Perhaps the biggest challenge the government faces in cutting IT costs, is its dilemma when it comes to offshoring IT. Clearly high service levels and low costs can be achieved, for instance, by using Indian service providers, but at the cost of UK jobs.
Government CIO John Suffolk has been at the annual Nasscom event in Mumbai this week where, according to a report on India website CXOtoday , he said Indian service providers have been important in providing UK public services. But he did suggest that smaller contracts were the way forward.
In February last year spokesman for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on UK-India trade and investment relations told me: “With the economic downturn companies are trying to make cost savings and this is a way of seeing what role Indian IT companies can play in this. It will also look at how public sector procurement can be improved.”
The first Indian group of Indian companies that attended the APPG were IT companies.
So there is no question that Indian service providers do and will continue to play an important role in providing the UK government with IT. But how can this be done without putting experienced IT professionals in the UK on the dole?
There are hidden costs of offshoring for governments seeking the support of public opinion.
What is the best balance?