Less than one in 10 large Management Information System (MIS) projects succeeds. While the procurement process is not the only factor known to contribute to this high failure rate, it has been consistently identified as a source of difficulty. Knowing that procurement contributes to difficulty, however, is not useful if the reason it does so is not also known. This article analyzes procurement's contribution to failure, and describes the reforms needed to improve opportunities for success. The problem stems from the wide use of tender theory procurement (competitive bidding), and the invalid assumption that a specification can provide the basis for making value-oriented MIS buying decisions. In addition, tender theory procurement interacts with the MIS project environment to create an ethical hazard that makes it almost impossible to succeed. The reforms needed to overcome these problems are substantial. They require that tender theory be set aside and replaced by partnering-oriented procurement methods.
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