Unfolding plans 99 – I was even trending

This is part two of the presentation I made at the conference on ‘Transforming The Way We Work: A Vision for Mobile Public Sector.’  It is an abridged version.  OK, it is cheating a bit but I’m not the only blogger to have ever recycled his or her own material.  After all I did spend a fair chunk of time in preparing for it and as most of you weren’t’ there then it would be a waste to let it lie.

It is also the last because everything else I referred to has either already been in my blog or used in the book ‘Guerrilla Working’ (available on line if you search hard).

I talked to the audience about how in Durham County Council we have an ICT strategy.  Of course we have.  We used to issue it every three years but are now refreshing it on an annual basis.  Even that may not be often enough as the pace of technology changes.  The strategy has five themes and the first is Focus on Durham.  Everything we do should be focussed on the needs of our residents, visitors, businesses, partners.

I also told them that Durham is also the best place to site your data centre.  You don’t need air conditioning, you just open the doors.  It got a laugh.  And I wasn’t just talking about the city of Durham.  I went on to describe how Durham is a very diverse county with wild sweeping moors, dramatic costal cliffs, small former mining communities and picturesque villages.

We have four other themes in the strategy, better technology, better people, better engagement and better processes.  If what we are doing doesn’t fit into one of those then we should really question what we are doing.

But the point I wanted to make is that technology accounts for only a fifth of our ICT strategy.  People account for three fifths.

We have an architecture as well.  Of course we do.  These things are always difficult to draw in two dimensions but we have some applications, some customer interfaces, a CRM and middleware in-between.  We have a lot of activity going on in the customer space.  The personalisation agenda is leading to greater choice for our customers and we’ve launched two market places, one for social care and one for general product. Social media is playing a greater role in our relationships with customers and sentiment analysis is something we are looking to develop.

I then went on to speak about how we govern ourselves with three groups.  The Strategic ICT Group comprises directors and Head of service.  Their job is to set the direction and need for technology.  They also sign off on key decisions. The core group which comprises senior managers, take the direction and translate this into business requirements while the architecture group translates them into technology.  We do not have a single technical architect.  We have a group instead.  Information and decisions go round these three groups.

I described how we have a prioritisation methodology to ensure the council uses its resources appropriately.  We used to do this on an annual basis but now review our work plan every three months.  Even this may not be often enough.

Organisations need an ICT Strategy.  We have one.  It needs to tell you where you are going and how you are going to do it but above all it needs to underpin what your business is about.  The purpose of your technology should be to deliver the products and services your customers require.

I felt it was one of the best presentations I have delivered and certainly got some positive feedback.  For a nanosecond I think I was even trending.

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