Councils could save up to a tenth of the cost of their IT over the next five years by using open-source software, a leading analyst has claimed.
Speaking at the Society of IT Management’s Spring Seminar in Essex, Gartner research director Nikos Drakos said councils could make substanital costs savings by using open-source software. "Starting from now, there could be a 5% to 10% saving for users over the next three to five years."
"That figure might not seem a big deal, but it could change dramatically if open source proves its ability to support a wide range of applications and business models," he added.
Drakos added that certain technology areas in local government, such as e-mail and web services, could generate bigger open-source savings.
A local government IT manager attending the event, who asked not to be named, agreed that councils could save money by using open source but warned that there could be integration costs ahead for users.
"I would expect that there will be savings made but councils that are looking to use open source on their desktops should also be aware that there will be integration and training costs involved," he said.
The manager, whose own council uses open source, acknowledged that it is worth looking at but warned that existing models may change.
He said, "You may end up having to pay to get long-term safeguards such as services".
Around 150 IT managers from across the UK were attending the annual SOCITM event at the Five Lakes Hotel and country club in Essex.