I suspect many authorities are looking at how they can cut back on the costs of delivering ICT and i suspect that solutions like Google Apps, Open Office and Alfresco are likely to be quite high up on some peoples lists as viable alternatives.
The challenge however is to actually demonstrate that over the lifetime of the solution the costs are lower than your existing solution or upgrade path.
It isn’t as straight forward as simply saying we can reduce our costs by moving from Microsoft and MS Office to Google Apps, and others as we still have legacy systems that require a Microsoft environment or an element of the wider Microsoft suite to operate.
In local government we have some critical business applications that would fit into this bucket and we could only really start to make an impact on the suppliers if along with other local authorities we started to approach them collectively about developing an integration module for Open Office or Google Apps or whatever was required to allow a greater freedom and increased flexibility within our wider infrastructure. Over time of course we need to start buying software that truly adheres to open standards and are compliant with eGIF. (eGovernment Interoperability Framework). But that is a journey and will not happen over night.
We perhaps need organisations like Socitm to starting taking a more proactive lead in facilitating Public Sector Agencies to explore and help cost out the transition from one environment to another. I suspect this is a Consulting Service from Socitm, but it almost needs to be more widely available and in partnership across regions or types of council to start to offer value.
So what are you and your organisation doing to reduce costs in ICT? I am keen to hear about stories and case studies from other organisations (public sector would be great) who have made radical changes in their infrastructure and realised cost savings and had positive feedback from within the business.