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.
What a day so far, excellent morning and working lunch session with Tim Davies, who is helping and support us with a youth participation project using social networking sites.
I made a list of notes and questions which i need to digest and either ask more questions and or reflect about via this blog. Feel free to comment on any of these..
Notes and Questions
We need to position this as a learning experiment instead of promoting with big fan fare!
Whole process feels like we have reinvented the phone? We are asking ourselves what do we do with it?
Do we need a social networking strategy in Devon? Is this part of a wider consultation and engagement strategy? Has anyone included SNS as part of consultation and engagement activity and strategies?
Increase Information and knowledge about social networking sites – what can people really do in them other than network.
– Campaigns, events and communications. What can they offer people outside of just “chat”.
Opportunities for increasing knowledge and access to a wide range of support and activity based information.
Geography and remoteness presents opportunities to engage through new methods of contact.
Channel Management strategies play a key role in developing and supporting the framework for engagement and participation.
Thinkuknow.co.ukgreat website for young people – learn how to stay safe online.
Is social networking the death of email?
Ustream.tv- personal streaming of video can provide a new opportunity to engage via small scale vox pop.
There is a 4th social networking space called hi5
What does good youth work look like in SNS
Tim gave a great short presentation for members and colleagues on the basics and research findings. I found the following useful for focusing teh mind in terms of of how we approach young people in this space
What are young people doing in SN sites
Keeping in contact
Making new contacts
Opportunities for youth work
Promotion and recruitment
Keeping in contact
Engagement and participation
Sharing media from events and groups
One area that people find difficult to get their head around is privacy and what it means. Safety online and new methods of engagement etc.
I found this video on you tube which is great at showing how the web has evolved and how we as users are driving that change and it poses some interesting questions around how we think about privacy, information and ethics etc. It is about 5 minutes, so if you have time watch NOW
I have also be invited to evaluate Alfresco and Sharepoint from a Enterprise Content Management perspective. If you have views in this area do get in touch or sign post me to others