Public sector ICT: is the age of the dinosaurs over?

dinoThe Government has just published its new ICT strategy – its plans for central government ICT over the next two years.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there, including new thinking (for the government at least) on cloud computing.

But the part that caught our eye was the section on procurement and open standards.

In a nutshell, government procurement processes are so byzantine and the projects they implement so large that contracts inevitably go to a very small group of multinational IT giants.

There are two problems with this:

  • those giants can pick their own – ridiculously high – costs
  • they frequently do an appalling job

Which all means that for ICT suppliers like ourselves, we are constantly banging on a closed door. Not upset for us? Ok, well for you it means you fork out millions of pounds more than you need to in tax to pay for often inefficient, proprietary ICT systems.

So, as part of its drive to improve public sector efficiency the government is now saying that open standards (non-proprietary) software is the way to go, and that big projects (over £100m) should be split down into smaller pieces and worked on by more than one company.

Which should hopefully mean, more opportunities for small, efficient ICT companies and less waste.

We’ll watch this space with interest – and in the hope that this very laudable policy is extended into local government as well, where the issue of lumbering ICT giants with very small brains and even smaller turning circles is just as bad. Roll on the meteorite!

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