Open source vendor Alfresco has implemented its services at Bristol City Council (BCC) as part of the council's revamp of its document management systems and continued efforts to reduce spending.
The council, which already uses open source for its intranet and public website, is set to use Alfresco technology to manage documents both on-site and remotely via tablet devices, as well as for managing the monitoring system.
The move follows attempts to move to open source solutions which have had varying degrees of success.
Gavin Beckett, chief enterprise architect at BCC, said despite previous efforts to move to open source, the interoperability with other public sector organisations was an issue.
"Seven years ago we tried to use open source in the form of Star Office, but that did not work out. The public sector just did not move to the open source model at the same pace.
"BCC has been searching for ways to innovate open source in order to be the kind of business we need to be and to deliver the best service considering the financial restraints we are under," he added.
The adoption of open source solutions forms part of the council's effort to reduce annual operating costs by £70m, a target Beckett believes open source is well positioned to deliver.
He said: "As with all IT systems, the cost is in the design and implementation, so that aspect is no different to legacy options. But obviously, if you have not had to spend a lot per user on licensing, it means you can effectively spread the usage more widely across organisation.
"By maximising the usage across the organisation, you can make radical changes such as looking into mobile access of documents; something we could not do before."
Peter Dawes-Huish, chief executive of LinuxIT, a previous IT supplier of BCC, said:
"BCC are often seen as a beacon council for trying and successfully implementing new technology.
"They are on the leading edge of technology, and with this comes a higher chance of problems as they are the first to tread the path.
"We should look at BCC and really give credit to them. They are looking at ways to look into open source to save taxpayers' money and at the same time provide better value and better service."
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