Everyday I read the book

It was Elvis Costello that sang ‘Everyday I write the book’. Well sometimes we benefit from just reading them...

As well as fulfilling our aim to help IT professionals at all stages of their career, BCS also want to arm them with practical help in their day to day jobs. One way of doing this is through our books programme.

Recently we published a book specifically aimed at those who, despite being told of the benefits of sophisticated modern off-the-shelf IT products, find they don't get the benefits they expected.

Getting off-the shelf IT solutions is not the fever-dream of a madman, but it needs to be approached correctly. The BCS book ‘Off the shelf IT solutions’ presents a proven decision-making process to help IT and business managers select an off-the-shelf software product that best fits the needs of their organisation, whether in the commercial or public sector.

The book presents a structured approach to managing stakeholders, requirements and candidate IT vendors and it does so in a practical manner. It has a 'how-to' guide to help deliver a rigorous, defensible decision within meaningful timescales. As well as illustrating the techniques, it includes case studies from business managers who have been through the process. Useful templates and additional articles are available by download from the supporting website.

In a related vein, and in keeping with the now well recognised need for business and technology to align, is the book ‘Continual Service Improvement Manager’ - which looks at the person tasked with the job.

The books analyses the role of the continual service improvement manager in aligning IT services to evolving business needs by identifying and implementing improvements that support business processes and drive quality service management. The book gives an introduction to the role, covering areas such as purpose, required skills, responsibilities, interface and career progression as well as tools, standards and frameworks that you would need to be aware of to do the job well.

To demonstrate the Institute’s commitment to analysing these kinds of roles, this book is part of a series (its subtitle is: ‘Careers in IT service management’). You can see others in the series, including tomes on the business relationship manager, the problem manager and more at the BCS book store (or via Amazon if that is more your thing - other online bookstores are available - however BCS members get a discount on our site!).

Read more at:

‘Continual Service Improvement Manager - Careers in IT service management’ by David Whapples

‘Off-The-Shelf IT Solutions - A practitioner's guide to selection and procurement’ by Martin Tate

Comments (5)

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  • 1
    Martin Tate wrote on 11th Jun 2015

    As author of one of the books mentioned, off-the-shelf selections, I value the raised profile, since the key issue with this type of project is that people usually underestimate the hazards. They find out (too late) that a formal approach was needed, or have used a standard procurement approach (usually unsuitable) or used gut-feel "I'll know it when I see it" decision-making where decision-making biases doomed the best solution https://hbr.org/2015/05/leaders-as-decision-architects
    The Foreword included in the book sample has an excellent before/after view of a project by a method client. See the Extras page for the sample, set of templates and workshop at Further Information. If buying a copy, pick up the discount code. http://www.bcs.org/offtheshelfextras

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  • 2
    Martin Tate wrote on 16th Jun 2015

    For the one-day workshop covering my off-the-shelf selection method in the book, check the BCS Event Calendar for June 24th. Use the booking link there for details, so subsequent bookings get the extra BCS member discount. http://www.bcs.org/category/10136

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  • 3
    Karen wrote on 16th Jun 2015

    If you're interested in reading more from the author, Martin has published a variety of articles, templates and checklists which can be accessed via http://shop.bcs.org/offtheshelfextras.asp

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  • 4
    Martin Tate wrote on 16th Jun 2015

    I should add that I would encourage other authors with methods for IT and projects to use the BCS process, rather than say self-publish. The good thing about ‘proper publishing’ is the many experienced eyes that look at the work and improve it – after you think it’s finished. The BCS were supportive of a first-time author, guiding while providing experience for the writing style, cover design, title, length, structure and of course more technical areas like editing, proofing and indexing. And their logo on the cover means something if you are a ‘knowledge professional’. Prospective authors can access the early guidance at ‘Submitting a proposal’ bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/1421

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  • 5
    ann moffatt wrote on 22nd Jun 2015

    hi paul,

    i read this post and your article on 'a new direction' in summer it now.

    i'm also impressed by what the bcs is doing to support women in ict and encourage more women into our profession.

    i joined our profession as a programmer in 1959. i served on several bcs committees, especially in the area of technical standards, and was the first woman to be elected to the bcs council.

    i have written a book about a woman's life in our profession. i submitted it to bcs publishing. the comment i received was that bcs publishing was focussing on 'technical' books. whilst i understand that sentiment i feel we could encourage more women to join our profession by telling the story of ordinary women.

    i had hoped to find your email address on the bcs website but can't find it so hope to contact you via your blog. pl send me your em address and i can tell you more.

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About the author
Paul Fletcher is the Group Chief Executive Officer of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. Paul joined BCS in 2014 after ten years at RM Education where he was Group Managing Director of the Education Technology Division. Prior to RM, Paul held senior management consultancy roles with A.T. Kearney and KPMG. He started his career in the Aerospace Industry. Paul is passionate about the role of IT in education and society as a whole.

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August 2017