Tuesday, 22 September 2009

No, you can't access that web site

Am in London again for an IT Strategy meeting with fellow IT Directors - this time from outside of the HE sector. It's always really interesting to get a different perspective on things. The evening started with a presentation from a CIO from a London council. Lots of good stuff about aligning IT to the business and IT as an agent of organisational change. He quite rightly pointed out that it can be very difficult for CIOs if the organisation doesn't know what it wants from IT. But in my opinion it can be very difficult for the organisation to know that, if it doesn't know what IT can offer. As Henry Ford is supposed to have said, "If I'd listened to what my customers wanted I'd have given them a faster horse". Instead he gave them the motor car.

One thing that has really depressed me tonight is the lack of interaction with technology from a group of people who are responsible for promoting it in their organisation. Not a laptop in sight, and as for software - Facebook? Twitter? Social media? Oh, we don't want anything to do with that.

And the number of people who think that blocking all "non-work" web sites, especially access to social media, is acceptable. But much worse, the monitoring of what web sites employees visit and a judgement then being made about that person. No question of this being a management issue - it's seen as merely a technology one. Had a couple of full and frank discussions, but didn't get anywhere. Oh well. Glad I work in a University!


Anonymous said...

How we yearn to escape Managed XP at the University. Please, free us!

Chris Keene said...

Local Councils in particular seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are by nature cautious and (sometimes) risk adverse, and the papers ready to jump on anything seen as wasting money. After the recent reports about Portsmouth Council staff being banned from Facebook (reported as if they spend 70 hours a month of it, in reality it worked out as about 5mins a day), many in the press said they should only be able to access a small list of sites (i.e. explicitly unblocking).

A quick look at my browser history shows this is crazy. The amount of sites I look at to check a fact, find some information, and more is long and obscure. Often it's where ever Google leads me.

Frustrating and not helpful.

And a shame that most at the event seemed - how to say - lacking in their use of technology (how many iphones did you spot?!)


Chris Willis said...

Chris Keene: http://xkcd.com/627/

It got me through many a tricky Helpdesk enquiry!