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Network procurement shake-up could shield front-line from cuts

Alex Scroxton

Research commissioned on behalf of Cisco has revealed that a clear majority of public sector ICT budget holders reckon that changing network procurement practice could save up to 6.4% of the government's annual £16.5bn annual ICT spend, without affecting front-line services.

In its Public Sector Network (PSN) Preparedness Survey, Cisco claimed that 37% believed the Cabinet Office's PSN initiative provided a "very real opportunity" to revolutionise delivery of public services.

The PSN initiative, which has been up and running since 2008, is designed to unify network standards and procurement across public sector organisations, and is already expected to deliver savings of £631m by 2014.

Over half of the respondents, 51%, said that the way networking technology was procured could be improved, with 42% saying that the current process was too heavily focused on technical rather than business benefits.

Framework agreements and partnerships between best-of-breed providers were found to be more attractive than the notion of procuring networking solutions from a single provider.

"High levels of awareness, an appreciation of the objective of PSN and recognistion of the potential benefits combine to paint a promising picture," observed Cisco UK public sector MD Rod Halstead.

"The interest and willingness to move forward with the programme exists within [the] public sector. Provigind the information and education required to harness this support will be a central factor in driving widespread adoption," he added.


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