The government has published its IT strategy for the public sector, pinpointing £3.2bn worth of savings to be made across the sector.
The savings are the technology part of the £15bn the government hopes to save annually through the Operational Efficiency Programme, announced in April last year.
The strategy has 14 separate strands. A central telecommunications infrastructure, called the public sector network, will deliver converged voice and data communications. The network is expected to bring £500m savings a year by 2014.
A government cloud infrastructure will "enable public bodies to select and host ICT services" from a shared environment. Multiple services will be available from multiple suppliers.
There is a plan to rationalise the public sector's datacentres, reducing the number of datacentres used from hundreds to between 10 and 12. The government said this will save £300m a year in IT infrastructure costs.
The government applications store aims to help public bodies to share and re-use online business applications and services, instead of creating new ones. Savings from this are expected to be £500m a year.
It is hoped that the applications store and the government cloud will encourage further use of shared services for finance, human resources and procurement services.
Finally, there will be a new set of common designs for desktop services across the public sector. Each organisation currently designs and runs its own desktop computer estate, and using common designs would save £400m a year, according to the strategy.
The measures are not mandatory for the whole public sector, but government CIO John Suffolk said he expects organisations to be keen to sign up.
He said, "The economic position has changed dramatically. Whether we like it or not, organisations are going to have to ask, 'Where are we going to get the great value out of what we are doing?'
"Cash is going to get shorter over the next period. This will stimulate a lot more activity in technologies such as social media and shared services."