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By | Paul Kunert 19th September 2012 16:19

UK.gov will struggle to avoid pain in further IT cuts, says HP bigwig

Me cutlass is hittin' bone now, King's man

Blighty's government will be hard pushed to further slash its tech spending as it enters a second round of cost cutting. And "cross-department collaboration" will be needed if better results are to be achieved.

Or so says HP UK top boss Nick Wilson, who described the Cabinet Office's methods to eke out budget reductions with all IT suppliers to date as "a little blunt".

"In the first round [the government said] 'just give us some money off'," he told The Channel. "To be honest it probably needed to say that because this kind of cost-cutting has not been done before by the government."

Now officials have pulled in procurement specialists from the private sector, and the government has got better at buying as one entity, said the HPer.

"This presents a lot of opportunity to some folk and is a threat to others," Wilson added.

But making savings will be "harder this time" after Whitehall officials initially targeted the obvious and less complex areas of spending, which hold up suppliers' bottom line. These easy wins certainly helped Cabinet Office Secretary Francis Maude cut over £800m from the government's IT spend in fiscal 2011.

"Things like cross-departmental collaboration will be needed. Bigger numbers can be saved, but they're harder [to secure] because some of the barriers are a bit higher," he said.

One example is the numerous data centres owned by different government departments and organisations that are ripe for consolidation - however this is not straight forward.

"The procurement is in different departments so the government needs to go out to each of the procurement practices to consolidate. Technically it's very feasible, but practically it's difficult to get five of them to agree to do similar things," said Wilson.

The Channel is awaiting a response from the Cabinet Office. ®

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