much more than just procurement

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