Guest Blogpost from Adrian Scaife, NOMS, Ministry of Justice
Right now is the most exciting time to be working in IT in government. The tidal waves coming out of Cabinet Office are like nothing we have seen before, and along with that, the right governance is in place, with personal buy-in and ownership from departmental CIO’s to drive new initiatives into business as usual.
Let’s have a quick review of some of the activity over the last year:
- IT Strategy in Apr 11
- Implementation Plans in Oct 11
- Cloud, EUD, Green ICT & Capability strategies in Oct 11
- GDS alpha.gov and now beta.gov
- G-Cloud Framework launched Oct 11
- Cloud Store due to go live Feb-Mar 12
- ‘The Unacceptable’
- The GDS blog
- Engagement with SME’s and global-class cloud providers
- Senior officials blogging and tweeting
If you haven’t noticed any of the above, you need to get out more! Spend less time on your firewalled departmental intranet and catch up with the news on the web.
Ever since I have been working in central government ICT it has been tedious, expensive, and slow; but now that’s changing to exciting, cheap, and fast. How great is that? Finally I can give my customers what they want when they want it, instead of leaving the office every day carrying the burden that I have been an apologist for a sick system.
What has enabled this?
- Cloud Computing offers utility services that are cheaper, better and faster to provision
- Commodity devices that are cheaper, better, and faster to deliver
What’s holding us back?
Is it disruptive? Of course it is! Is that a good thing? Yes! I agree with Bill McCluggage, that having no money is the best thing that has happened to Government IT, and probably for wider government as well. Why? Because it forces a step change. If we are going to deliver ‘better for less’ we need to find new ways of doing things. Anyone who tells you we can deliver better for less by doing what we have always done is conning you. We need to do things differently if we are to contribute to meeting SR10 targets, and government IT has a huge amount to offer in reducing existing IT budgets, in enabling business efficiencies, and in delivering the next generation of ICT enabled citizen-facing services.
For the first time since I have been working in central government ICT I have confidence in the vision and in the people who are executing it. I and others have been railing about some of this stuff for years, and I have to keep pinching myself to believe things really are finally changing for the better. Keep your eyes peeled for Operation Step Change and the BYOD initiative.
Get with the programme: as Bob Dylan said, “you better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a’ changing.”