Tag Archives: Cloud Computing

Irish government seeking to appoint a CIO

Just read this today:

Chief Information Officer for the Irish Government

 This is an exceptional opportunity for an experienced ICT professional to influence a major change programme, to provide guidance and leadership at the executive level across the entire IT spectrum, and to take responsibility for the development of the ICT strategy for Government and the wider public service.

Reporting to the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, this position will hold ultimate responsibility for the strategic direction of technology in support of the wider mission and strategic change objectives in the Public Sector. The successful candidate will lead the CIO Council and will drive the implementation of the eGovernment and Cloud Computing strategies.

The successful candidate will have experience of developing technology strategy and delivery of leading edge large scale ICT solutions in a complex environment.

This is a five year fixed-term contract. 

Will be interesting to see ho this role evolves/ develops…’driving the implementation of eGovernment and Cloud Computing strategies’.

The Irish Government has demonstrated to potential of IT through initiatives such as ROS – supporting/ driving self assessment, cash collection. process automation.  And yet it continues to be burdened by a number of inefficient processes and barriers to change.

I have commented previously on my reservations about the CIO role in industry – because of what is expected.  These challenges will be no less in public life.  I commend ‘the Real Business of IT – How CIOs Create and Communicate Value’ (Hunter & Westerman)  to the successful applicant.  The CIO will need a Minister (and Ministers) committed to leveraging IT and making the changes.  Ultimately  the  realisation of the benefits of eGovernment and cloud strategies should be another measure of the success or failure of government leadership.  The CIO has the potential to assist Government in succeeding.

 

 

Moving on from traditional thinking

I guess it’s challenging for all of us who have worked for the last 25 years.  In my final year in Trinity College Dublin I was writing Assembler for the Motorola 68000 chip.  The Mac was about to burst on the scene.  Since then I have worked in a Professional Service Firm, my own IT consulting business and with a number of start up businesses.

Many of us have come to think of the business entity as the key business unit – be it a company, a group of companies, a sole trader, a partnership.  And businesses do business with other businesses – ordering, buying, selling, etc.  And each business operates to a set of standards – standards to meet their own expectations and those of their customers.  Many of the standards are driven, underpinned or enforced by external agencies e.g. State, Professional bodies, Insurerers, regulators.

The web has had all sorts of impacts on business – the emergence of online B2B abd B2C, major reengineering of processes and business themselves, globalisation on a par not expected.

And now the web is throwing new opportunities and challenges at all of us.  In fact one can only wonder if we had had this web 10 years ago what types of businesses would have been built over the last 10 years?  Which businesses would never have existed?

Even back in 1984 in TCD we were collaborating – as we worked in a group of three students to design our basic computer.  We also collaborated on the cricket field as we set traps for opposition batsmen.  And we collaborated in preparing for exams – through sharing of lecture notes, etc.

But what we are witnessing now is a series of developments – Social networking, Semantic web, the cloud – which when combined mean that those who do not collaborate risk being eliminated.  We have often discussed the importance of knowledge management within the organisation – even between partner organisations.  However the tools beginning to emerge now promise to facilitate collaboration and knowledge management on a scale previously unimagined – right across the globe, the web and time.  ultimately traditional business practices and structures must be transformed to enable society to benefit from what’s beginning to happen.

McKinsey – cold shower for the cloud

McKinsey’s report of 15th April re cloud computing seems to be pointing out a few home truths re costs of cloud computing.  In fairness there are now so many variations in cloud computing (and more to come) that generalisations become a little pointless.  The Techcrunch review of the McKinsey report makes for interesting reading.

Seems to me that variants of the cloud have real appeal for smaller businesses, businesses not sure how much processing power they require for their web facing presences and business experimenting with new customer facing applications.  Alos, wothout doubt, the ability to run ‘private clouds’ will have its application.

Where is cloud computing in Ireland?

The offerings are global – and available (Amazon, Google, Salesforce, etc.).  There are attractions particularly in terms of avoiding major capital expenditure, scaling the infrastructure investment as demand for the business application grows. The 'private cloud' is now also an option.  There are concerns – how do I pick the right vendor, will it prove expensive in the long run?  However it seems to me that for a country like Ireland and for entrepreneurs here trying to build out businesses to kickstart our serious challenged economy, cloud computing offers a great way to push forward, with limited capital outlay but all the scalability to build web/ global business.

Dion Hinchcliffe's well thought out piece provides a more comprehensive list of some of the pros & cons.  Time to move forward.

web 2.0 – how seriously are we taking it?

Dion Hinchcliffe's talk at web 2.0 Europe

Dion reflects on the impact of 4 year's of web 2.0.  He focuses on the move from 'push' to 'pull' systems.  But much of the question is our readiness/ willingness to embrace and exploit the opportunity.

  • Who creates the value? (The network)

  • How much control do we have over our businesses?

  • How intellectual property works (creative commons…)?

  • Increases in transparency e..g in supply chain

  • Product development – we get that our customers tell us …but how do we listen to '000's of customers?

  • Operations – cloud computing

  • Customer service

Interesting to think about the value proposition that is the data companies now.  Would point business towards the unclaimed classes of data.

Web 2.0 Expo SF, 2008

Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media) gave a good key note at the web 2.0 Expo in SF, last month (see presentation).  He has some tendency towards hyperbole e.g. in speaking of Web 2.0 using such phrases as: ‘a turning point akin to literacy, cities…’.  However he has a number of well made and supported points.

The internet becoming ‘the computer’, the ‘global platform’, the trend toward the PC being just another device accessing the internet – is a valid observation.  His phrase ‘harnessing collective intelligence’ has a powerful ring to it.

O’Reilly’s talk focuses on three ideas:

  1. Web 2.0 in the enterprise (enterprises opening themselves to the world in new ways)
  2. Web 2.0 evolving into cloud computing – the web becomes a reality for business
  3. The web, as an artifact of the PC, is going away

O’Reilly’s examples of the use of customer data by companies such as Google and Wesabe to provide relevant applications and services to their customers puts the gaunlet down to other businesses e.g. banks.