In this work the authors present the results of a survey regarding public e-procurement in Italy. The Italian Government has been starting to drive the introduction of e-procurement practices in the public sector since the end of the twentieth century. Its aim was especially to rationalise the public spending by the benefits offered by e-procurement, that is: more competition between the suppliers, more transparency in carrying on the tenders and auctions, lower prices thanks to higher volumes, speeding up of purchasing process. To quickly reach these goals, the Government opted for a centralised solutions. At that time, it was the best one to support the implementation of a new technology and to reach synergies and scale economies. In a second and more mature phase, the Government decided to encourage a delocalisation of public e-procurement, especially involving the twenty Italian Regions to implement their own e-procurement platform. The aim was to pursue not only quantitative benefits, but also qualitative ones, especially regarding a better alignment between the amount and nature of public spending and the real needs of citizens. The second phase is in progress yet, but surveying the actual implementation of e-procurement all over the twenty Italian Regions some results are already evident. The authors use their research on the Italian case to explore potentials and benefits, barriers and difficulties of public e-procurement implementation in complex administrative organisations, such as the Italian State, with very high level of public spending. Empirical evidences and lessons learned are explored, to define a comprehensive interpretative model of e-procurement in the public sector.
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