The Scottish Government has failed to understand the opportunities provided by unified communications, according to a supplier of the technology.
Public agencies such as local authorities and NHS boards could easily adopt unified communications systems to integrate telephony, email, instant messaging, video conferencing and data storage, said Paul Miller, sales director at Digital IP.
It would save money and improve services, but he added: “They’re not going to do it on their own, that has to come from the Scottish Government.” Among public organisations, Miller says only the education sector has been open to change.
The system allows users to access any part of their employer’s stored data remotely, while all communications – run by a single outside web-based provider – are free. Its proponents argue that done right it improves efficiency, flexibility, innovation, security and cuts costs dramatically.
Miller finds the lack of take-up, by the Scottish public sector in particular, baffling. His firm is currently delivering unified communications as part of two major public sector shared services projects, but both are in England. Miller adds that despite its support for efficiencies and streamlining, the Scottish Government has completely failed to understand the opportunities provided.
The reticence, he believes, comes from a public sector mindset that equates shared services to job cuts. “You can save costs without necessarily cutting staff,” he said.