Re: Crystal ball mode=on
"Theory = buying in bulk gets discounts, by pooling all our buying we will get massive discounts"
And a crap theory it is too. Big IT services contracts are let very infrequently by the buyers. For IBM, HP, Capita, bidding is all in a days work - well, almost. Their sales teams, lawyers, and commercial people do this so regularly that they know all the pitfalls (to prepare for the unwary client), they know the terms that will or won't stand up in court, they know how to lead a client on in the incorrect belief that the vendor will work for the client's benefit. And so on. Meanwhile, like rabbits in the headlights, the buy-side management swallow all the marketing pap, lean on their over-stretched IT procurement bods, and then wonder three years later where all the savings went.
And clubbing together to get some extra scale doesn't even change that asymmetry of experience - if anything it means there's less buy-side experience to go round, without materially altering the scale of the market for vendors.
This works in any specialised market, from airliners to power stations, and the only buyers who stand a chance are the ones who have sufficient experience and sufficient work to keep them going. Sadly there's few IT buyers who can say that - even if you've got a 100,000 employee business.