Chapter 3. ICT procurement and commissioning for coherent policy implementation in Argentina

This chapter assesses the state of ICT procurement and commisioning in the Argentinian public sector as a means to achieve public sector accountability and efficiency in ICT expenditure, as well as their role as frameworks for policy coherence and compliance with digital government standards. The chapter provides evidence-based strategic policy advice to assist the Argentinian government in moving towards a more structured and agile approach to the development, management, procurement and commissioning of ICT projects.



Building a digital government requires strong foundations to support the capacity of the government to ensure accountability and efficiency in terms of ICT expenditures, and to build a talented public sector, which is ready and capable of translating policy goals into coherent policy implementation.

Openness and accountability are needed in relation to where, how and on what projects public money is spent. OECD countries like the United Kingdom are leading a new whole-of-government perspective that places iteration at the core of the ICT procurement cycle as means to evolve from traditional public sector procurement approaches to the commissioning of ICT goods and services. This evolution requires a cross-cutting approach supported by the development of common standards for ICT project development, management and evaluation, and agile monitoring and control.

Such an agile environment relies on new forms of collaboration between the public sector and non-governmental actors, thus acknowledging the benefits of involving all relevant players early in project planning and development as a means to ensure that ICT projects comply with central standards and take into consideration the needs of the end user. The goal is to ensure that public funds are invested in ICT projects that create benefits for the public sector, businesses and citizens and help build a capable and responsive public sector.

The 2014 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies is clear in relation to setting “checks and balances” in the framework of ICT project expenditures; developing business cases to ensure coherent policy implementation and justify public investments; and managing, monitoring and evaluating projects’ implementation and results (OECD, 2014a).

This chapter assesses the state of ICT project planning, management and evaluation in the Argentinian public sector in line with the provisions of the OECD Recommendation and provides evidenced-based strategic policy advice to the Argentina government towards a more structured and agile approach to the development, management, procurement and commissioning of ICT projects.

From ICT procurement to ICT commissioning

There is a growing understanding among OECD member and partner countries on the need of moving from traditional approaches on public procurement to one that is more focused on the goals and long-term benefits of public projects beyond economic measures (e.g. the value of ICT projects to public service delivery). This approach:

  • requires greater investments in the planning stage of the procurement cycle to ensure the realisation of benefits in the longer term, and better prevention and management of the procurement cycle as a whole (OECD, 2017c)

  • implies the involvement of different players at the different stages of the traditional ICT project development, procurement and evaluation process (Figure 3.1).

This agile approach, known as ICT commissioning, calls for the implementation of more open, inclusive, iterative and cyclical approaches in the procurement of ICT products and services. This means, for instance, bringing on board all of the relevant stakeholders to jointly design projects and define ICT project priorities together; creating marketplaces to facilitate the pooling of suppliers; and monitoring and reporting on early results in an iterative fashion, as well as the revision and redesign of the project implementation process when needed (Figure 3.2).

The scale and costs of ICT projects are also factors that affect the level of control and involvement of specific actors, especially those in charge of assessing a project’s early benefits, ensuring their compliance with central standards and with power to intervene if needed.

Figure 3.1. Traditional ICT project design and procurement: Main stages
Figure 3.1. Traditional ICT project design and procurement: Main stages

Source: Based on information from OECD (2014a), Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies, and OECD (2017c), Public Procurement in Chile: Policy Options for Efficient and Inclusive Framework Agreements,

Figure 3.2. ICT commissioning: A model for public sector institutions
Figure 3.2. ICT commissioning: A model for public sector institutions

Source: Smith, W. (2018), “ICT commissioning for improved citizen-driven service delivery”.

Planning and approval of ICT projects

The current central administration has made an effort to bring some order to how ICT projects are planned and approved at the central level. The National Office of Information Technologies (Oficina Nacional de Technologías de la Información, ONTI), under the Secretariat for Digital Government and Innovation Technology, within the Government Secretariat of Modernisation (Secretaría de Gobierno de Modernización, SGM) leads these initiatives, focusing mainly on the project planning and approval stages.

ONTI’s activities aim to bring further order and standardisation to the development of ICT projects, with a focus on their long-term sustainability.

Results from the OECD follow-up mission to Buenos Aires in July 2018 and the OECD Surveys on Digital Government, administered for the purpose of this Review (2018) indicate that ONTI has developed soft policy instruments, such as the Decálogo Tecnológico (Box 3.1), as means to provide greater coherence to the ICT project planning and development process. The Decálogo sets ten principles that public sector organisations can follow to better design their ICT project proposals in order to submit them for ONTI’s certification in line with ONTI’s standards and guidelines (Box 3.1).

Box 3.1. ONTI’s soft law instruments: The Decálogo Tecnológico

The Decálogo Tecnológico (Spanish for Tech Decalogue) provides relevant policy principles to be considered by public sector organisations when designing ICT project proposals and offers a series of guidelines to help in their implementation.

Based on Disposition 2/2018, all public sector organisations in Argentina are expected to follow the principles of the Decálogo when submitting their project proposals for ONTI’s certification. This is done in an attempt to streamline practices in line with the digital transformation of the state.

The Decálogo’s ten principles are:

1. Develop a solid knowledge base on the project being implemented in terms of internal capabilities and user needs. Information in terms of the scope, progress and proportions of the project should also be known.

2. Comply with government regulations and guidelines in order for the project to remain sustainable in the long term and in line with overarching government strategies.

3. Opt for solutions that use cloud computing in order to reduce operating costs and drive internal efficiencies.

4. Use open standards and interoperable solutions to better integrate processes and tasks across the public sector, and increase transparency and inter-agency collaboration.

5. Select shared government platforms and solutions to avoid the duplication of efforts and promote shared data centres. This can optimise user experience and avoid dependency on single suppliers.

6. Develop reusable and shared solutions so that they can be reused by other public sector organisations, enhancing collaboration and preventing duplication.

7. Ensure accessibility of solutions designed to make information and technology inclusive for all.

8. Protect systems and users to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity and privacy of information, users, solutions and processes.

9. Consider a sustainable solution from the initial stages of the design in order to ensure the long-term availability of the solution.

10. Secure convenient contracting and avoid dependence on suppliers to ensure efficient provision and optimise resources

Source: (2018), “Decálogo Tecnológico”, (accessed on 14 February 2019).

In addition, ONTI has developed the Technological Standards for the National Public Administration (Estándares Tecnológicos para la Administración Pública Nacional, ETAP), which provide a set of guidelines for the development and procurement of digital services and products. These, in turn, are intended to promote the adoption of common ICT equipment in order to enhance integration and sharing across the public sector to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the provision of digital services. The aim is also to promote transparency, improve the management of public funds and optimise economic procedures.1

ONTI has also developed some other requirements to guide and standardise how public sector organisations develop their ICT project proposals, namely the Standardised Technical Requirements (Requerimientos Técnicos Estándar, RTE), and the Complex Technical Requirements (Requerimientos Técnicos Complejos, RTC).

The RTE and the RTC stand as standardised business case models for ICT projects with different levels of complexity. The RTE format is simpler in terms of the information organisations should submit, while the RTC targets those projects with a higher degree of complexity. These formats explore, for instance, the alignment of ICT project proposals with ONTI’s guidelines, the use of cloud services, non-proprietary software, and assess the expected costs, duration of the project, interoperability with other existent services and how the project is expected to share data (e.g. through application programming interfaces) in later implementation stages (OECD, 2018b).

All public sector organisations at the central level are required to submit a business case for their project for review by ONTI using either the RTE and the RTC online formats. Once submitted, ONTI analyses the information and issues a certification on the project (dictamen técnico). This process takes from two to ten days depending on the complexity of the project and the need for follow-up.2 This practice is in line with the OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies, and follows the example of countries with higher levels of digitalisation of their administrations.

Evidence points to the fact that ONTI’s activities are largely focused on the alignment and the standardisation of ICT projects, with a focus on the adoption of technology, and the approval process itself in compliance with the Decálogo’s principles. Yet, the process overlooks control after the approval stage, alignment with data and digital services standards, and the overall benefits of ICT projects for citizens (e.g. in terms of public service delivery).

For instance, while it is mandatory for public sector institutions to follow ONTI’s certification process using either the RTE or RTC formats, the recommendations included on ONTI’s final certification or dictamen are not of mandatory observance (OECD, 2018[1]).

While one could not expect all projects to be aligned with ONTI’s guidelines, the use of thresholds and the early involvement of ONTI could be considered an addition to the current process in order to bring further order, coherence and control to the overall ICT commissioning process.

Results from the survey that was administered for the purpose of this review indicate that to date the central government does not use budgetary thresholds to structure the governance process related to the approval of ICT projects (OECD, 2018b). This is in conflict with OECD practices, where data for 2014 show that 80% of OECD countries at the time were using these instruments to better govern ICT projects across the broad public sector (OECD, 2014b).

For instance, in France, the Method of Analysis and Scalation of Value (Méthode d’Analyse et de Remontée de la Valeur, MAREVA2), created in 2007, defined an economic and strategic analytical framework for ICT projects.3 MAREVA2 focuses on benefits rather than costs. The use of the MAREVA2 framework is mandatory for those projects with an expected cost equal to or higher than EUR 9 million.

A similar case is that of Portugal, where all benefits arising from the implementation of potential ICT projects are framed in the scope of the elaboration of the ICT strategy and sectorial plans. Ministerial representatives, in collaboration with the other relevant bodies, quantify not only investment and implementation costs, but also the expected generated savings and benefits of each project using a Standard Cost Model (OECD, 2018c). All ICT projects with a threshold of EUR 10 000 are submitted for a pre-evaluation process, and require the mandatory approval of the Portuguese Agency for Administrative Modernisation, and the related alignment with the guidelines defined by this agency.

It also seems that scalability of impact is missing in terms of how ICT projects are expected to contribute to the overall goals of the Digital Agenda and benefits for citizens, regardless of their alignment with ONTI’s guidelines and expected costs (Box 3.2).

For instance, during the workshops organised by the OECD in Buenos Aires in July and December 2018, some stakeholders expressed the need of scaling up current efforts in order to make the development of a yearly ICT investment plan mandatory while ensuring the early involvement of ONTI in the development phase of ICT projects.

Other stakeholders expressed the current focus on the adoption of technology (e.g. aligned with ONTI’s guidelines) instead of an approach that focuses on the value that the use of technology by public institutions would bring to the public sector, the economy and the society as a whole.

In the United Kingdom, for example, the Government Digital Service established spend control to make sure the needs of the people are considered when defining ICT projects, therefore providing greater value for money. Spend controls also provide greater control and oversight (OECD, 2018c) of ICT expenditures and reinforce the alignment of any new services with the guidelines set by the UK Government Digital Service as any potential new projects related to digital services are assessed by this agency.4

Box 3.2. Canada and New Zealand


To safeguard a common digital foundation across the government, the government of Canada has established the Enterprise Architecture Review Board (GC EARB). The GC EARB is part of the broader governance of digital government in Canada and contributes to its aim to align all digital investment and solutions to the larger digital strategy and policy of the country. By adopting an enterprise approach regarding decisions on digital government investments, Canada aims to overcome silo-based operations that undermine user-driven digital services and perpetuate internal government inefficiencies.

The GC EARB uses digital standards to oversee digital investments and solutions to ensure that all public sector organisations follow a whole-of-government approach to the digital transformation of the public sector. ICT projects at their conception phases are reviewed to ensure they are in line with the government’s digital standards and broader vision of the digital government strategy and policy. The GC EARB ensures that the government operates as one enterprise, sharing information and infrastructure, using common IT solutions, aligning initiatives, and providing direction on ICT investments to move together as one single co-ordinated and integrated organisation.

Furthermore, it develops new digital capabilities and innovation opportunities and identifies opportunities across the government to reuse solutions that support similar needs.

New Zealand

The Better Business Cases (BBC) represents a standardised method for public sector organisations in New Zealand to develop and present business cases. The BBC is based on the internationally known Five Case Model that guides public sector organisations to consider each main aspect of a solid investment proposal during the business case development process. The BBC therefore leads public sector organisations to assess the strategic fit of the potential investment, its economic implications, its commercial viability, its financial affordability, and its ability to be successfully managed and implemented.

The BBC is intended to safeguard against a lack of senior management engagement, and to ensure that a systemic approach regarding the project is taken, that external stakeholders are engaged and that other important elements that need to be included in investment projects are included. It guarantees that public sector organisations successfully implement their investment proposals in line with the government’s overall strategic vision and policies.

Source: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (2017), “Government of Canada Strategic Plan for Information Management and Information Technology 2017 to 2021”, (accessed on 15 February 2019); New Zealand Treasury (2018b), “Better Business Cases (BBC)”, (accessed on 15 February 2019); New Zealand Treasury (2018a), “BBC and the investment management life cycle”, (accessed on 15 February 2019); New Zealand Treasury (2018c), “The BBC Framework and the annual budget process”,

Argentina, like many OECD countries, also faces the challenge of involving stakeholders from outside of the public sector in the development of business cases for ICT projects. Doing so would bring further clarity on the expected benefits those projects would have for citizens. The involvement of external actors in the development of ONTI’s guidelines (e.g. such as the Cloud Framework Agreement, and the use of artificial intelligence in the public sector) sets a positive precedent in this regard.

For instance, in the United Kingdom, the HM Treasury’s Green Book provides guidance to public sector organisations on how to involve stakeholders in the formation of a business case,5 which, as a result, can help build a stronger evidenced-based case of the need for funding one specific project (OECD, 2014b). ONTI’s business case model currently does not contemplate such an approach.

ICT Procurement

It seems that beyond ONTI’s work, there is a clear lack of a comprehensive ICT procurement or commissioning strategy for the central government, which would scale up ONTI’s efforts from the project level to the policy level, and govern the whole ICT commissioning cycle, from ICT project design to procurement, evaluation and realisation of benefits for citizens. There is therefore a need, as also expressed by stakeholders during the OECD workshops, of implementing a unified and holistic vision in terms of the design, procurement, management and evaluation of ICT projects.

ONTI’s role starts at the project design and approval stage and stops once the dictamen is issued and the mandate related to the government public procurement system falls under the responsibility of the National Contracting Office (Oficina Nacional de Contrataciones, ONC). As such, the ONC is the main agency in charge of ensuring that the government’s procurement processes comply with national procurement regulations.

The ONC is also in charge of the management of the Argentinian public procurement platform COMPR.AR ( All public tenders (including for ICT projects) must be published on this public procurement platform. Yet, there is lack of causality tracking that allows ICT projects to be followed from the earlier conception stages to their procurement, management, monitoring and finalisation.

As of February 2019, ONTI and the ONC were exploring the possibility of further linking the two agencies’ processes (making the submission of ONTI’s certification a mandatory part of the procurement request file submitted to the ONC), but there is still room for improvement. For instance, the RTE and the RTC projects’ unique identifiers seem disconnected from those of the procurement platform, therefore making it impossible to track a project’s life cycle (from conception to finalisation) and of using standardised data to carry-out advanced data analytics to inform a more evidenced-based and data-driven decision-making process.

Results from the survey administered for the purpose of this review show that open tenders are the most frequently used method for the procurement of ICT goods and services among those organisations that provided a response to the survey (Figure 3.3). Further data indicate that open tenders are mostly focused on the development of capacities inside public sector organisations (e.g. in-house development of products), data analytics, and/or the design of mobile applications or off-the shelf solutions (OECD, 2018a).6

Yet, while as of March 2019, ONTI was in the process of developing a framework agreement in the context of the use of the cloud in the public sector, results from the survey also show the need for scaling up these efforts and following a government-as-one-client approach in regard to the commissioning of ICT products and services. The data indeed highlight wide differences between Argentina and more advanced OECD countries in terms of the use of framework agreements for the procurement of ICT goods and/or services.

Figure 3.3. Most frequently used procurement methods in Argentina: ICT goods and services
Number of institutions
Figure 3.3. Most frequently used procurement methods in Argentina: ICT goods and services

Note: Number of institutions providing an answer to the question: Please indicate to what extent your institution uses the below procurement methods to buy ICT goods/ICT services.

Source: OECD (2018a), “Digital Government Review of Argentina: Survey for Public Sector Organisations”.

For instance, evidence from the 2017 OECD Digital Government Review of Norway revealed the total opposite situation of that present in Argentina. In Norway, roughly 90% of public sector organisations reported the use of framework agreements for the acquisition of ICT products and services. Norwegian public sector organisations reported that direct purchases were rarely used (OECD, 2017a).

This challenge was also raised by stakeholders during the workshops organised by the OECD in July and December 2018, when actors from the public sector expressed the need of “identifying common digital resources and tools to follow a government-as-one-client approach for procurement”, and to “enable global procurement” through the use of framework agreements that benefit transversal projects.

Management of ICT projects

A lacks of clarity was also observed in terms of management, monitoring and control throughout the whole ICT project commissioning cycle (from ex ante approval to finalisation).

Argentina lacks of a standardised model for the management of ICT projects at the central government level (OECD, 2018a)7. There are several examples from OECD countries using a standardised management approach that could help the Argentinian government explore the potential adoption, adaptation and implementation of these tools to its specific national context in order to achieve efficiency and agility that are more coherent across the public sector. For instance, in Denmark, the Agency of Digitisation created the Cross-governmental ICT Project Model as an effort to harmonise how public sector organisations manage their ICT projects.8 The Danish model clearly connects all the stages of the whole ICT project life cycle (from the conceptualisation of the project to realisation of benefits), providing clear guidelines on the differences in terms of the requirements that should be fulfilled to move from one stage to the next, and the need of clarity in terms of responsibilities and roles. Other OECD countries such as Belgium, the Czech Republic and Ireland have instead adopted common project management approaches, such as the Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE/2) project management model (OECD, 2018d)(Box 3.3).

Box 3.3. The PRINCE2 Project Management Model

The Project in Controlled Environment (PRINCE2) is an international standardised model for ICT project management. It offers a structured methodology to manage a project with clear steps to follow, and well-defined roles and responsibilities for the different actors involved in the project. In order for projects to be successful, the PRINCE2 model establishes that they should be systematically planned, controlled, results-driven and measured. This in turn is intended to make it easy for project managers to oversee a project.

The model therefore offers a series of processes, each having key inputs and outputs, specific objectives, and activities in order to plan effectively. It also divides projects into different stages, assigning roles and responsibilities for each, in order to increase the efficiency of control and monitoring. Furthermore, as PRINCE2 is product-based, the focus of the project is by default on achieving certain specific results. Finally, projects using PRINCE2 are based on a business case which when being reviewed allows for the success and failures of the project to be measured.

Source: Calder, A. (n.d.), “IT project governance and PRINCE2 project management”, (accessed on 15 February 2019).

Following an agile approach: Towards ICT commissioning

The opportunity at this stage is not only related to the further adoption of ICT project management practices in the public sector, but in terms of avoiding adopting and/or duplicating practices that might become obsolete in the medium- or long term.

OECD countries are increasingly acknowledging that some of the existing ICT procurement management practices and methodologies (e.g. waterfall management) are becoming out of date as new delivery approaches (e.g. agile and DevOps) become the norm in this area. Indeed, during the OECD workshop organised in Buenos Aires in December 2018, stakeholders expressed the need for a “flexible procurement and management model” as an area of opportunity.

For instance, in the United States, the introduction of agile contract formats has enabled the US government to create simple, effective contracts that take advantage of post-award agile methods to procurement. This work, led by the US Technology Transformation Services’ Office of Acquisition, is focused on increasing the adoption of an agile contract format that changes the commissioning process approach from one that is clear of what suppliers are expected to do in regard to one specific project, instead of prescribing how they should do it (UK GDS, 2018). This gave the commissioning and post-award process greater simplicity, efficiency and agility by making sure a focus on delivery was adopted across the whole project commissioning and management process.9

Likewise, both New Zealand and the United Kingdom (Box 3.4) have adopted more flexible approaches in terms of supplier selection, establishing marketplaces that help suppliers apply to specific project calls easily, cutting costs across government and creating a more dynamic market environment (UK GDS, 2018).

Box 3.4. Building digital marketplaces in New Zealand and the United Kingdom

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the Digital Marketplace is a public portal allowing public sector organisations to find the right people and technology for a given digital project. Three different areas of agreement can be made between a public sector organisation and a supplier:

1. Cloud services: Around 20 000 cloud services are available on the Digital Marketplace through the G-Cloud Framework (such as cloud hosting, cloud software or cloud support).

2. Digital specialist services: More than 1 000 suppliers provide digital specialist services, such as digital outcomes (e.g. accessibility audit), digital specialists (e.g. product developers), user research studios or user research participants.

3. Data centre hosting services: A given supplier provides a data centre hosting to the government.

The technology developed for the UK's Digital Marketplace has been scaled up in the context of the UK's Global Digital Marketplace programme which aims to deploy UK's approach and technology across a range of partner nations around the world to help tackle global corruption. The Global Digital Marketplace Programme includes Argentina and Colombia.

New Zealand

Just as in the United Kingdom, the Marketplace allows public sector organisations in New Zealand to purchase a range of different digital capabilities in a more cost-effective, faster and easier manner. Each possible set of digital capability that can be purchased and consumed is called a “channel”. Currently, the first channel available for public sector organisations is for public cloud services. Agencies therefore have the choice between different types of cloud services and can select the one that best suits their needs

Sources: Based on OECD (2018c), Digital Government Review of Brazil: Towards the Digital Transformation of the Public Sector,; Government of New Zealand Internal Affairs (2019), “About the Marketplace”, (accessed on 18 February 2019).

The OECD Working Party of Senior Digital Government Officials (E-leaders) is working with OECD countries to explore new ways of commissioning and managing ICT projects in line with the latest developments across OECD countries in this domain. The goal is to equip governments with procurement practices more in line with the needs and trends of the digital age.

For this purpose, the OECD partnered with the UK Government Digital Service to produce the ICT Commissioning Playbook in the context of the E-Leaders Thematic Group on ICT Commissioning. The Playbook provides a set of actionable guidelines (known as plays) that countries can follow to move from traditional procurement methods to the commissioning and management of ICT projects, drawing upon relevant practices across OECD countries (Box 3.5).

Box 3.5. The 11 plays of the ICT Commissioning Playbook

To help public sector organisations transition to more agile procurement processes, the ICT Commissioning Playbook offers a set of 11 actionable guidelines:

1. Set the context: Public sector organisations are advised to define the problem to be solved before designing the solution. This means they should understand that procurement processes are part of a larger context and identify what it is intended to achieve in the long run. The possible outcomes of the procurement process should then be defined and should also be measurable. Finally, public sector organisations should engage external stakeholders in setting the context for the procurement and remain open to change if necessary.

2. Start by understanding user needs: Public sector organisations should aim to embed user-centred, design-led and data-driven approaches in the public procurement process. This could be done by creating multidisciplinary teams, gathering information about their users and their needs, co-designing for the public service to be delivered, and iterating the procurement process and contract as often as possible.

3. Design procurements and contracts that meet users’ needs: In a similar line to Action 2, public sector organisations should take a user-centred, design-led and data-driven approach to meeting the needs it identifies. They should, for example, discuss different ways of working and successfully delivering a programme or project, promote speed and simplicity, use data to identify potential gaps, as well as establish a procurement strategy.

4. Be agile, iterative and incremental: Public sector organisations should aim for agile procurement in order to fulfil required outcomes and maintain core principles of fairness, openness and transparency. They could use agile methodologies and approaches to manage the procurement process and apply agile principles at each stage of the procurement process.

5. Work as a multidisciplinary team: To design user-driven procurement processes and contracts, public sector organisations should form multidisciplinary teams with a set of different capabilities. Teams should ideally include procurement and commercial capabilities as well as user-centred service design and agile delivery capabilities, from the beginning of the commissioning process.

6. Make things open: Public sector organisations should keep the public procurement process open in order to promote collaboration. Open standards, open source software and open approaches could be adopted as means to promote collaboration.

7. Build trusting and collaborative relationships, internally and externally: To promote co-design in government policies and strategies, public sector organisations should have an open and constant dialogue with suppliers and industry groups. This could be done by working collaboratively across the government, promoting early involvement in commissioning and delivery conversations, or using a strategic framework to manage supplier relationships.

8. Share what you have with others and reuse what others have: Public sector organisations should recognise and encourage the power of “GovTech” by encouraging them to share and reuse good practices through centres of excellence for specific domains. GovTech can also be promoted by setting intellectual property rights for suppliers creating a solution so as to then encourage them to innovate or by investing in international relationships with other jurisdictions to share innovative approaches and models.

9. Move from specifying solutions to defining outcomes: Public sector organisations should recognise that technology capability is created and delivered in a completely different way in today’s digital landscape. They could consider adopting strategies to outsource commodity ICT capabilities and public cloud business services or to create open market models and moderate these with strong feedback and analytics.

10. Public procurement for public good: Governments could use their size and purchasing power to promote positive social outcomes by, for example, adapting their processes to increase accessibility and creating more opportunities for socially or economically disadvantaged groups.

11. Operate and deliver: Buyers should create a shared understanding with suppliers so that the focus and real work is on meeting the expected outcomes. This will require that public sector organisations: recognise that the real test and success of a procurement comes after the contract award, focus on intent and outcomes in contract wording and conversations; create a procurement scorecard that drives a focus on best value over best price.

Sources: Based on UK Government Digital Service and OECD (n.d.), “About the playbook”, (accessed on 18 February 2019).

Control and evaluation of ICT project expenditures

The absence of a holistic strategy on ICT procurement (or commissioning) also has an impact on how ICT projects are controlled and how results are assessed, if done, by the relevant bodies. ONTI’s efforts aimed to implement a focus on the sustainability and life cycle of ICT projects, but there is no clear evidence that there are relevant accountability mechanisms in place to control project development and evaluate expectations vs. real results in an iterative fashion.

In general terms, evaluation of projects can take place at the ministerial level of the unit (unidad ministro) or in the framework of the activities of the National Audit Office (Auditoría General de la Nación). However, this does not seem to be the common practice in terms of ICT projects. Also, the SGM does not have a specific role in terms of project evaluation, and no other agency has the mandate of monitoring the benefits and impact of ICT projects (OECD, 2018b).

Argentina needs to explore and decide on the level of central control that is needed to ensure the accountability of ICT projects at the operational level and the contribution of those to the overall digital agenda in the country. At this stage, it is necessary to differentiate between minor-scale ICT commissioning projects and those of more strategic value; the level of central control and monitoring could differ from one the other. However, control and alignment with the broader digital government policy is required in both cases.

The Argentinian government could learn from the experience of OECD countries in this regard. For instance, in Israel, public sector organisations are expected to fill a specific reporting format to inform the head of the ICT Office on the status of ICT projects. In Portugal, the Reporte TIC online platform10 is used by public sector organisations to report on the level of development of digital initiatives in line with the operationalisation of the ICT strategy.

In Norway, the funding model and source of ICT projects is also a factor defining the reporting mechanism. For those projects that have received funding as part of the regular budgetary cycle, reporting is made through the relevant budget report. However, for those projects receiving funds from the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency, monitoring and reporting are done using the agency’s Project Wizard tools and guidelines.11 The use of conditioned funding gave the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency greater auditing control over ICT projects, making public sector organisations accountable for their results and bringing greater coherence in terms of the overall value of these projects for the digitalisation of the public sector.

In the United Kingdom, the Infrastructure Projects Authority monitors those ICT projects that are in the Government Major Projects Portfolio. Projects fall under this description in line with their contribution to four categories, including two specific categories clearly linked to digital government efforts12 (UK IPA, 2018):

  1. 1. transformation and service delivery: “Projects help improve the relationship between citizen and state, harness new technology to improve public services and make government more efficient”

  2. 2. information and communications technology: “Projects […] for achieving cost savings and efficiency […]. Many of the ICT projects on the portfolio enable the transition from old, legacy contracts to new ICT provisions”.

In Argentina, the SGM, through the relevant sub-body, could also fulfil an important role monitoring and evaluating project performance and helping to allocate ICT budgets for each ministry strategically, which is a point raised by central government respondents to the OECD survey. In the near future, the role of the SGM as an advisory entity could be largely untapped. The value that can be generated by positioning the SGM in such a role will grow as it formalises government-wide strategies that can serve as the criteria and guiding force by which its advisory decisions are based; and in line with OECD good practices, thresholds could be set requiring the SGM’s approval.

ICT project monitoring and evaluation at all scales should be a priority, particularly in light of the overall open government and anti-corruption agenda for the country and the need to strengthen a public sector measurement, performance and delivery culture in the long term. The UK has for instance prioritised the modernisation of its procurement process to embed in the entire commissioning open government principles.

References (2018), “Decálogo Tecnológico”, (accessed on 14 February 2019).

Calder, A. (n.d.), “IT project governance and PRINCE2 project management”, Project Smart, (accessed on 15 February 2019).

Government of New Zealand Internal Affairs (2019), “About the Marketplace”, webpage, (accessed on 18 February 2019).

New Zealand Treasury (2018a), “BBC and the investment management life cycle”, (accessed on 15 February 2019).

New Zealand Treasury (2018b), “Better Business Cases (BBC)”, (accessed on 15 February 2019).

New Zealand Treasury (2018c), “The BBC Framework and the annual budget process”, (accessed on 15 February 2019).

OECD (2018a), “Digital Government Review of Argentina: Survey for Public Sector Organisations”, OECD, Paris.

OECD (2018b), “Digital Government Review of Argentina: Survey for the Policy Co-ordination Body”, OECD, Paris.

OECD (2018c), Digital Government Review of Brazil: Towards the Digital Transformation of the Public Sector, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2018d), “Digital Government Survey 1.0”, OECD, Paris.

OECD (2017a), Digital Government Review of Norway: Boosting the Digital Transformation of the Public Sector, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2017b), OECD Economic Surveys: Argentina 2017: Multi-dimensional Economic Survey, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2017c), Public Procurement in Chile: Policy Options for Efficient and Inclusive Framework Agreements, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2014a), Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies, OECD, Paris,

OECD (2014b), “Survey on Digital Government Performance”, OECD, Paris.

Smith, W. (2018), “ICT commissioning for improved citizen-driven service delivery”, presentation at the OECD Working Party of Senior Digital Government Offiicials.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (2017), “Government of Canada Strategic Plan for Information Management and Information Technology 2017 to 2021”, (accessed on 15 February 2019).

UK GDS (2018), The ICT Commissioning Playbook, Government Digital Service, London, (accessed on 11 February 2019).

UK Government Digital Service & OECD (n.d.), “About the playbook”, (accessed on 18 February 2019).

UK IPA (2018), “Annual report on major projects 2017-18”, Infrastructure and Projects Authority, London, (accessed on 11 February 2019).


← 1. For more information see:

← 2. For more information see:

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← 6. Question 39: Please indicate which of the following procurement methods have been used by your institution to acquire the following specific ICT services?

← 7. Question 40: Does a standardised model exist for ICT project management at the central/federal government level?

← 8. For more information see:

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← 10.

← 11. For more information see: and

← 12. Additional categories include military capability, and infrastructure and construction.

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