Technology leaders in central government departments have been forced to put their Gartner subscriptions on hold as Whitehall aims to move to share resources centrally.
Sources said that 54 subscriptions to the powerful IT analyst house, costing £45,000 each, have been blocked. Those spearheading the move said that some government IT organisations are still trying to place orders with Gartner, but these are being blocked by the Cabinet Office.
Each of the subscriptions equates to more than the cost of a child’s education at the prestigious Eton school for a year - a comparison made by those implementing the changes.
With so many subscriptions spread across siloes in central departments, the government hopes it can move to a model whereby subscriptions and resources are shared centrally. This should cut out costs and also encourage cross-department collaboration between technology chiefs in Whitehall – something that is still proving challenging.
Gartner said that it doesn’t discuss the terms of its client engagements, but when asked how it would now deliver value to government going forward, a spokesperson said: “I can tell you there has not been a change to our business model”.
These changes come as the government attempts to move away from the traditional approach to IT leadership, with the CIO role increasingly being replaced with chief technology officer and chief digital officer roles.
The Government Digital Service (GDS), headed up by Mike Bracken, hopes to transform the services created by government into agile, digital offerings. It wants to move away from the costly, legacy IT infrastructures that have been implemented by what are routinely dubbed in Whitehall an ‘oligopoly’ of suppliers.
GDS expects that this could save taxpayers £1.7 billion a year after 2015.
The changes to Gartner subscriptions can be seen as another attempt by those driving the 'digital by default' agenda to shine the light on technology leaders in government that aren’t willing to get behind the move away from the traditional approach to IT. Those implementing the block don’t want tech chiefs hiding behind a costly subscription that doesn’t support digital transformation.
The 'digital by default' agenda was discussed by HMRC CIO Mark Hall in an interview with CIO last month.