Sunday, February 16, 2003

Talking of States of the Nation

Mark Forman is quoted in a speech last Tuesday as noting a significant need within government for technologically-savvy people who can lead e-government projects, “We’re looking for people who can give us solutions. Now we have too many people with an invested interest in the status quo ... IT projects will need managers who can motivate employees and build on recent progress in overcoming a cultural resistance to change ... IT managers will have to sharpen their skills in making good business cases for project funding and in avoiding cost overruns, Forman said. They will need to find ways to save money by taking advantage of buying large quantities, standardizing equipment, using existing technology to its full capacity and eliminating redundant systems Mark's right on all of his points. The same is true for the UK. My worry is that the best people are staying put in the private sector now, keeping their heads down until the economy turns. Such people have rarely shown a desire to work for the public sector anyway. My other worry is that, increasingly, so-called IT projects are only 40% about IT with a huge requirement to understand the business, the way people talk to government, the standards that need to be in place and the politics within an organisation. That's a pretty tall list of skills for a project manager! Mark seems to be on the road a lot recently. A few days earlier he made a speech on the futility of government departments all buying different things and almost purposefully making them impossible to integrate later (the latter my words, not his). There's an awful lot of redundancy" in the government as a result of multiple agencies performing the same functions, including human resource services. We have to fix the lines of the business if we really are going to get the productivity out of IT investments. Rather than buy 50 different department software, licenses ... can we leverage the 'buy once use many concept'" for licensing software and other IT products Another piece in FCW looks at the work that will have to be done on architectures to help sort this problem out.

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