Interview with John Powell, Alfresco Founder addressing his views on open source adoption in the public sector

The annual Open Gov Summit hosted by Zaizi revealed encouraging progress for open source in the public sector, helped by the government’s decision to adopt open standards last November.

This year’s debate also emphasised the growing relevance of Cloud as organisations migrate to more open, flexible architectures and deliver applications through a wider range of devices. We talked to John Powell, Founder of Alfresco Software on the day to understand his take on the current state of open source adoption and whether enough is being done to inform public sector decision makers about the benefits of open source and cloud for their organisations.

What Is The Current State Of Open Source In The Public Sector?

John talked about how important the most significant changes in technology are to government and the pressing need to embrace them, touching on the effects of Twitter in the middle east uprisings and the proposed PIPA law in America.  As the Government made a conscious decision to reform strategy in 2005 with the Cabinet office publishing an open source strategy, although being innovative, forward thinking and ahead in comparison to other Governments in the world, he addressed that adoption of this strategy has taken a long time to develop and for it to become a significant factor in how Government procure their IT systems.  

Why The Need For Change Now?

He felt that the reason this is now imperative and being driven forward is the change that has to be addressed for government organisations to work effectively in a digital world. There is the need for an environment where people can rapidly collaborate, where the information from each party is very different, and where there is a need to share lots of files. In a lot of organisations, each individual works in a slightly different way on each case and so it can be very difficult to find documents. With a company’s security processes protecting the internal content, it can be difficult for counter parties to access the information they need. People have tried many different ways to solve these issues, resulting in the use of a large number of different information silos in use within an organisation. The questions is how to bring all this IT together again. John discussed how Alfresco helps to solve the problem by bringing all the information into the cloud, allowing all parties to access it at any time.

Do You Think Enough Is Being Done To Inform The Right People In The Public Sector?

John went on to discuss how he feels that media coverage in this country around this has been poor making it difficult for Government to get an independent view of the UK technologies out there.  With emphasis placed on the big technology giants in the US – the likes of Apple, Google, Oracle & with media gathering their information and insight from here, it makes it more difficult to get a realistic view of the current state of play in the UK.

Watch below the full interview clip from John Powell, Founder of Alfresco addressing the capabilities of the Alfresco hybrid model and how this resolves security and other concerns public decision makers may have. 

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