Adjacent Open Access – Public sector IT must deliver cost effective support solutions

Mark Smith, CEO of Support Revolution, highlights the plight of public sector IT amid budget cuts and explains why it is vital to deliver better sourced services.

A key IT cost for the public sector is software support and maintenance from large ERP vendors such as Oracle and SAP. In 2013 alone, the UK Government spent approximately £290m on Oracle; a cost which is exacerbated by the fact there are so many versions of the software and various support levels and costs.

In 2015, The Cabinet Office became concerned with how much was being spent on these types of software and formally asked various agencies to look at alternatives to Oracle in a bid to slash public spending.

Support costs typically make-up 22% of a customer’s license costs for the first 5 years and can be significantly more once the product being supported is out of this period. This cost is a heavy burden which many public sector departments needlessly pay as ever more demanding day-to-day pressures reduce the time to research, source and implement better value long-term solutions that deliver the same day-to-day quality-of-work but with a significantly lower cost.

Third-party support providers exist to allow organisations who run Oracle and SAP services to receive best-in-class software support and maintenance from a team of experts and are able to ensure every customer can save at least 50% on support costs.

Another significant issue facing the public sector and impacting IT support budgets are software upgrade cycles. Yet, the public sector purse has never faced tighter rein and regular updates to implement the latest version of each system are more unlikely today than at any other time. Third-party support is able to remove the organisation from that mandatory upgrade cycle and provide support for older versions of software that vendors no longer support.

Within an article by TheRegister.co.uk in August 2016, an unnamed government insider said: “The spend controls sound a mess – there is more getting through but also arbitrary challenges. The problem is it sounds like those running the controls don’t have enough tech knowledge but are following tick lists, which is only further irritating departments.”

Adjacent Open Access, 5th April 2017

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