Thursday, 13 March 2014

“The digital age is proving to be as transformational as the industrial age of the past”

This was the opening thought presented by Ken Eastwood, Director of Digital Nomads and Chair for the Mobile Government 2014 conference. The conference took place on the 6th March 2014 at the Victoria Park Plaza, London.

Chris Ensor, Head of the National Technical Authority for IA at CESG delivered the opening keynote presentation, which focused on the cyber ‘frontline’. He stressed the unprecedented scale, diversity and complexity of the cyber security threats presented by an increasing move to digital and mobile working. This was followed by a talk on ‘mobility reimagined’ presented by Richard Shipton and Richard Fulford from Microsoft. They stressed the importance of balancing control with choice and freedom, and promoted choice and interoperability.

Continuing an efficient, agile working environment in the cloud was the subject of discussion for Tonino Ciuffini, CIO at Warwickshire County Council. He detailed the benefits found from Cloud work, in particular the use of Google Apps for Business for 5,000+ users, which has achieved a cost saving of well over £250,000 pa. He stressed that the benefits of cloud are not theoretical and have been demonstrated over an 18 month period.

Katherine Morgan, RiO Project Manager and Helen Reading, Associate Director of Information and Technology from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust looked at driving forward mobile working across the NHS. As important it is to focus on successes, it’s also important to learn from mistakes along the way; rushing to use laptops, false expectations that laptops would connect anywhere and implementation coinciding with the establishment of new technical services were a outlined as key stumbling blocks.

The final speaker of the morning was Ian McCormack, Technical Director, Public Sector Services for CESG who gave technical insights into the security considerations surrounding BYOD and platform security.

The afternoon keynote presentation was delivered by Derek Hobbs, Head of Digital Services for the Department of Work and Pensions. He explained the DWP’s new approach to Digital Service Development through agile working. The keys to success, he suggested, are constant feedback, collaboration and inclusion, transparency and trust and finally challenge and debate.

Other speakers in the afternoon included Gregg Hardie, Head of Public Sector Sales for Blackberry. He raised the interesting question of BYOD, CYOD or COPE?  Dr Simon Rice, Group Manager for Technology at the ICO, then stated that 47% of UK adults use their personal device for work in his presentation which outlined new regulations, minimising penalties and maximising compliance.

The final speaker of the day was Ed Bullock, Head of Technical Support at Halton Housing Trust. His inspirational talk detailed the work undertaken by the housing trust to radically transform the working environment through closing 3 offices and introducing hot-desking, a paperless office, flexible working and mobile working. With an aim of having 90% of customers accessing services online by 2018 it’s clear, as with many public and wider sector organisations, that the next few years will see even more radical change.