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All major government departments in talks with Browsium

Browsium – the start-up which helped HMRC slash IE6 upgrade costs by £50m – is in talks with all major government departments.

Browsium – the US start-up company which helped HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) slash its Internet Explorer 6 upgrade costs by £50m – is in talks with all major central government departments to ease their migration to Internet Explorer 9.

Oren Taylor, director of IT services company CDG and partner with Browsium, told Computer Weekly that the company was in cross-government talks about the use of Browsium. “Every single large central government department is currently engaged with us and engaged to varying degrees,” he said.  He added there were also opportunities in local authorities.

Browsium expects another government department announcement to be made in the next three months.

HMRC paid Browsium just £1.28m, compared to quotes from £35m to £50m or above from large system integrators, according to HMRC CIO Phil Pavitt.

Many government bodies are still using Internet Explorer 6 despite ongoing security concerns that have seen even Microsoft acknowledging that IE6 is vulnerable.

Gary Schare, president of Browsium, said the company has focused on areas which involve complex organisations including healthcare, public sector and financial services: “These organisations are where the cost and complexity of migrations tend to be magnified and who feel the most pain.”

Taylor said that historically systems integrators in government had been asked to do work on innovation, an area they are less equipped to lead than work around. “Change in this area can [therefore] take a long time because it involves one large, complex organisation talking to another large organisation,” he said.

Browsium was able to bypass this process by talking with HMRC’s IT management directly, rather than being brought in through the incumbent systems integrator (SI). However, the services were acquired through the existing Aspire consortium that supplies HMRC - even though Pavitt said that Capgemini-led Aspire had twice rebuffed approaches from Browsium in the past.

“There is definitely a place for SIs in government and they will long continue to make significant amounts of money. But the desire and change of pace in government is relatively rapid," said Taylor.

He said significant changes were happening in the government IT environment: “Within this financial year we will see significant changes happen in the way SMEs are able to penetrate government departments."

Schare added that a move to the cloud was pushing the change agenda forward: “It is creating a lot of opportunity for innovative companies, as customers are finding they can’t move to cloud solutions if they are stuck on old infrastructure, so quite often they come to us.”

Browsium's software allows applications developed for IE6 to run on newer versions of the web browser.

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