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Newham: staying with Microsoft is ‘68% cheaper than open source’

Cliff Saran

Newham Borough Council has revealed that staying with Microsoft software is 68% cheaper than open source systems, according to an independent study.

The results emerged from the high-profile trial held by the London council that compared the costs and benefits of existing Microsoft software against open source technologies.

According to the study, conducted by professional services firm Capgemini, the total cost of moving Newham’s existing NT4, Office and 130 bespoke applications onto a modern Microsoft platform was 68% lower than the cost of switching to open source.

The Capgemini study also estimated that Newham will save £3.2m over five years by upgrading to new Microsoft technology.

The trial at Newham attracted worldwide publicity and was seen as a litmus test for the viability of open source software as an alternative to Microsoft.

Until now, the council has been tight-lipped about the breakdown of costs. But yesterday (16 August) the council’s IT director, Richard Steel, was due to present the results of a Capgemini study of the trial, which other councils could use to benchmark their own trials of open source technology.

Chris Guest, president of local authority IT managers’ association Socitm and head of technology and improvement at Flintshire County Council, said the details of the Newham trial would benefit local authority IT directors. "It gives us an opportunity to make more informed decisions," he said.

Birmingham City Council is due to begin an open source project for its back-office system in the autumn. Glyn Evans, director of business solutions and IT at Birmingham City Council, who also chairs Socitm’s information age government group, said, "We will look at Newham’s data with interest."


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