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Open Source in Government / Graham Taylor


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Open Source is now in day to day use in Governments across Europe – some with great success, but others are still using it to a degree well below its opportunity level. But why is this? Is it because of lack of understanding or trust, is it because of lack of political will or leadership, is it because it is just too difficult because of past technical decisions? Or all of these?

Are the blockers to progress technical, financial or political? Or all of these?

A new report to be published by the London School of Economics for the UK Government, and which will be previewed during the talk, examines the TCO of Open Source for Government, but also examines the wider drivers and opportunities. Maybe here are the clues on just how we can increase the momentum for its use across Government.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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Open Source in Government / Graham Taylor

  1. 1. Open Source in GovernmentGraham TaylorCEO, OpenForum Europe
  2. 2. European Government is Failing toEffectively Utilise OSS........ But why?........ And what can we do about it?
  3. 3. Some Relevant Facts● European Public Procurement is worth €2200 B, representing 19.4% GDP● ICT accounted for approx €600Billion● Software and Services approx €400Billion● Approx 18% can be monitored via OJEU procedure● Actual OSS value ?????● 13% still illegally include trade marks/product names● Use of negotiated procedures on increase
  4. 4. Governments are adopting a level playing field strategy......● Even the UK........... “Where appropriate, government will procure open source solutions. When used in conjunction with compulsory open standards, open source presents significant opportunities for the design and delivery of interoperable solutions. "● But the Strategy is not yet being turned into Practice● This is not due to lack of Political will● And it is European wide● Albeit with notable exceptions● BUT WHY?
  5. 5. Why Strategy Doesnt Equal Practice - Results of an OFE Analysis● Culture● Legacy Contracts● Financial Targets● Perceived Risks and Myths● Network Effects● Inertia● Audit plus● The SME Effect● Skills?● Understanding of TCO
  6. 6. Cost is an Issue for all Governments, but not all are convinced it is part of the solution● OFE and the UKG Cabinet Office jointly sponsored LSE Research● Nothing revolutionary in results but drove some interesting conclusions● Research to be published shortly● So this is only an appetiser!● Total Cost of Ownership● Interviews were with existing users of OSS● Only 23% can used a formal TCO assessment● So results had to identify where benefits made 
  7. 7. Organisations Indicated that.....
  8. 8. Building our Cost Categories
  9. 9. Ease of Estimation?
  10. 10. Software Life CycleSoftware Specific:Search Cost of up-front evaluation study   Cost of up-front proof of concept implementation  Acquisition Cost of Software   Cost of Customisation for business needs   Cost of Integration (to current platform)  Integration Cost of Migration (data and users)   Cost of Training   Cost of Process and Best Practice change  Use Cost of Support services - in house   Cost of Support services - contracted   Cost of Maintenance and Upgrades   Software scaling (for change in user or transaction volumes)  Retire Exit costs (in relation to hardware and software)   Exit costs (in relation to changeover, re-training)  
  11. 11. Software-related Benefits of OSS Adoption- OSS helps the organization to better manage risk during the selection process – procurement decisions do not need to be made in one action, but instead can be ‘worked up to’- Useful negotiation tool in making deals with proprietary vendors- Builds a stronger, and more expert local IT/IS industry by encouraging regional developers, SMEs- Migration costs between OSS products is lower as OSS is often based on open standards
  12. 12. Broader Benefits of OSS Adoption- Greater flexibility, freedom and control over the code- Reliability, transparency and greater security of code – many countries are using OSS to create, and hold details of their national ID cards- Building of in-house expertise and skills – making you less reliant on external support- Allows pooling of resources, expertise and code for reuse, customization, and change
  13. 13. Organizational BenefitsOrganization Specific:Strategic lever Open source software has been used as a cheaper option to help stimulate competition.Dependence Open source helps prevent against upgrade lock-in by a particular vendor.Empowerment Open source software encourages empowerment and the ability to change software as needed through access to the source code and reliance on open standards.Innovation driver Open source can inspire and drive innovation because it is accessible to view and change – but at the same time, it creates an atmosphere conducive to making mistakes and learning from them.
  14. 14. Benefits through Creation of an EcosystemSoftware Eco-System Specific:Platform co-creation Open source software can be pooled, shared and built upon to create a platform which encourages reuse and co-creation.Collaborative competition The adoption of open source software helps to nurture the local IT industry by levelling the playing field, and encourage collaborative competition.Building in-house expertise Open source software can help to empower the organisation and help develop in-house expertise through access to a knowledgeable community, source code, and an environment which implies sharing and reciprocity.Principle of mutuality The use, adoption and development of open source software can create experts which can then be used as a shared resource across local authorities and central government.
  15. 15. What is holding your organisation back from using open source?OS related issuesUnderstanding Licences and license complianceAvailability of specific appsSome OSS is very immature, inferior user interfacesSometimes proprietary alternatives are simply betterFeature completeness[Lack of a] community backing the open source projectProduct related issuesPoor coverage in ERP arena ; Lack of availability of open source software for our industryIncomplete implementations; Not working correctlyVery complex code bases (and communities)
  16. 16. What is holding your organisation back from using open source?Organisation related issuesUnclear Procurement policyValue for moneyMisinformation among upper level management; Lack of knowledge of key technical decisionmakers; Time availabilitySupport issuesLack of in-house support; lack of in-house knowledge;Understanding by staff; Poor support of open standards by our business partners; Supportworries; Requirements for external support contractsEnvironment issuesDesire to have specific software; SAP LegacyCompatibility with Microsoft proprietary file formatsPerceived Lack of acceptance of OSS for Public sector solutionsProprietary standards used by environment (govt & clients)
  17. 17. Lessons for the Public Sector• Pragmatism needs to guide open source adoption and not ideology • Open source is not just or only or always about ‘cheap’. But it can bring a number of distinct and enduring benefits when contrasted to strategies based around proprietary software• Migrating to open source is more likely to be successful if it is done when there is a real and present need for change, rather than simply on the basis of finding open source attractive on infrastructure cost arguments • Adoption and development of open source can support the sharing of both expertise and expense between government bodies, for example among local authorities forming a flexible route to collaboration
  18. 18. Lessons for Us● The Benefits are real, but maybe we need to be better at explaining them● Political need and ownership is a must● TCO is fundamental but we have to be prepared to explain and justify the wider benefits● Procurement policy and practice will be the single largest challenge● Just because it is OS doesnt automatically make it better than alternatives – we have to be as professional, as complete as competitors● Relationships will be important, confidence building will be essential
  19. 19. Thank YouGraham