Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We Are All Integrators

My email runs on an exchange server, my files sync with dropbox or sugarsync, my calendar is in MobileMe (soon to be iCloud), my contacts are split across my phone/LinkedIn/Facebook, I collaborate in podio/google+/basecamp, I track projects in trello etc

In short, many times every day I act as the integrator for all of these services on my desktop, phone and iPad.

As governments (and corporations) move increasingly to the cloud, their employees will inevitably integrate products themselves. The "single helpdesk number" that they can avail themselves of today will be largely useless as there won't be a single provider - and any provider that there is won't know the whole picture.

There is a huge wave of change coming to government IT as a result of the focus on cloud.

Some corporations already give their employees a handful of cash and let them buy whatever laptop or desktop they want - the days of a "government laptop" are perhaps as numbered as company cars were a few years ago.

Perhaps another step is a budget for "apps" being handed over - if an employee wants to use googleapps or Dropbox or some other service then they can subscribe themselves. Project teams will coalesce around the same few apps to make themselves more productive and as long as everyone doesn't want to use a different email service we'd all still be able to communicate. Does there even need to be a single email provider in a department or just a good directory?

In short, for many workers in government, they will soon integrate their IT at work just as they integrate it at home.

There are interesting implications for government there - how does FoI work, how does availability and integrity get dealt with/understood, how do custom/legacy apps work (the lengthy package and build process doesn't fit this) and so on.

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