Europe's public sector could save €1bn a year

The European Union’s public sector could save €1.1bn (£930m) a year by following new open standard guidelines to avoid ICT vendor lock-in.

The European Union’s public sector could save €1.1bn (£930m) a year by following new open standard guidelines to avoid ICT vendor lock-in, the European Commission has said.

The EC's Digital Agenda for Europe policy outlines help to break dependency on single suppliers, resulting in tendering procedures which would drive value and competition.

EC vice president Neelie Kroes, said: "Open standards create competition, lead to innovation, and save money. The guide issued today is here to help national authorities grab every opportunity for innovation and efficiency."

The guide is intended to help officials responsible for both planning and purchasing ICT systems and services for public organisations. It aims to assist countries, regions or application sectors in developing an overarching ICT strategy, consisting of main principles to make ICT systems work together and to provide an efficient service to citizens.

Public Administrations currently lack the expertise to decide which standards are relevant to their ICT needs, or fear that the initial costs of change would be too costly and might lead to loss of data. As a result, they remain locked into their ICT systems or into a relationship with only one provider, said the EC.

The policy follows the release of the UK government’s Government Service Design Manual, advising government departments how to break the IT supplier oligopoly.

The EC's Digital Agenda for Europe stated: "If you have incumbent suppliers, it is important that you understand and anticipate their likely reaction as they struggle to maintain the status quo and resist change.

"Incumbent suppliers will have data that reflects the past success of their business models and the way their business worked. They will be less certain about the future and may be concerned about the weakening of their market share and their exposure to genuine, open competition," the Government Service Design Manual noted.

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