A recent article highlighting the views of Sheffield City Council’s CIO appears to confirm our worse fears about the public sector: it has a non-progressive and draconian IT outlook. However James West finds a very different message which injects some much needed pragmatism into these increasingly overhyped technologies.
“Keep your BYOD and cloud” screams the headline. At first glance, Computing’s interview with Paul Green, the CIO of Sheffield City Council, prepares you to consume a wealth of ignorant, horribly conservative views about technology in the public sector. As I began reading, I admit I was already mentally scribbling down the story: “Look at how backwards many influential IT people are, they have no idea what’s going on in the real word…blah, blah”.
However, what I actually read was a needed dose of realism. On the subject of cloud, Green simply says he is yet to be fully convinced of its value from an enterprise perspective. Yes, the benefits of cloud may appear logical. There may be some strong case studies ‘proving’ its value. But where is the definitive proof that cloud is absolutely the right option for every business? Those of us commenting on IT delivery are quick to point out that every business is different and that the ‘definitive solution’ is an oxymoron. So why are we so quick to judge someone who questions the value of cloud?
The article appears to have Green bang to rights by separating this quote: “why would an end user wish to bring their own device into my organisation?” However, Green goes on to say that if users do choose to source their own equipment, he wants to understand what is lacking in his department’s IT provision that has led to this decision. In this context, the ‘keep your BYOD’ headline seems very unfair.
There are further views from Green which could be construed as anti-BYOD, but in fact just highlight the impact that alien tech has on the business and the consequences of a user potentially losing personal data if they sign up to corporate policies.
In the comment section of my recent article, James Finister reminded me that it is easy to judge others for their ‘ignorance’ or lack of understanding if you are observing from afar. IT service management is never black and white. It’s not about adopting the latest technology at the expense of due diligence and planning. It is about using tools and services that are appropriate for your business and users, delivered at a realistic cost. I forget this myself at times and so welcomed this reality check.