No more 'rip-off' IT disasters – UK.gov will be too busy tweeting
RT @SirHumphrey_Appleby A courageous move, minister
Blighty's government has promised that its new "digital by default" campaign will put a stop to billion-pound IT catastrophes that have dogged the public sector for years.
In a commitment-light response to a report subtly titled Government and IT "a recipe for rip-offs" - published in January by MPs on the Public Administration Committee - bods within the Cabinet Office wheeled out claims that the government is better at agile procurement and is now commissioning significantly more from small and medium businesses.
The committee's suggestion that the government needed independent advice on handling IT projects was also rebuffed.
MPs on the committee also expressed scepticism that the Cabinet Office's "agile champions" would not be senior enough to make big decisions about procurement - a potential problem that the department, overseen by Tory Francis Maude, said it was aware of and working to avoid.
In making a commitment to access, the Cabinet Office promised to use social media more and touted the gov.uk domain, which it says would be easier to access and cheaper to maintain. However the commitments from the Government Digital Service (GDS) were vague at best:
The GDS is engaging with departments to accelerate their digital by default and channel shift plans using relevant social media and digital channels. GDS is working with departments to fundamentally change the way their policy teams think of social media.
The first edition of the A recipe for rip-offs report, published in July 2011, slammed the government for wasting "obscene" amounts of public money, fingering some Whitehall departments for spending £3,500 on desktop computers. ®
The easy way and the hard way
The reason the government gets ripped off, is because they set unrealistic goals, expect an unrealistic price, never stick to their requirements and micro manage contracts.
If the government actually ran its procurements with people who understood the costs of IT delivery thy might actually get projects that run to time and budget. Most SIs run development projects at a loss, and make the money on support over 7 - 10 years, because they would never win if they tried to charge the upfront capital costs, upfront. The government like it this way, because it lowers capital expenditure.
The rip off numbers usually arrive in the second half of the project after tech refresh, which is usually the contract break even point fot the SI, and the real profit appears in the seconf half.
Change, isn't usually a rip off either, it only appears so because the rates are more realistic, but are also open book, and subject to fixed and agreed margins, usually not that high, maybe 5%. Yes sometimes the marging is much more, but that's usually because the risk and contingency were not used on fixed price. The other thing that happens is inflation, so that rates assume say 2% per annum, but costs don't rise by that much. Older contracts probably allow 4%, but with staff not getting pay rises, this goes stright to the bottom line.
Ultimately, there are very few genuine rip-off IT projects.
Re: With software licenses or not?
Hang on isn't this a replay of a story last year, I seem to remember commenting then, that it depended what the £3500 covered, and the contract it came under.
Dead easy to get a PC to cost £3500. PC + Software + Support (The big cost) + Secure Network + Infrastructure + Peripherals + Location + Consumables.
Lets be clear, when a government department buys a PC it costs less than a PC from PC World or anywhere else, just like any other corporate, however the TCO depends on the accounting regime used, some departments break it all out, others don't, just depends on the service you are buying, and what you want the PC for.
The government promises
.....sorry, had to stop for a laugh there.
The government promises to put an end to rip-off IT projects.
Would this be the same government that's proposing the CCDP..... er, IT project?