The Danish municipality of Gribskov has saved two million DKK, about 270,000 euro, over the past two years by switching the public administration and schools to OpenOffice, Michel van den Linden, responsible for IT in the municipality says in an interview with the Danish IT news site Computerworld.
These savings are not just on procurement, but include savings on maintenance and support: "On all of these, we save a million DKK per year" (about 130,000 euro).
Van den Linden was one of the speakers at a conference on open source and public administrations, organised in Copenhagen by the Danish National IT and Telecom Agency (ITST) on 19 March.
In his presentation, Van den Linden explains that the municipality decided to move to the open source suite of office in 2007, when it was formed by the amalgamation of the Helsinge and Græsted-Gilleleje municipalities. These had been using different proprietary office suites and the IT department expected keeping both would lead to high maintenance costs.
He says the office applications are not the most important tool used by the public administration and the amalgamation was a good occasion to make a change. "At the same time, the public debate on proprietary versus open document formats was in full swing."
Another reason to switch to OpenOffice was that the new municipality, totalling some 41,000 inhabitants, wanted to increase competition among vendors of applications that are linked to the office suites. "Starting a new municipality meant we had to renegotiate all our contracts, and we could make new demands, including support for the Open Document Format (ODF)."
Van den Linden said he expects that Denmark's deciding on open IT standards will lead to increasing competition. "There will be competition on services that add value, instead of battling for standards. Wherever the IT market is not functioning well, it will feel the pressure from open source."
In his presentation, Gribskov's head of IT avoided to predict if the municipality will begin using other open source applications. "Switching to Linux, changing the web-browser or mail client, these are questions about tools and not an easy choice you make on any Thursday morning. However, switching is becoming easier every day."
Van den Linden will talk about Gribskov's use of OpenOffice on the OpenOffice conference, organised by the Danish association of Open Source Suppliers, in Odense on 30 April.
Van den Linden's presentation (video, odp, pdf, in Danish)
Computerworld news item (in Danish)