The art of the possible: What those in charge of IT in local government are really thinking
With the public sector only half way through the current round of funding cuts at best and many suggesting that austerity will need to extend well beyond the expected time frames, it would be understandable if the spirit of IT professionals at the Society of IT Managers (Socitm) Annual Conference in November 2012 was flagging.
With the public sector only half way through the current round of funding cuts at best and many suggesting that austerity will need to extend well beyond the expected time frames, it would be understandable if the spirit of IT professionals at the was flagging.
However, the IT leaders present at the event revealed their unwavering ability to not only adapt to change but to embrace it. And they shared their ideas in an unusual discussion, carried out almost entirely in drawings.
For the first time, IT professionals throughout Socitm 2012 had an opportunity to voice their concerns and put forward ideas for potential solutions. Artists then got to work turning the plethora of comments and conversations into images and painting these on to a huge blank canvas.
The results of the exercise show clearly that IT managers in local government are indeed finding it stressful coping with the constant change that has been thrust upon them. Despite the pressures, it was nonetheless very clear that the IT profession is in no mood to shirk from the situation they face. They firmly believe that IT is a significant part of the solution to maintaining service levels in local government with reduced budgets and they are determined to grab the bull by the horns in delivering what is required of them.
From the conversations we had and the sketches left on Capita's wall, we could see that the major concerns of IT managers in local government could be split into four categories:
- The difficulty in applying the right blend of technologies
- Issues around data sharing
- Gaps in the sharing of best practice between authorities
- Minimizing risk, while remaining innovative.