Migrating to the second choice

Still not fallen off the world, just straight back into travel again - in fact, I just came back from a fascinating dinner with Peter Quinn here in Brussels, where I arrived earlier from Amsterdam after an impossibly early flight this morning from Southampton. Peter makes an excellent point as he discusses the need for legislation to control the lock-in that's cropped up all over government IT.

He says that it didn't take a law to create the lock-in, just lots of isolated, incremental decisions by CIOs all over every government. So while we're waiting for the equivalent of anti-trust legislation over file formats and protocols (which is surely coming, by the way), there's no reason why informed purchasing decisions shouldn't also be removing the lock-in one department at a time.

One question that needs asking, for example, are what are the exit costs of a decision. People are hot on procurement costs and "TCO", but the biggest problem we all face is that CIOs are able to make decisions without having to take into account the needs of the people who will have to undo their decisions.

My proposal: include in the procurement cost a calculation of the cost of migration from the number one solution on the short-list to the number two solution on the shortlist. That should give a good indication of the mininum exit costs from a given procurement.

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