By Tony Collins
The Cabinet Office has published ”Government Shared Services: A Strategic Vision – July 2011″ which suggests a “cloud- based ERP standard platform which Departments could buy into and from”.
The idea is part of the coalition’s plans to standardise IT systems within government. Standardising could save money – but, as the Public Administration Select Committee warned last week, not if standardising means giving even more control of government IT to a few large, monopolistic suppliers.
The Cabinet Office says that a number of Departments are due to upgrade their supporting IT systems for back office corporate services in the coming years.
”A co-ordinated management approach by Government will lower the cost of reinvestment whilst enabling a rationalisation of the current landscape,” says the Cabinet Office.
“For example, a number of large Departments who have implemented and operate an Enterprise Resource Platform (ERP) solution need to plan for the expiration of support to the current instance by 2013.
”This presents an opportunity for UK Government to source a “vertical” solution for a “cloud based” ERP standard platform which Departments could buy into and from.”
On Shared Services, the plan is to
“reform how Central Government procures and manages consolidated back office corporate services – by establishing an equitable market of a small number of accredited Independent Shared Service Centres and enabling Departments and their ALBs [arm's-length bodies] to choose between these – in order to drive up quality and reduce costs of these services, in support of Governments cost reduction targets.”
The Cabinet office says that approved shared services centres will “provide outcome based services, using standardised simplified processes, with the expectation to regularly publish performance data against established benchmarks”.
They will be able to make use of different business models – such as mutualisation – to ”leverage capability and the financial investment needed to deliver this service and may operate virtually or from a small number of fully integrated delivery centres”.