Microsoft Eyes Hybrid Open Source Approach to Public Sector Work

Neil Merrett | Government Computing | October 24, 2016

Software giant says multi-platform environment that includes Linux operating systems and Android have driven it towards use of more open standards in how it provides technologies and services

Microsoft is increasingly looking at a hybrid approach that takes advantage of both proprietary enterprise IT and open source technologies for public sector projects to better meet the needs of customers in a multi-platform technology environment. Michael Wignall, national technology officer at Microsoft UK, said that despite being a company long associated with proprietary software and technology changing user needs had facilitated a switch towards providing solutions that offer at least some open source components in the area of Android devices and other platforms. 

One such example is in its work around development of the NHS Choices site. This so-called hybrid model is expected to be part of a more general approach to “embracing openness” as a company. Open source software, whereby source code is made available via licence that can be amended and distributed to organisations or individuals for any purpose, is finding itself being used in healthcare and other public sector services.

While a handful of UK health trusts have already moved to incorporate open source technologies, perceptions around security, and the initial need for clearer planning and user involvement in system design are highlighted as potential challenges to best meet the potential benefits. As part of this focus, Microsoft said it was looking to not only collaborate with suppliers and other companies developing open source solutions, but also to try and contribute to developments within the wider open source community, such as the Powershell Scripting language...