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How unwilling system providers disqualify themselves

In last week’s letter, I told you what I took away from the Digitisation of the Public Sector event.

Five things I took away from the discussions:

  1. Data should flow freely within Europe’s public organisations by 2030.
  2. Closed systems go out of business.
  3. Cloud computing is the way business systems will be delivered in the future.
  4. Those activities that do not go digital will become irrelevant.
  5. Digitisation equals business development.

In the last post I described how important it is to have information flow freely between different businesses and their systems. Demands are being made, and will be made even more stringently, by the EU for this to work.

We move on to the next items on the five-point list.

Closed systems go out

It was clear from several quarters that they are quite fed up with suppliers who do not open up their systems or who make it difficult to access data. I see this dissatisfaction almost everywhere in public life.

Often people are dissatisfied and fed up, but when suppliers are in an oligopolistic or monopolistic position, they feel that nothing can be done about it. You have resigned yourself to the situation and feel that you have to live with it as it is. “That’s probably how it is in our business” they seem to think.

Sundsvall leads the way

Here, Sundsvall municipality has stepped forward and taken the lead in breaking up this relationship. When asked directly if the systems that are not open will be replaced, the answer was just as straightforward; a resounding YES!

Here, it is seen that it is cheaper and better in the long run to break the oligopoly and monopoly of suppliers by developing new modern modularised systems that are open and based on so-called “open source”.

Open source means that the programming code on which the newly developed programs are built is open for others to download and see. This will enable them to take advantage of the systems developed and to use them in their own activities. And not only to use it, but also to build on it.

Together we can help

So anyone who starts by offering an open source system will be planting a seed, so to speak. Because the system will be able to evolve further and be even better at someone else’s. This means that everyone who has the desire and the opportunity can also support the faster development of the systems used in the public sector.

It is good for the use of taxpayers’ money not to have to spend tens or hundreds of times our tax dollars to develop “the same” systems over and over again in different municipalities, regions or authorities.

In addition, the speed of development is increased, when everyone can support and drive development further. This is in contrast to the disinterested suppliers who become a bottleneck in development.

What you identify is that it will cost you now, but in the long run it is a necessity.

If you are not prepared to take the extra cost now, you must be prepared to pay an even higher price in the near future. And if you find that you can’t really afford it now, what’s to say that in the future you’ll be able to afford anything but a higher cost.

Above the clouds the sun always shines

The third element that emerged very clearly is that despite all the discussion about security in various aspects, cloud services are what will be legion in the future.

It’s not for nothing that cloud computing has taken off. It is far more cost-effective to develop a system that can then be used by many businesses simultaneously on one platform.

This is in contrast to the past, where everyone has to set up their own servers, install the software and then have staff to run it.

From CDs to a connected solution

In the past, if a vendor sent out its CDs to 10,000 businesses, it required the same number of server installations, as well as local staff to take care of those ten thousand installations. They will then be upgraded on an ongoing basis with the latest versions.

Know IT departments that can’t be bothered to upgrade and the business is left with years-old versions of a key business system. With the cloud service, upgrades are continuous and the upgraded system is available to everyone at the same time.

Do you have multiple skills on site 24 hours a day, all year round?

In addition, security is many times higher with a cloud provider than it is with the local IT department. Cloud providers with 10,000 businesses as customers will ensure that there is security around the operating environment with multiple parallel installation sites and very high security requirements.

Of course, this is also necessary as they become a bigger target for those who want to carry out digital attacks, as we saw this summer with the attack that affected Coop, among others.

These providers need to have staff and systems working around the clock every day of the year, which is a strength. The local IT department normally goes home every day at 5pm. On Friday at 5pm it is often empty until Monday at 8am.

It turns out that it is precisely at this time, on Friday evenings, that local attacks take place, giving the perpetrator plenty of time to work undisturbed. They “have the whole weekend”.

A world-class business requires

Among other things, Region Skåne points out that as our healthcare needs to be world-class, so do our business systems and everything around them. The business systems that are now world-class are delivered as cloud solutions.

In addition, it is pointed out that modern business systems are not one system, but a whole network consisting of a multitude of systems that need to interact with each other.

The increasing number of different solutions or systems in this network will make it impossible for a local IT department to have the necessary skills to manage the same number of systems locally.

And then the need for outside support arises, which many times is not as fast as if you had been able to do the work yourself.

I myself have experienced in businesses several months of waiting time for easy integrations between systems. And then it has been between system vendors who are still open to integration. This is time that does not exist to ensure the proper digitisation of our public services.

So this week’s tip will be:

  1. Check out the solutions that Sundsvall municipality is working on.
  2. See cloud solutions as the future. Don’t compromise on security requirements, while the comparison between on-premises and cloud solution must include all your requirements.

Next week I will come back to the last two points: that those who do not digitise will become irrelevant and that digitisation is the same as business development.

Wishing you a nice week until then.