Anything can be anywhere, the celebrated writer Larry McMurtrychanneled once upon a time. Like: This blog could be just whereyou’ve found it, here in this previously vacant corner ofcyberspace. Or, more to the point (finally), great savings may liein the efficient and effective application of high technologysolutions to the problems of public sector management.
Or maybe not. Because the real world can turn up in the darndestplaces. Like the aforementioned cyberspace.
Richmond, Calif., by way of example, spent $4.5 million onsoftware to support the usual raft of administrative services -payroll, HR and such. What it wound up with was a significantaddition to a budget deficit in the neighborhood of $35 million.Wny? Because in the real world, layoffs and budget cutbacks vastlyundermined what the new system might have done.
And Richmond, according to Computerworld, is only one in a largehandful of public sector software initiatives gone awry in the U.S.over the past year. There are lots of reasons for each of them, butmostly what you’ll find is the persistent intrusion of issues thatare only indirectly related to technology. HR decisions, politicaldecisions, real estate decisions – they all count, and that doesn’tmean a collection of ones and zeroes.
Item: Open source software is continuing to gain ground around theworld, with hundreds if not thousands of administrations at alllevels of government in a kind of ABM (Anything But Microsoft)strategy. Even Massachusetts has abandoned Microsoft Office.
Item: Microsoft is pushing a Public Services and e-GovernmentStrategy.