As a civil servant, it’s a good week to talk about saving money. In the space of a week Sir Philip Green has challenged us to spend money ‘like our own’, we’ve seen the full list of quangos being scrapped and George Osbourne has just announced his plans for cuts totalling 19% of spending over four years.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, many of us in Government have recognised for a long time that – in digital marketing and UK government communications especially – it’s fun to be a frugalista. Here in the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) digital team we’re the kings and queens of low-cost/no-cost “freemium”  tools. We love helping BIS colleagues and those in our 33 partner organisations to do more with less; that includes sharing the love with our Huddle enterprise account.

We already have around 75 workspaces and 1,500 people all over the world using Huddle to develop (non-restricted) policy documents and to overcome creaky IT set-ups.

Increasingly though, we’re also offering Huddle workspaces as an alternative to intranets. As we merge more of our partner organisations’ websites onto our own platform we find that a clunky expensive intranet can usually be replaced with a workspace that’s easy to create and more fun to use. Small partner organisations don’t want to be subsumed into our intranet catering for 2,500+ people, so having their own workspace enables them to keep their own character, contacts and culture alive. The Council for Science and Technology has been our first guinea pig and we’re now planning to make a Huddle workspace intranet part of our “offer” to partner organisations who want to join the family of BIS websites. Huddle isn’t totally free of course but with our current package we think we can offer this at no additional cost to our partners – and therefore the taxpayer – Viva la frugalista!


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