by Richard Steel

Microsoft, the Olympics and license costs

Jul 24, 20083 mins
IT Strategy

Today started with a trip to Parsons Green to do a bit of filming for Socitm’s Conference and its promotion; a round trip of 3 hours + for a similar number of minutes’ video. I wished I’d checked my calendar earlier and been a bit more prepared – like having my hair cut!

Back at Direct House, Geoff and I had a meeting with Sarah Fasey and Mark Taylor from Microsoft. Mark is the Director who now leads on Microsoft potential support of, and engagement with, the 2012 Olympics, which, of course, is what the meeting was about. We had fairly wide-ranging discussions of potential opportunities, and agreed to set-up a work-shop involving the five Olympic boroughs and other key stakeholders from areas like regeneration and health, about October, to further develop ideas with partners.

I had lunch with James Lee and Alf Raju for an update on the Public Sector Mobile Portal. Progress is now very good, although the launch will be delayed a couple of weeks.

Rob Anderson, of OGC Buying Solutions, came to see me in the afternoon, as part of information gathering he’s doing about Local Government requirements, as preparation for the Software Licensing renegotiation project.

Incidentally, the background to this is that the previous agreement on public sector licensing expired at the end of March. Microsoft provided an extension to the end of June to enable continuation of discussions that were in progress, but that finally did not bear fruit. Microsoft and OGC BS then agreed to a further contract extension to the end of next March, but on a lower discount rate, to enable this new project approach to proceed.

We discussed a lot of the obvious, and not-so-obvious, issues in what is a very difficult area. i.e. The need to be able to adjust prices down, as easily as up, to take account of volume variations, licensing in partnerships that may involve public, private and third sectors, and ultimately whole communities, amalgamating emerging technologies – virtualisation, thin client, Software-as-a-Service, reconciling different licensing terms for different sectors, software metering….

The inaugural Project Board meeting is next Thursday, but I can’t attend as it conflicts with a Government Connect Programme Board. I’m therefore hoping that a Socitm Member from the Shared Learning Group will be able to represent me.

There was lots in the news today, that caught my eye (and I’ve asked for reassurance that Newham isn’t vulnerable to the Asprox virus that seems to have caught-out some of our peers) but the item I decided worth commenting on is ComputerWorldUK’s article about the potential for SharePoint chaos because it does parallel concerns we have had, and justifies our cautious approach!