Swedish National Police (swedishnational)

Published on: 10/06/2010

In 2006 the Swedish National Police launched a project that led to the implementation and migration from an ICT infrastructure based on proprietary products to an ICT server and database platform based on Open Source software and open standards.

The previous ICT platform was costly and obliged the Police to stick with a hand full of vendors. The aim was therefore to cut costs, avoid vendor lock-in, achieve better performance, and introduce open standards.

Before ideas were realized, a thorough study was conducted to calculate costs and benefits. This study foresaw cost savings of up to fifty percent over a five years period compared to the proprietary hardware and software in place at this time, while improving performance.. Due to the dimensions of this project that affected the entire ICT infrastructure of the Swedish National Police, it was not always easy to turn ideas into reality.

Description of target users and groups

ICT Administration.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The SNPB's move towards an open ICT server infrastructure went along with a change of suppliers representing a much larger number of potential suppliers for the adapted Open Source solutions than has been the case for the replaced  commercial products. Such a diverse range of potential suppliers has been one of the key aspects for the SNPB to avoid a vendor lock-in and to allow for competition.

It is important to highlight that the software and hardware migration only took place on the servers in the data centres, and not at the client computers. For the local police officers distributed across the country everything remained the same, and nothing new had to be learnt. Even more so, the desktop PCs at the Swedish Police are still running on a proprietary operating system. Essentially the implementation of Open Source Software can therefore be considered a background migration of which only performance enhancements are felt on the desktop computer.

The migration project has been focusing on the replacement of four essential parts of the infrastructure:

1) the application server,

2) the database,

3) the operating system of the servers, and

4) the CPUs thereof.

Technology solution

Jboss, MySQL, Linux SLES.

Technology choice: Open source software

Main results, benefits and impacts

For the Swedish National Police, the introduction of Open Source software and standard X86-based server hardware to their ICT infrastructure, has many advantages. The most important aspects in this respect are:

  • cost savings,
  • limitation of the vendor lock-in, and
  • the use of open standards.

Considering that the Police is planning on saving roughly €20 million over a period of five years, the financial incentive to turn to Open Source Software and standard X86-based server hardware was high, especially considering the fact the solution is not inferior to the proprietary solution that was previously used.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Larger than €10,000,000

Lessons learnt

For the project team, it was very important to prepare a good roadmap ahead of the migration project. This helped in setting clear targets with regard to timelines and technical solutions. As this is often the case in other project involving a large-scale migration, convincing the people in charge of an organisation is never easy. In order to manage this "soft migration" successfully, as Öhlund calls it, communication of the advantages of a new system and disadvantages of the old system is very important. The business case study in this respect was also of great help in convincing the Swedish National Police Board that this migration step was a viable alternative.

While having a clear strategy is of great help to such a project, it is not always easy to make theory reality. Moving from a proprietary software environment to a consolidated Open Source Software environment with standard X86-based server hardware is a very big undertaking that should not be underestimated. After all, there are not many other organisations that undertook such a large scale project for the sake of avoiding the vendor lock-in and reducing costs.

Scope: National