Hardly a month goes by, it seems, without news of yet another government IT project running late, going over-budget or not working as it was envisaged. High time then that public agencies switched from conventional software to Software-as-a-Service. Not just my opinion, but also one shared by a senior US official in the Bush administration – reported by Michael Krigsman in his IT Project Failures blog.
In Government turns to SaaS to salvage IT failures, Krigsman reports the remarks of White House IT administrator, Karen Evans, who told a recent conference that SaaS could improve government IT projects and systems.
The same argument could, of course, be applied to UK government IT projects – which seem to be hardly out of the newspapers at the moment.
For example, the latest security lapse, involving theft of a Ministry of Defence laptop holding confidential information on potential army recruits, would not have happened if the data had been securely stored in a central repository and managed using a SaaS application accessed via a web-browser. Too many people still feel that they need to carry around copies of information on their own laptops. With a broadband connection and some secure routing they could view exactly the same information onscreen – just as many construction project team members already do. It isn’t necessary for, say, an architect to carry round a powerful laptop holding copies of all his CAD files relating to a particular project. From his home PC, from an internet cafe or a guest desktop in a project Portakabin, he could open a standard web-browser, log-in to his chosen collaboration provider and then access and review all the latest drawings, documents, forms, messages and alerts relating to his project.