The Coordination Office of Government Information Systems at the Prime Minister’s Office in Hungary has refuted suggestions that its ‘open systems’ sourcing policy is in a state of disarray in the face of criticisms from local suppliers. A statement released by X/Open Co Ltd, on August 7 last year, reported that Hungary had become the […]
The Coordination Office of Government Information Systems at the Prime Minister’s Office in Hungary has refuted suggestions that its ‘open systems’ sourcing policy is in a state of disarray in the face of criticisms from local suppliers. A statement released by X/Open Co Ltd, on August 7 last year, reported that Hungary had become the first European Administration to commit to using the key Unix standard XPG/3 in procurement. However, conformance to the open systems standard has not been made mandatory in major on-going and future tenders to automate the Tax office (APEH), social security system and National Employment Fund. The combined value of these contracts is likely to be well in excess of $50m.
Last year, ICL Plc country manager Ian Leach told Computergram At the time we applauded the decision, but we have yet to see much evidence of major compliance. If they carry it through, they will reap the benefits. The marketing representative in the government section of a large blue-chip US supplier who was not quoted in the original aritcle stated: When they asked DEC if they would supply open systems, DEC said ‘yes’, so they said, ‘OK we’ll continue to buy from DEC as before’. They believe XPG/3 is good and we saw a commitment to it, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. Reacting to the coverage, Janos Horvath, Senior Councillor of the Government Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Information Technology, said We have definite thoughts about our plans. The government does understand what XPG/3 means, it’s just a question of implementing it. Officials explained that as yet the Hungarian government had only stated its intention to make XPG/3 compliance mandatory and conceded that information on this policy statement had not yet reached all levels of government. Horvath went on to argue that as yet the government does not have the legal framework needed to insist on the technical specifications of computer systems bought by its independent agencies, where purchases are self-funded. Though Horvath argued it was naive to believe change would come in single process he announced that the Inter-Ministerial Committee is trying to create a system of centralised procurement with the aid of PHARE funding, in which outside consultants would have a role. In the interim, some confusion on the part of computer suppliers seems likely to remain a feature of the market. Horvath noted: All you can do is hope that people will get the right signals and try to modify – and eventually this will be policy and it is something they will have to face.