The government’s decision not to renew an agreement with Microsoft for up to 800,000 NHS desktops could be an opportunity for open source suppliers to prove their worth.
According to an article on IT channel website Microscope.co.uk, the government did not feel the deal, known as an enterprise agreement, which aims to give lower prices in return for group buying was not value for money. It prefers individual NHS Trusts to buy what they want, rather than being forced to be part of an enterprise wide deal.
This must appear an opening of a door for two groups of suppliers. These are the open source software community and those selling and integrating thin client computing systems.
Open source software would help service providers make immediate costs in government IT spending because there are no license fees.
Thin clients, where the software sits on a central server and users connect via a terminal, is also a lower cost way of using Microsoft.
The Department of Work & Pensions recently signed a deal with Fujitsu to replace 140,000 desktops with thin clients.
The deal between Fujitsu and the DWP also saves millions on energy consumption because every workers doesn’t have an energy hungry desktop PC. This is probably another good example of how suppliers should help the government meet its targets to cut IT costs.