Using open source to open doors in local government
Despite the rising tide of economic optimism, local government organisations are set to continue to see budget reductions throughout the year.
The answer to this conundrum lies in technology investment, or more specifically embracing a new forms of IT that cost a lot less and deliver significantly improved services.
This endemic culture has led to unprecedented waste and also meant that smaller providers have had reduced opportunity to improve public services, even if they provide effective, viable solutions.
The role of open source providers has been further championed via official public sector publications encouraging SMEs to have greater opportunity to participate in the government procurement process, a move which is both financially prudent and wise to enable genuine competition in this space.
This commitment was effectively enshrined by a public statement from Liam Maxwell, government CTO who said “Open source is at the heart of our commitment to deliver digital public services designed around the needs of citizens.”
Major sites such as GOV.UK has made extensive use of open source software, including databases, frameworks, caches and web servers through their technology stack. The digital services provided by GOV.UK have been estimated to save taxpayers over £20million.
There are already some bold examples of major IT projects being conducted via alternate open source providers, with the National Archives transforming its database successfully and securely.
The collective thinking and cost-effectiveness that open source providers offer cannot be matched in terms of expertise of value for money by the traditional proprietary software providers. This cultural shift will open the door for a new era of innovative IT solutions that can transform local government services, empowering staff and delivering unrivalled value to taxpayers.
The second step is to look around and examine the huge array of alternatives on the market. The third is to implement and engage with open source to demonstrate a bold approach to IT, a move which will delight the government and taxpayers alike.
Joe Morrissey is Vice President, EMEA at MongoDB