Report: Use ODF, Save 550 Million

The Danish debates about open standards continues. Over at Ingeniøren, we are covering the development extensively and continuously, but only in Danish. On Monday, we brought a story with roughly the same title as this entry’s title.

The story is about the so-called Rambøll-report, which is a report about the costs related to switching to open standards for document formats in the Danish government. The report is made by Rambøll Management, a Danish consultancy, on behalf of The Danish Open Source Business Association (OSL).

The report establishes three scenarios for the development:

Scenario 1: Microsoft Office and ECMA Office Open XML. Would cost 380 million kroner over 5 years with migration to MS Office 2007; 105 million kroner if using current versions with plug-in.

Scenario 2: OpenOffice.org and ODF. Would cost 255 million kroner over 5 years, covering all migrations costs plus already existing MS licence costs until outphased.

Scenario 3: Microsoft Office (with plug-in) and ODF. Would have only marginally higher costs than in scenario 1.

The Open Source Business Association Rambøll Management estimates that the whole of government (including local government) could save 550 million kroner by migrating to OpenOffice.org and ODF. That’s around 94 million US Dollars. Quite a lot of money for a small country like Denmark.

Three politicians from Parliament, Morten Helveg, Morten Messerschmidt and Anne Grete Holmsgaard, participated in the press conference about the report on Monday. These three were the driving forces behind B103, the Parliamentary decision about open standards. All three expressed satisfaction with and support to the report’s recommendations. Messerschmidt even offered to personally bring it over to the Minister of Finance, who on Tuesday will present the Annual Budget.

There are no official comments from Government. Last week, a governmental committee published a report about interoperability. That report recommended a number of initiatives, but was also criticised for being indecisive on many issues, for example those related to document formats. The Parliament Order states that government must use open standards, and sets January 1, 2008 as a deadline for the implementation. “It’s hardly time to be indecisive now”, as Morten Helveg commented.

In an unsurprising move, Microsoft Denmark totally dismissed the Rambøll-report. They were also the first to comment on the governmental report, which they found good and constructive.

Update: By request of Rambøll Management, we brought an update. Their report only speaks about the state, and they will not draw conclusions for the complete public sector. The $ 94 million figure is suggested by the Open Source Business Association, based on data from IDC.

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5 Comments.

  • […] By way of Bob Sutor’s blog, I read John Gotze account on how Denmark can save a lot of money if it goes down the Open Document Format path. […]

  • […] I haven’t blogged in a week, and I figured I should post some thoughts before heading out for the three day weekend: American Football : It’s good to see football season starting up again. I went to the Seahawk vs. Raider game last night with my brother and they had a pretty good showing. The first Husky game is tomorrow and that should be fun. My wife doesn’t really like football but somehow I got her to agree to come with me to at least 5 of the Husky games this year which should be fun. Ecma Standard : The updated spec has been out for a week now, and I think more people really like the new organization structure. I think people are also pretty impressed with the amount of work that the TC has been able to accomplish over the past 9 months. It’s really an amazing group of people. Feedback on the standard : We’re seeing some public feedback coming in on the updated drafts. For anyone interested in providing feedback, just go to this site, and the editor will receive your comments and add them to the issue list. Status report on Redmond Face-to-face : I don’t think I ever provided a link to the status report from the Redmond face-to-face meetings we had a couple weeks ago. I talked about it a bit, but if you want the official word, you can go here: http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/TC45-2006-50.htm. Some cool things to note from the report were that we: Devoted a large part of the time to reviewing and solving open issues. Approved a set of format and schema changes. Completed the Conformance clause and defined conformance requirements for arithmetic precision in SpreadsheetML. Completed the SpreadsheetML formula specification. Revised the DrawingML 2D transform specification. Redefined how to optionally insert controls (e.g., ActiveX, Java applets, etc) to support multiple platforms. Structured the standard into five parts to improve its overall readability. Planned to provide the Office Open XML Schemas in the Relax-NG format as an informative section in a future draft, in addition to the normative W3C XML Schema Definitions. Final draft of the Ecma spec : It’s really exciting that we’re now just about a month away from finalizing the spec. We’re meeting again face-to-face in Norway at the end of this month. I turn 30 in a couple weeks, and a couple weeks after that we ship the Open XML format spec. Should be a great month! Confusion between applications and formats : I had some people point me at this blog post the other day, and there is definitely some contradictory information there. While I won’t get into the whole discussion around the TCO of Office vs. OpenOffice, I do want to point out that it’s really odd that folks are claiming that the study somehow proved that ODF would save money. The study actually says that the costs of using MS Office with Open XML and MS Office with ODF were the same (meaning the formats had no impact). So the study was really just trying to say that using OpenOffice (regardless of format) is a lower cost than that of using Microsoft Office (regardless of format). So I’m not really sure how the file formats got referenced in the article, but there have been confusions like this in the past. Another point people still don’t seem to be aware of is that existing MS Office customers get to use Open XML and ODF for free. Office 2007 is not a requirement to use either, so there is no payment required at all to start using the new Open XML formats. I’ll leave it to others though to debate the accuracy of the study in terms of the TCO of the applications themselves (obviously I have a different opinion J). Well, have a great weekend everyone. I’ll start blogging more about interesting pieces of the spec next week for those of you who don’t have the time to read through all 5000 pages. -Brian Filed Under: Office 2007 […]

  • […] [2006-09-02]: Μία έκθεση από την Δανία, που αφορά τον δημόσιο τομέα και συγκρίνει το κόστος μετάβασης στο νέο Microsoft Office με εκείνο για το OpenOffice με ODF, καταλήγει ότι η δεύτερη λύση είναι μακράν οικονομικότερη. […]

  • John,

    How many users does this report covers ?

  • […] Yesterday morning, the involved parliamentarians and the minister met in a closed meeting. Less than a day before that meeting, the minister had released 2 reports to the parliamentarians and publically in a three (!) days long hearing. The reports, in Danish only, examine the economic consequences of mandating standards in various areas; one report dedicated to the consequences of choosing ODF. It’ll cost 180 million kroner. Yeah, right. The reports are made by Rambøll Management (yes, them, see also their explaning the appearent shift in findings). […]

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