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Digital Agenda: Open standards would save public sector €1 billion a year

Europa - The Commission today releases a new policy to help public authorities avoid dependence on a single ICT supplier. Following the recommendations in this new "against lock-in" approach could save the EU's public sector more than €1.1 billion a year. For example, open tendering procedures can attract increased numbers of bidders with better value bids (doubling the number of bidders typically lowers contract size by 9%).

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes says: "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."

Working with standards – rather than specifying a single ICT brand, tool, system, or product – when procuring ICT systems saves taxpayers' money. However, many organisations either 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.

In addition, greater use of standards makes it easier to exchange data between public systems, so citizens can supply their data only once to any public administration and it will facilitate cross-border eGovernment services that citizens and businesses need when travelling/working/studying/doing business within the EU.