My view is that much government spending should eventually be spread nationally, and with every area trying to cut costs, IT outsourcing has a crucial part to play.
There will be less money. Therefore, outsourcing is an ideal fit. Whoever takes over the key to Number 10 this year should be more concerned with commissioning the right outsourcing services than doing it all themselves.
Outsourcing, done well, can work medium to long-term, not only with saving money but improving operational efficiency and access to skills and specialist technologies. This should allow government to focus on core activities.
An outsourcing service provider is better than a government body at converting paper to electronic records, having already made the investment in the required technical equipment, training and skills.
These are assets that government departments simply do not possess in house.
Healthcare is a prime example of a sector always being asked to fulfill ever-increasing public needs and comply with proliferating and metamorphosing rules and regulations.
A new government is likely to attempt changes that stamp its authority into the system early on. Healthcare should also harness ever-changing technology to improve delivery.
Service providers from across the globe have expertise in this critical sector, around areas such as electronic billing, transaction processing systems, document management, and back-end integration.
However, for the healthcare sector to fully benefit, continued innovation from the service provider and trust in the form of a public and private partnership are required.
Government must work with selected service providers to increase trust and develop new innovative processes. Previously, a lack of trust has been a major barrier.
The public sector must learn to trust the contractor‘s ability to do things better. For this to happen, contractors need to prove that they can deliver projects more efficiently.
Suppliers must also work to ensure they operate in a transparent way. They must be forthcoming with new ideas that improve delivery methods.
Barriers to innovation must be reduced. Outsourcers are willing to match fees to outcomes – for example, to match the management fee to educational outcomes in schools.
This could include things like utility computing: packaging computing resources, such as computation and storage, as a metered service.
The outsourcer must communicate regularly with its specialist sector customer. I believe this can be assisted greatly by having a CIO to handle technology strategy on the government side.
This would make life easier when liaising with service providers, as a CIO should be able to communicate on a similar technical level.
Re-commissioning of ineffective services must stop and government must do things differently. This may mean radical changes in the way services are delivered.
Ferenc Szelenyi is EMEA managing director at Dell Perot Systems
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