Sweden’s public administrations will increasingly turn to open source and open standards, expect ICT procurement specialists at the National Procurement Services, the central purchasing body for the country’s public sector. The agency is readying a new approach for the acquisition of sofware and ICT services. When using these frameworks, only open standards and open source can be mandated. This greatly facilitates public administrations to prefer this type of software.
The new ICT framework agreements will replace the current contracts, all of which will expire sometime this year.
Public administrations and suppliers are turning to a mix of proprietary, open source and cloud solutions, explains Daniel Melin, ICT procurement officer at Sweden’s procurement service organisation. “The current frameworks focus on these parts separately. The new frameworks bundle all kinds of software and services, better fitting to the organisation of public administrations. It will make it fully possible that they acquire the solution that gets them the best value for money.”
Sweden’s procurement services centre will create four new frameworks; one for office support including common solutions for desktops, smartphones, office productivity and email, a second for the IT department’s principal IT solutions. The third is for solutions related to online services, including document management and electronic archiving. The fourth framework is for system and software development. “All four follow the same rules and the same contract terms”, says Melin, “the only difference is the type of solutions available within each framework.
The frameworks are crafted as to result in mini-competitions between the ICT service providers pre-selected for each framework, he says. They include rules that prevent mentioning non-open source software unless the software is an upgrade or extension of existing solutions. The rules also allow suppliers to offer alternative software solutions, even if the public administration requests a specific brand or product. The frameworks also clarify the role and responsibility of ICT service providers in case of open source; eventual bug fixes and code contributions are submitted to the upstream developers on behalf of the public administration. “We expect that the annual turnover in all four of these to exceed EUR 200 million”, says Melin.
And the winner is
Earlier this week, the procurement agency announced which ICT service providers won - and who will be the ICT suppliers for two of the four frameworks, the one for desktops and the one for the IT department. In both, suppliers include open source specialists: Redpill Linpro and MSC Open Source for the first, and Redpill Linpro and Redbridge for the latter.
The armamentarium can be used by Sweden’s public administrations starting this April and will last until April 2019. It is possible that the ICT firms that were not selected fight that decision in court. In that case, signing of the frameworks is halted until the court has ruled.