The New Zealand Open Source Society and Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Information Management today launched an IT vendor capability survey, as part of the Public Sector Remix project.
The Remix project involves a number of central, regional and local government agencies working together to trial free software for common desktop tasks such as document management, mail, calendar and browser-based information services.
Participating agencies identified lack of support as a barrier to more widespread adoption of free software on the desktop. Agencies cannot adopt free software without proper support and vendors will not build support capabilities without demand.
To find out what services IT vendors can offer to support a free software desktop, the Society is hosting an online survey.
The Society’s President, Don Christie, said, “This is the first survey of its kind in New Zealand. At the moment, we simply don’t know what vendor capabilities are out there.”
The survey is designed to find out what resources and services New Zealand IT companies can provide, what free software projects they participate in, and their track records of delivering desktop support services to small, medium and large public sector organisations. Sid Huff, Head of the School of Information Management, said, “We are starting to see increased interest in using free software on the desktop in many countries. This survey will assess the extent to which New Zealand IT vendors share this interest, and their ability to provide support to other organisations.”
“Companies are often not aware of the capabilities of their staff,” said Christie. “A little due diligence goes a long way in discovering capability and interest from staff, who may have never been asked what they can do.”
The survey also invites participants to describe the benefits they get from using free software on the desktop. “Everyone accepts the benefits of free software in the server room,” said Christie. “We’d like to hear some desktop success stories too.”
The Society encourages companies large and small to participate.
“By participating in the survey, IT vendors will help to accelerate use of free software on public sector desktops,” Christie said. “This will give agencies more choice and create business opportunities for New Zealand companies.”
The survey is the third leg of the Public Sector Remix project — a free desktop software stack, policies to ensure agencies actively and fairly assess free software, and services to deploy and support free desktops. “To escape the status quo, you need all three,” said Christie.
The survey starts at http://survey.publicsectorremix.org.nz/index.php?sid=87388&lang=en.
To learn more about the Public Sector Remix project and the IT vendor capability survey, call Don Christie on 0274 707 814.