THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) has said that using open standards could save the public sector €1.1bn a year.
The EC has long been in favour of using open source software, highlighting the benefits that governments that make the jump from closed source software enjoy. Now the commission has said that using open standards when buying IT systems could save the European public sector €1.1bn a year.
According to EC, working with open standards instead of simply going with one vendor, system or product can save taxpayers money. The commission warned however that many organisations do not have the knowledge required to decide which standards are relevant to them and have fears regarding the cost of change, which leads them to stay locked-in to closed standards and stick with one provider.
European Commission VP Neelie Kroes said, "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."
The EC added that its guide is intended to help organisations avoid vendor lock-in when purchasing new systems or even replacing existing systems that present lock-in with those that adhere to open standards.
The EC's comments should serve as a stark warning to both hardware and software vendors that have relied on lock-in to keep generating government business, while open standards based software continues to be promoted at the highest levels of government.
Given the EC's estimate of €1.1bn a year savings that can be had from using open standards compliant software, it could be one cost-cutting measure that European governments might undertake that won't lead to public discontent. µ