IT leaders need to be aware of hidden costs, which can account for as much as 85 per cent of the financial outlay with certain products over time.
That's according to Max Faun, head of European Consulting at cloud identity and access management specialists Okta.
Speaking at Computing's recent Deskflix event on Public Sector, Faun likened this model to an iceberg, with most of its bulk largely hidden beneath the sea.
"We all have to remember the iceberg of IT costs," said Faun. "You have 15 per cent which is the purchase price costs above the water. The other 85 per cent is hidden costs. Those are the actual costs including deployment, infrastructure, availability, maintenance and integration costs. All of that needs to be considered up front."
He continued: "How complete is the product? How much automation will it drive? What people will I need to run it and how hard are they to get hold of?
"You need to judge that effort in terms of low code, pro code or all code as a scale. True low code SaaS flips the iceberg onto its head, almost all costs are above the water line and not hidden. So it looks expensive but always far cheaper."
Faun argued that the perception of the public sector as a place where few genuinely want to work, and which struggles with a slow pace of technology adoption, is untrue.
"The wider world has a very positive view of the UK public sector, and people here proud of it. Competition is high for public sector jobs. People may characterise the tech as slow, lagging behind the private sector and plagued by lack of digitsation, cost issues and inefficiency.
"But that is wrong, it's a mixed bag just like the private sector."
Faun explained that in the main, problems with technology come down to friction. If a system is cumbersome or difficult to use, people will find a way around it.
"There's a government department who use Whatsapp internally to communicate with one another. They have a different messaging system they're supposed to use, but it wasn't needed, and is harder to use. Put inefficient tech in front of people and they'll find a way past it."
He also gave the example of an IT leader from a large NHS Trust he spoke to, who was unaware of the benefits of single sign-on (SSO).
"I talked to a senior person from a large NHS Trust. He asked for advice on his IT challenge, which involved staff needing to log into multiple systems, multiple times per day, resulting in lots and lots of log ins. He didn't realise this could all be done once per person, it's not new technology.
"The NHS has 1.5 million employees. Say they each access 10 applications per month, and log on to each separately with their credentials. And let's say there's no self-service password reset. On average a user resets every credential once per year. Say that's a 15 minute phone call.
"That's 3.8 million hours of IT time on the phone, with a £100m cost in wages. And the lost productivity of users is another £100m. SSO wouldn't cost you one per cent of that."
The entire Public Sector Deskflix virtual conference is now available to view on demand here.
The next Deskflix event will be on Cloud and Infrastructure Operations, held virtually on the 9th September.
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