Saturday’s Daily Mail carried a story entitled “it’s only your money going down the drain” which contained the following guide to successful IT projects:
First, ministers should scale down ambitions and choose systems shown to work elsewhere.
Second, they must open up competition to new contractors: it is estimated the six biggest firms win nearly four-fifths of contracts, despite often-lamentable track records.
And, third, technicians and contractors should make more use of open-source software and open standards, which allows systems made by rival — and smaller — manufacturers to work together.
Using such software, Martha Lane Fox and a small group of geeks built Alpha.gov.uk —which will eventually replace 700 government websites with one personalised portal — in under three months. It cost less to make than the price of one government tender process.
I leave the reader to conjure with the image of Martha and her group of geeks.