IT chiefs must learn to share

12 Nov 2010

Although cost cutting is not a cause for celebration, it can deliver unexpected opportunities to bring about new methods and ideas for how things can be done. In terms of IT, the government needs to embrace innovative and effective models that are currently being used in the public sector, especially shared services and forays into cloud and using software-as-a-service (Chancellor puts IT at the heart of his spending review).

Sharing critical business and IT services has been proven to cut costs, reduce errors and improve productivity, yet the issue is that most public sector organisations’ core competencies do not lie in delivering IT services. For a progressive government this is an obvious opportunity to use these models more and increase understanding of them through pushing the concept of joint partnerships with established service providers.

New IT service delivery models, such as shared services, have the potential to enable huge costs savings across the public sector. This has been evidenced through the success of joint business ventures such as NHS SBS, where over 130 primary care trusts use a common set of finance, accounting and payroll services that are fully automated. Relinquishing the daily operations and maintenance overheads of managing individual IT systems has enabled each of these trusts to realise significant cost reductions as well as offer a better quality of service to society.

Craig Beddis, UC4 Software

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Reader comments

Ultimate lock-in risk

Sharing is fine, sharing is good. But sharing specific software is high-risk, high-cost and probably a strong lock-in option, decreasing flexibility and innovation. The public sector sharing should be about reducing cost in the long term, increasing flexibility and innovation and eliminating lock-in.

So public sector can share cross-platform IaaS for positive sharing, but application sharing should be about instances of the applications, or the sharing of applications that have been developed with public money or adapted from existing ones.

Posted by: Chris Puttick  20 Nov 2010