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back to article Cabinet Office: We've cut taxpayers' SAP and Microsoft bills

The Cabinet Office estimates it will squeeze out £65m in savings this fiscal year through a public-sector-wide deal it recently cut with Microsoft. As revealed by The Channel, the Public Sector Agreement 2012 replaces the last iteration (PSA09) from 1 July – with licences locked for three years at 1 per cent above previous …

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Linux

Linux

Still don't see why the UK government don't look into it more.

I mean, a lot of what government offices do revolves around very few things

email / word processing / database.

Email and word processing can easily be done on a linux system, and database the difficulty would be finding replacement software. We aren't stuck at the same point we were 15 years ago where you had a choice of microsoft or a command line with no useful applications for the general user. the majority of software you use on windows can be found in some freeware out there.

By the time you work it out first year or two of changeover costs more what with admin fees installing and setting up everything, and retraining staff to use the new software. But after that initial bumpy bit on the road the price drops immediately.

Heck they could even test the system out at some smaller distric councels

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux

I work at a local council and while we do use Linux on the odd server, one of the main problems is support from vendors of specialist software (of which we use a lot more than you might imagine). For instance the complex social care case management system in use (which comprises about 10 servers) support their database on Linux, but all the front-office servers, reporting servers etc are only supported on Windows or Solaris. Same goes for a lot of other software of this type. Chicken and egg - they support Windows because they think Councils only understand Windows, and Councils only understand Windows because vendors don't support anything else so they don't get much chance to experiment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux

With OSS it is a chicken and egg situation as you say.

There are few technical reasons why govt.cant run most of it's business on OSS.

They could start by replacing MS Office with LibreOffice;only a few 'power users' or ones with apps tied to MS Office would need to stick with MS.

More importantly, getting govts. to save docs in ODF rather than proprietary format will save long term data migration issues.

There is also the issue that large orgs like the old blame culture, and outsourcing is the ideal way to avoid responsibility. Whereas spending money on developers to customise OSS is seen as risky, even though you have a product under your control, to develop as you like.

I have tried with my local authority and public orgs to try OSS, and all I get is excuses (8 years so far, little progress) :-(

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Holmes

Re: Linux

Then you set up a [0-9] year plan with staged roll-outs...

First, replace stand-alone Windows desktop software with FOSS equivelants that run on Windows (leaving the customised software).

Second, once they're used to FOSS desktop software. Identify and class the users that need access to the customised pieces of software. Any that aren't utilising custom software move to Linux, any that are:- can they be accessed via VM? Wine? Cloud/Remote Desktop?

Third, when the time comes for upgrading or replacing the customised stuff (at some point you will have to or you'll just be virtualising a Windows server/desktop anyway) - put out tenders to Linux shops, or companies that are either willing to port to Linux... or run cross-platform code.

Sure there will immediate higher than normal costs, there will be user grumbles (as they unlearn how to do things on a less optimal OS), there may even be the penchant to put blame on 'the new IT system' when there's a fsck-up; but the long term benefits will pay off substantially.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux

Yep. Government needs to make a start by specifying public sector software needs platform independence. They cannot be seen to be buying case management software or enterprise apps that lock them into Microsoft. Then you start your desktop rollout plans. If it weren't for the fact that there was such a historic cock-up with IE6 tie-in they'd probably specify more browser based apps seeing as they're not averse to Linux servers.

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Unhappy

Re: Linux

The multitude of VBA and other abominations which teams and departments rely upon means quite a bit of lock-in.

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WTF?

SAP?

The Cabinet Office is using SAP? Oh yes, I forgot, it has massive production lines of hot air, bullsh1t and spin and which need need such systems for careful planning, monitoring and control.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SAP?

Yes - I particularly like the bit about SAP and saving money. Wherever I have seen SAP introduced, it always seems to cost a lot more than whatever was in place previously. When the board asks why it has cost them more and not less, an exercise is started to find other areas where SAP could be used, in a desperate attempt to justify huge cost overruns.

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Facepalm

Open Source

It's a disgrace that our government isn't following the lead of many European countries and embracing Open Source. Particularly given current financial pressures.

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Meh

Re: Open Source

You're assuming that the major costs involved in ownership of software are licensing. I have to say, I find that extremely unlikely.

In particular, the major SAP cost is the millions you need to spend on consultants to make it even approximate working with any non-SAP system.

I'm not saying OSS might not be cheaper. I'm just saying that "free" doesn't always mean you save any money.

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Meh

not just the specialist apps

given that this is the council if they made a change from windows to another OS (could be OSX,Linux or even BeOS all would have the same effect) they would need to send every single worker on a "training course" (run by a mate of the executive choosing the strategy naturally) else everyone will plead not knowing the new system for deadlines not met etc.

then there would be the "usability and H&S" survey/study to confirm the new OS doesn't put unnessacery eye/hand movements in. then there is the converting of legacy code (note converting not rewriting). and so on and so on.

only governments can turn something free into a huge barrel of pork for the right contractors

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Alert

SAP

We're doomed.

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Meh

Microsoft Recouping the loss elsewhere

Funny how a Microsoft saving coincides with the July raising of prices in UK.... http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2012/05/08/microsoft_spla/

Almost feels like the 33% rise for the private sector customers will more than cover this gap created by the public sector.

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FAIL

Why?

Every time I hear "SAP" mentioned it seems to be in the same paragraph as "millions", "cost overrun" and "Failure". Isn't it an acronym for Software Assisted Penury?

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Anonymous Coward

FOSS does not bribe - there is the reason, the rest is just BS ...

cf title

Sorry, missed a checkbox ...

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