Government seeks cost reduction through Open Standards

With the Government's annual IT spend in the region of £20bn per year, a significant opportunity exists to reduce spending and create savings through encouraging innovations and enhancing the UK's IT skill-set. However, the long-term programme of reform is not just to deliver savings, but also to improve the quality and efficiency of Government ICT, with Open Standards and Open Source Software playing a major role in this objective.What are Open Standards and Open Source Software?
An Open Standard is immune to vendor capture at all stages in its life cycle, making it possible to freely use, improve and trust. Methods for creating Open Standards are publicly disclosed and freely available, creating a choice for users by enabling competing suppliers to build solutions to deliver the same outcome. Open Source Software supports Open Standards as the code can be viewed and inspected freely, which prevents a single supplier from 'forcing' a bespoke standard and locking users to a particular vendor.
Published on 30th March 2011, the Government ICT Strategy placed firm commitment with the Government to creating a ‘common and secure IT infrastructure based on a suite of compulsory Open Standards, adopting Open Standards wherever possible’. The Open Standards Consultation seeks to define the term ‘Open Standard’ in the context of Government IT, as well as determine the meaning of mandation and the effects compulsory standards may have on Government departments, delivery partners and supply chains. It will also assess the potential impact on international alignment and cross-border interoperability.
A level playing field ensured by Open Standards
Many software integrators understand the importance of a level playing field as well as the advantages of Open Standards. However, there remains a question on Open Source integration;

'Why has the Government decided to support Open Standards and Open Source and potentially move away from proprietary systems?'
The reasons are incredibly simple; to cut costs; deliver more agile, robust software systems, remove expensive vendor lock-in, and enjoy increased reliability and functionality from its IT.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude commented on previously disparate purchasing habits of Government departments, which resulted in ‘hundreds of small, separate platforms operating across a landscape of disconnected, self-contained departments’.
By adopting a new, more unified approach to procurement, and utilising Open Standards to ensure interoperability between departments’ software systems, applications and data, the Government will be able to work more effectively, collaborating and sharing information, and delivering better public services for less.
Advice, implement and support for Open Source
Use of Open Source and Open Standards will ensure value-driven services, as well as maximising the cost efficiency of solutions delivered.
Established in 1999, OpusVL has become one of the UK’s leading Open Source and ICT business systems specialists, renowned for delivering best of breed, strategic solutions based on Open Standards to clients in both public and private sectors, as well as customers who span international boundaries. The company’s key strength is its straightforward approach, which is achieved by following a simple, yet effective method for every project: advice, implement, support, using agile and innovative approaches.
Open Source specialists such as OpusVL have been busy creating real solutions to deliver value-driven cost savings, efficiency and high reliability IT systems specific to business requirements. Open Source products are infinitely customisable, enabling clients to experience evolutionary, not revolutionary transitions. Benefits of OpusVL’s business solutions include high returns on investment, agile, robust software systems, increased reliability and functionality and as solutions are built using proven Open Source Software, unrestricted by expensive vendor lock-ins or licenses.
Our expertise in Open Source and ICT business systems
OpusVL has a long and proud history in the technology industry, delivering some of the largest Open Source projects within their categories; the company developed one of the UK’s earliest successful E-commerce system, which processed up to £1m orders per month in the early 90's; created the first automated online management system for a national, non-expiring voucher scheme; and delivered one of the UK’s largest Open ERP integrations into the automotive industry. More recently, we have engaged with Local Government and Education sectors.
In 2011, OpusVL was also invited by the Cabinet Office to advise on Open Source implementation; MD Stuart Mackintosh is an active member of the OFE PSG working with the Cabinet and Home Office, as well as a member of the OSC, providing strategic input to support growth.
Supported by a team of over 20 talented, creative developers, technical architects and project managers, clients benefit from OpusVL’s astute acumen in all commercial aspects of software, ICT, implementation and maintenance. Numerous systems have been developed that are only now being widely used in the marketplace, including visitor analytics, journey logging, meta data searching, card payment integration, high performance/high availability systems and virtualisation technology.
For more information
Call the UK’s leading Open Source specialists – OpusVL on 01788 298 450 for a free consultation.
www.opusvl.com