Overhauling "fragmented" computer systems is so fraught with problems the federal government would save as little as C$40 million a year -- a fraction of the C$4 billion in cuts Stephen Harper needs to eliminate the deficit as promised.
An internal report commissioned by Public Works shows how difficult the proposed consolidation will be, and how modest the expected savings. "Savings may be challenging to harvest in the short term," says the July 2010 study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Public Works hired PriceWaterhouseCoopers in December 2009 on a C$2.5-million contract to examine data-centre consolidation. The July 2010 study notes the government operates 255 data centres, "from small closets to large dedicated facilities." Some 98 are in the Ottawa area, including the monster systems run by data-hungry institutions such as the Canada Revenue Agency and Statistics Canada. Most of the 157 centres outside the capital are much smaller.