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UK gov targets £500m IT savings this year and is ‘taking business elsewhere’

Diginomica - Last time I spoke to the UK government’s chief technology officer, Liam Maxwell, he described himself as a self-proclaimed ‘competition nut’ and ran through some of the Government Digital Service’s key initiatives to transform public facing transactions into agile, digital products. You can read a write up of the interview here. Maxwell, who is not one to mince his words when it comes to government IT, took the stage at the Think Cloud for Government conference in London today and said that this competition-driving agenda will likely save taxpayers over £500 million this year. A tidy sum when added to the hundreds of millions of pounds saved over the previous two years.

Maxwell explained to delegates during his keynote that government departments are being forced to focus on ‘Mission IT’ – the important, front-facing digital stuff that directly impacts users – rather than the back-end platforms that have dominated time and budgets in the past. This is being achieved by the disaggregation of IT across central government, where departments will no longer procure and manage networks, hosting, desktops etc. all in one bundle, but instead will get access to a range of suppliers for each of these common infrastructures services from the centre. Breaking up common services into siloes and sharing them.

All of this is being wrapped round the use of open standards, which will allow buyers to switch easily between suppliers. Maxwell argued that this will increase the supplier base and drive down costs. He said: