We had an open forum this morning for anyone in the department who wanted to come along to discuss our technology strategy, and how we’re going to implement it. It was well attended – about 50 people from all sections.
Lots of discussion about the sorts of services we offer, and not surprisingly in the current climate, what services we should be withdrawing in order to cope with a reduced level of resource and at the same time, an increasing demand for new IT services. There was a general view that we don’t measure service usage enough – if we don’t know who’s using services we can’t measure their impact and make informed decisions about their development or discontinuation.
Where we do have data, it’s obvious that some services we offer don’t have a high level of usage - is that because we don’t advertise them enough, or don’t help departments to get the best use out of systems, or is it that there’s a certain amount of business process change needed and departments aren’t prepared or able to put the effort in? Answer (in my view) yes, definitely.
There was a view expressed that we should be doing less development of systems in-house and more integration and improvements to the usability of systems. Users these days want joined up services with easy to use web front ends. Unfortunately the systems we buy often don’t provide either – the back end functionality being good, but the user experience poor. Is that where we should be putting our effort? Again - I think yes!
Delivery of services through our portal is our strategy, although there were a (small) few who didn’t see the point in that. Mainly those who don’t use portals and can’t see that the effort involved is worth it. I must admit I am always surprised that we have developers who don’t use our own services, and don’t use web 2.0 technologies, including readily available portals such as iGoogle.
We talked about exposing functionality thought the portal, so that users don’t actually have to be in a system to carry out common functions. We’ve done that with some services, but our strategy is to do it with many more. Technically that won’t be easy, but it’s what we’re aiming for. After all, they put a man on the moon forty years ago, so anything should be possible….