Putting Open Source Into Practice to Create Value in Limerick City & County Concils


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On overview of the Open Source implementation in Limerick City & County Councils. It show the range of technologies implemented to provide better ICT services while reducing costs and avoiding vendor lock-in.

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Putting Open Source Into Practice to Create Value in Limerick City & County Concils

  1. 1. 1 Limerick City & County Councils CASE STUDY: Putting Open Source Into Practice to Create Value Dr. Mihai Bilauca Beatrice Heneghan
  2. 2. 2 Introduction ● Today we share our experience on taking a different approach ● Not “selling” a particular technology ● Open mind to new ways of service delivery creates value – An open mind implies an acknowledgement of best solutions whether through proprietary or open source technologies – Open Standards are key ● Genesis to Open Source (OS) project in Limerick – Embrace change to break dependencies – The importance of leadership – Lessons Learned & Value Created
  3. 3. 3 Context ● Leadership instrumental in solving a problem – Prompted by the cost of Enterprise Agreement – Concerns about “where next?” – We needed alternatives (options) so we can negotiate – Long-term value of existing arrangements a concern ● Vision to see the potential beyond the immediate gain – Freedom to Collaborate & Exchange data – Freedom to Migrate to other platforms – A trained workforce is a more efficient workforce – Create demand for local suppliers and SME
  4. 4. 4 Context An “oblique” approach – “goals often best achieved indirectly” 1 – Sometimes go backwards to go forward – Business needs always paramount ● OS Project started small – expanded to a larger context – ... then an even larger context, – .... on to national engagement 1 Source: Obliquity, John Kay, 2010
  5. 5. 5 Free Software ● “Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. ● The freedom to run the program, for any purpose ● Open Source - Access to the source code – The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish. – The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour. – The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. – The whole community benefits from your changes.
  6. 6. 6 Open Source Software is used by ● Large Corporations – Google, Facebook, Yahoo, You Tube,Wikipedia, CERN, New York Stock Exchange,London Stock Exchange ● Government – White House USA, City of Munich Germany, Ministry of Finance and Public Administrations and City of Zaragoza in Spain, Commonwealth of Massachusetts USA, Various Departments in French Government, South American governments, etc. ● YOU, every day!
  7. 7. 7 Software adoption ● Linux on – 64 % of servers on the web (W3Techs survey in August 2011 checked the top 1 million Web servers) – 43% of Smart Phones ● Desktop OS – 90% MS Windows – 5% Apple – 5% Linux (Various sources)
  8. 8. 8 Proprietary Software The owner of proprietary software exercises certain exclusive rights over the software. ● Restricts use ● Inspection of source code is prohibited ● Prohibit users from sharing without permission ● Proprietary file formats and protocols ● Proprietary APIs ● Vendor lock-in ● Cost ● Responsibility perceived to be with supplier ● Focus on shareholder value not innovation
  9. 9. 9 Technical Context ● 9 main business areas: Roads, Water, Planning, Environment, Finance, Social Housing, Fire Station, Emergency Control Centre, Arts& Culture (Public Libraries, City Gallery of Art, Museums) ● Windows Network with AD and proprietary software ● A team of 6 to support Desktop, Server and Communications services ● 900 Desktops in 11 main sites ● Positioned to support the merging Limerick local authorities: pop. 190,000; staff 1,100
  10. 10. 10 Solutions ● Collaboration/Communication/Consultation – Office productivity – CRM – Web publication – Document and records management – Back office: proxy, web filtering, virtualization
  11. 11. 11
  12. 12. 12 Outcomes ● Office productivity – Libre Office – Zarafa mail solution ● CRM: SugarCRM ● Document/Records Management: Alfresco ● Web: Drupal, Collective Access ● GIS: QuantumGIS, GeoServer, OpenLayers ● Database: MySQL and PostgreSQL ● Desktop: Ubuntu, Virtual Box, Thunderbird ● Seamless integration ● Synergistic gains – for Local Authority Merger
  13. 13. 13 Implementation method ● Identified the strategic move : we need (software) options! ● Senior Management Support (essential) ● Phased deployment: Senior Management First! ● Communications with staff : buy in is key ● Improvement project; cost savings are a by-product ● Use dual systems in initial phase ● Training for staff and IT support ● Co-ordinate software replacement with hardware upgrades: new pc → new software ● Continuous support for staff
  14. 14. 14 Value created? ● New or improved services (extranet, support for mobile devices) ● Cost Savings (hundreds of K now and long term) ● Staff now proficient in Document Processing, Spreadsheets, Presentations, collaboration ● IT staff are now competent in Computer Systems as well as being competent in Windows ● National co-operation between LAs ● Support for Local SMEs ● Cohesion with national policy: “Putting People First”
  15. 15. 15 Lessons Learned ● OSS is free to install but costs to support and modify ● Support of Management crucial ● “Moving away costs” should be included in the selection of any technology (lifespan) ● Stay with Community Editions of software ● Select OSS products supported by a large community ● OSS attracts more OSS: standard open interfaces attracts a high level of integration ● Existing operating models need to catch up with the power inherent in OSS ● Misconceptions have not been confirmed
  16. 16. 16 Our strategy ● Open Minds ● Drive Change ● Up-skill staff to become more efficient ● Move away from monopolies ● Position ourselves to have choice ● Be realistic when selecting solutions ● Avoid long term commitments to costs we can't control
  17. 17. 17 Summary ● Keep an open mind – Move beyond the status quo – More than a technology project – Open standards are key ● Not a competition but a search for excellence regardless of technology or platform ● OSS helps standardization of processes ● OSS supports SME and local service providers
  18. 18. 18 Other sources of information ● http://opensource.com/government ● http://joinup.ec.europa.eu