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A couple of months ago I was looking at a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) issued by a London Borough. It contained something that I had not seen before – a mandatory requirement for two references to be sent directly to the authority, by the referees, as part of the PQQ  submission. Failure to persuade a customer to do this meant automatic exclusion for the potential supplier from any further participation. I assumed that the buyer had experienced a brainstorm but then it happened again with a different local authority from a different part of the country.

In October 2008, some colleagues and I were in Brussels for a European Commission/PEPPOL session. Halfway through the morning we called our office travel agents and asked if they could book us onto earlier flights home and left. During the morning session I wrote in my diary “trying to decide between slitting my wrists or hurling myself from the window. One of the most dispiriting experiences of my life is sitting here listening to policy officers and IT staff talking rubbish and reinventing the wheel. Do our taxes pay for this nonsense? Yes they do”. Two things reminded me of this recently: the first was reading a PEPPOL Business Interoperability Specification (BIS 28A  – Ordering) which was out for review; the second was the reaction when the Draft Directive on eInvoicing managed to omit any mention of PEPPOL.

Crossflow Payments has made two senior appointments in as many weeks. They have just announced that Jack Perschke has joined the company as Commercial Director. Jack brings significant experience of complex commercial-led change from both his past roles with Ernst and Young's advisory practice and his own commercial strategy business.  He also has extensive government and IT experience having worked with The Cabinet Office, The Ministry of Justice, Passport UK, The Government Procurement Service and The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The nature of business process outsourcing has evolved and changed. In the past, it was simply about reducing cost - shipping jobs abroad where skills were cheaper. And while that rather unsophisticated body shopping model is not yet entirely a thing of the past, it is unlikely to feature significantly in the future because alternative, better business models have emerged and matured that do much more than reduce the operational cost for business. They allow business to make a quantum leap to best practice.

The term minimalism is also used to describe a trend in design and architecture where in the subject is reduced to its necessary elements. Minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture. In addition, the work of De Stijl artists is...

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