Kimber's Corner: June 2012

31 May 2012, Carolyn Kimber

Well for those of you that either couldn't spare the time or just didn't bother to turn up I'm afraid you missed an excellent day at our Annual Conference. The morning session was chaired by our good friend, Richard Hooper, who conducted proceedings as efficiently as ever.

Your chairman, Michael Rowbory gave an excellent introduction to the day, which I won't dwell on as I understand he's posted it on the web for you to be able to read. Suffice it to say he not only highlighted some of our activities in the past year, but also how we are taking CMA forward through a number of new initiatives. Do read what he had to say.

Our first external speaker of the day was Jim Roberts of Deloitte Touche who told us that CIOs face three key challenges: building the capability to take advantage of the mobile trends of consumers focussing on usability of the applications to meet expectations, being a driver/beacon of big picture thinking for the business and to be able to run, support and affectively manage attitudes towards bring your own device (BYOD).

Jim was followed by the introductions to our two breakout sessions. First of all David Fardoe of Glasshouse Technologies who talked about how the drivers for moving to cloud based services are never technology based and have to be carefully managed to ensure a successful migration that fits with existing business processes.

He was joined by Paul Jackson of Cable & Wireless who told us that despite the concept of cloud having been around since 1955, the reason that most businesses have failed is due to a lack of will to do it caused by 'a generation thing' due to our predisposition towards security and control.

The alternative breakout session on mobility was introduced by Rory Duncan of Dimension Data who predicted that 50 per cent of business will be deploying tablets by 2015 as a better and cheaper way of delivering the required applications.

Organisations are going to have to consider devices, access control, security, the operating system, ownership of the device, the supporting structure and ownership of the data on the device - to name but a few! He had brought along an army of specialists to assist the breakouts that covered applications, connectivity, support, security and policy.

We then proceeded to our pre-booked breakout sessions. The one I was in comprised half a dozen small tables which we sat around whilst the specialists came round at ten minute intervals to introduce their niche area and then take questions from all the participants around the table. Once the allotted time was complete we all congregated once more in the main conference room to hear the feedback from each topic.

The morning's concluding presentation was the first of three keynotes based on how ICT is playing a huge part in this year's Olympic games. It was delivered by Tim Boden, Technical Director London 2012 Delivery Programme at BT.

He took us through this huge, highly visible, logistical challenge with immovable deadlines which has had to be resourced in parallel with existing day to day business. The Olympics and Paralympics will be the equivalent of 46 world championships with BT handling 60 gigabytes of data per second over its core network and supporting the official Olympic website handling 100 terabytes of data per day - no pressure there then!

Tim took us through the development of the project, its key principles, highlighting the various challenges not least of which is the lack of venue availability at some of the venues due to other activities - for example Horse Guards' Parade, Lords and Wimbledon. We learnt an incredible amount about all the effort BT has put into this mammoth project and to quote his conclusion "... telecoms is critical to the success of the Olympics - the games can't happen without it"

After lunch we had a change of chairmen to Stuart Revell of the ICT KTN, our co-hosts for the day and after given a brief overview of his organisation he then summarised the activity that I've been mentioning regarding the UK Trade and Investment, ICT Sector legacy programme and in particular the British Business Embassy at Lancaster House on 3 August.

He made an offer to the audience that if anyone could put us in touch with an overseas contact that wants to do business, invest or partner with a UK ICT organisation to get in touch with us and the introducer will also be invited to Lancaster House. Now there's an offer and you know how to get in touch with me.

We continued with our Olympics theme by having our minds blow away by Cait O'Riordan from 2012 Digital Products at the BBC, which has the UK sole right for broadcast whether it be via connected TV, radio, mobiles, tablets, video or the internet. They will be brining every sport from every venue to everyone whenever and wherever they want it - definitely the first time that the audience will get total control.

There will be a live, interactive video player at being fed up to 24 simultaneous high definition live streams of content from the 26 sports and 311 medal events. In addition to this there will be a phenomenal amount of content available ranging from a page for every single athlete, every event, every venue through to every medal ceremony.

This will provide a lasting digital legacy that will be harnessed for future big events including Glastonbury, Wimbledon etc. Definitely a case for having an internet connected HDTV - provided you've got broadband of course!

Our last Olympic presentation was from a different angle with Steve Shorey from the Metropolitan Police Olympic Safety and Security Programme telling us about some of the challenges they are facing this summer and how they are utilising ICT to meet the demands.

Very much like BT, they too have 'business as usual to cope with' the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, cricket, the Notting Hill Carnival (which falls between the Olympics and Paralympics) and the start of the football season, which kicks off in August too. They started planning for the possibility we would host the Olympics in 2003 and have been hard at it ever since.

Considering they have to protect people, prepare and mitigate risks, identify and disrupt potential crime, have the ability to command and control police officers and provide the resources to do that, have to engage with the public, the international community, all core stakeholders and with IT suppliers - there's been a lot to do. But, like the previous two speaker everything is running to or ahead of schedule with an incredible amount of testing to mitigate as many risks as possible.

We moved onto our second set of breakouts, which again featured introductions. Neil Hughes of Vodafone described how their CEO had instigated an internal programme to use their own products and services to focus on his vision of using unified communications implemented through the point of convergence being within the cloud, mobility at its core and with a choice of devices and user orientated apps. This involved a high degree of staff involvement, which was critical to the project's success.

We then heard from Shane Taylor of Esselar who pointed out that the industry has now moved to the term 'mobile IT' rather than 'enterprise mobility' as it has now moved away from being just a bolt on service to being integrated with other communications services.

In addition industry has moved to the term mobile device management (MDM) the benefit of being able to identify how to manage corporate and employee owned devices, roaming cost management, wireless infrastructure overload, and mobile applications.

The two sessions were held in the same format as those in the morning with feedback to the whole audience at the end.

Our final speaker of the day was Cliff Evans from CapGemini who looked at future growth challenges for the new digital reality businesses are facing. He showed how Burberry has adopted a customer vision that maintains that you have to be totally connected with everyone who touches your brand because if you don't do that you don't know what you business model is in five years.

They therefore embrace all customer contact points through all medias, which even includes all fashion shows being done online. He went on to look at how consumers' and employees' expectations are changing along with daily work patterns that are no longer confined to traditional time boundaries.

This in turn is changing the role of the IT function. This is having to learn to trust not only the users, but also those organisations that they may have to connect with through the 'federated' organisations such as eBay that they have no contractual arrangements with and which, in many cases have different charging methods and commercial models that impacts on budget control. All this will require very different skill sets and a balance between what happens in an organisation from the inside as well as what happens to it from the outside.

All this combined will have an impact upon the business which will happen rapidly - no longer incrementally but step changes, which are already happening in the retail trade but will soon move onto other areas such as the telcos, banks, travel, etc. He maintained that the closer you are to the customer and the digital process, that's when the change occurs, which can destroy or create a revenue stream.

Cliff followed with a look at personal identities and whether, once the UK government's federated identity management project is rolled out in a couple of years, people will begin to manage their own identities rather than giving them away all over the place as at present. All in all a very entertaining and thought provoking session.

We wrapped up the event with a very enjoyable networking session over drinks and canapés kindly hosted by Openreach who chose to leave us to enjoy their hospitality without interruption, which was much appreciated.

All in all, it was a superb day and thanks must go to the chairmen, the speakers, the facilitators, the sponsors, the attendees and all the BCS staff that made it happen. Well done everyone and here's looking forward to the next one.

Warmest wishes

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