Making IT good for society - the next steps

IT plays a massive part in all organisations today, and in society as a whole. That role extends far beyond the technology itself; business reputation rests on customer experience, and that experience is often underpinned by visible and invisible technology - whether it’s online secure shopping, banking or ensuring that logistics work efficiently. IT is behind it all.

This has led us, as an Institute, to consider our own role more closely - in the IT industry, and within society. In thinking about our strategy, we felt it was important to ‘start with the why’, before substantiating it with ‘how’ and ‘what’. Perhaps in the past we have tried to define ourselves by what we were, and how we operated. But in beginning by asking ‘Why?’ it wasn’t too hard to agree on the answer:

‘Making IT good for society.’

It’s what we kept coming back to. It’s simple, it’s memorable and we think it best encapsulates why we do what we do.

As a technical aside, we know the term IT doesn’t resonate with everyone - but we could easily substitute it for digital, computing, informatics or information systems depending on the context. The point remains: technology should benefit society, and we should operate on that basis.

Our three pillars, excellence, leadership, and community, explain how we go about delivering this. But it should always be the why that’s the driving force behind them. Because we do many different things as an institution, it’s important that we have a common point of reference to contextualise everything we do.

So, to bring the why strategy to life we are bringing together the professional and social aspects of key issues in a common cause under four campaign headings.

‘Recruitment and Capability’ is a core and continuing mission; ensuring that organisations and individuals have the right capability in IT to deliver their aims underpins what is good for society in almost every element of business, government and our community more generally. We’ll be celebrating apprentices and Registered IT Technicians and supporting employers in finding people with the right capability, and helping capable people find the right jobs.

We’ve already begun looking at the world of ‘Personal Data’ and kicked this off with a ‘Data for the Good of Everyone’ event. BCS is in a unique position to build a vision for how personal information could be used that will better align societal values and wealth creation. We’ll be working with organisations in context and collectively on what we can all do to create a world where data works for the good of everyone.

Technology has an immense and profound impact on ‘Health and Social Care’ and we’re working collectively to build accountable structures and a strong community of professionals. Informatics plays a critical role in the modernisation of the health system and our campaign drives a wider vision for health and social care technology.

Our ‘Education’ campaign is advancing the creation, study and application of knowledge in computing for the benefit of society. The subject is not only vibrant and growing, but more rigorous, more interdisciplinary, more experimental and more user-oriented than ever. By ensuring that knowledge is nurtured, invented and innovated we’re driving the success of computing in the future.

We make IT good for society by giving IT professionals a voice on the important issues of the day and empowering them to drive a positive change in the industry.

By aligning to this purpose we’ll make sure everything we do has the good of society at its heart.

We’re tremendously excited about the direction we’re taking, and we hope you are too. As a valued member of our institute, we hope you too want to make IT good for society, and can join us in rallying behind this vision.

We’re keen to hear your opinions, so please let us know what you think by sending your thoughts to: strategy@bcs.uk

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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.

See all posts by Paul Fletcher

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October 2017
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