'Get radical on IT procurement,' Gartner advises governments

12 August 2010

12 August 2010 | Angeline Albert

Governments facing tough budget cuts must be more radical in their IT sourcing and procurement, IT analyst Gartner said.

Traditional means of reducing costs may not be enough to produce sustainable savings. But Gartner said there is still money to be saved by piloting new models of computing and service delivery.

These could include use of cloud computing – where software is hosted on a number of remote servers and published via the internet, rather than the government hosting its own applications. Crowd sourcing is another means of generating savings. This makes use of social networks instead of consultants to seek free advice.

Andrea Di Maio, a research vice-president, said: “Sluggish recovery in some countries and the significant level of debt require continued and increasing cost-containment discipline and are forcing government organisations to explore new avenues of cost reduction.”

Gartner recommends governments source complete solutions to run their business and provide services via cloud-based IT applications. It suggests trying out cloud computing and crowd sourcing with small pilots of services that are not core to the business.

It recommends chief information officers (CIOs) encourage government agency executives to identify areas for crowd sourcing which cannot be addressed through traditional contractual means, as a result of budget constraints. The company also said cloud computing and crowd sourcing can be used as alternatives to incumbent vendors, and could be also be useful in negotiating with conventional vendors.

Government CIOs should also try to identify programmes – or parts of programmes – where they can work with peers on the joint development of new solutions.

Claudio Da Rold, another research vice-president at Gartner, said: “We expect that governments in Europe are likely to follow the UK's spending cuts and gradually move toward increasingly considering consolidation, outsourcing, global delivery models and industrialised services as potentially viable options to reduce spending.”

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