On Friday 19th July Symphony3 ran a webinar entitled “An introduction to integration for local government."
With a variety of council employees attending, from CEOs to IT Managers to Communications and Marketing officers, this was very much an introductory session to integration and a primer for upcoming integration webinars we will run over the next 12 months.
The Information Problem
It may sound frightening - but today, at this very moment, there is a high likelihood that if you are the CEO or Executive Manager of a Local Government organisation, your IT staff are managing only 25% of your information. Yes, the people who are responsible for making sure that your data is clean, complete and secure may not consider 75% of your information when they make daily decisions. They may not even know it exists.
To be fair, it may not necessarily be their fault. Times have changed so quickly that not so long ago, the systems that they manage held 100% of your organisation's information. After a few short years, information is no longer stored in the same place, web-based systems for simple tasks have proliferated, and the volume of information has multiplied year on year. In a period of such rapid change, with finite resources, it's sometimes simply too hard to keep up.
A Brave New World
Let’s think back to the good old days. When IT was easy. You bought a system, you put it on servers and staff could use the organisation’s network to access those systems from their office desktop or laptops. They could even get a Citrix connection and login from home. As an IT Manager, your job was to make sure the network was fast and secure. Staff could log on to their PC and access the systems they needed. You had firewalls and security in place that made sure data couldn’t get in or out.
Fast forward to today. Cloud computing has become ubiquitous. Amazon Web Services provide the facility to launch a server in their data centers, from your phone, in a matter of minutes, for a few dollars a month. Software as a service means that we can sign up to use online software in a matter of minutes. How many of your departments have got Survey Monkey accounts for example? Staff have smartphones that are more powerful than the PCs that they have at work. Social media means that they can communicate with and market to customers quickly and conveniently at no cost. And so on and so on….
Information outside the box
This environment provides great flexibility to staff wanting to use digital tools. However, it also brings great challenges to the discipline of information management.
Yes, your billing information, planning information, engineering information may still be on your ERP system sitting in your server room or data center. But what about the many other services that are used frequently by the community? These services collect large amounts of data as they are frequently used by large numbers in the community. Our research indicates that they could generate up to 75% of your data.
What information may be outside of the control of your IT staff?
- Library information?
- Customer emails lists?
- Surveys and consultation information?
- Health services information?
- Arts and culture information?
- Sports and recreation information?
- Inbound and outbound communications made via social media?
Cutting the Mustard
More than likely, lots of the information related to services that the community use frequently is held on the cloud and not managed by IT. This information is outside your firewall but you have responsibility for it.
Is it secure? Is it backed up? Does it conflict with information on your internal systems? These are questions that your IT manager must be able to answer.
IT frameworks that worked in an era of client server environments no longer cut the mustard. Firstly, they no longer ensure your data is secure. Secondly, as we will discuss in future blogs, old frameworks make it impossible to deliver a Single Customer View environment.
What can you do?
As CEO or Executive Manager, you need an IT framework that will support your organisation to operate effectively in today's increasingly digital world.
We've have helped dozens of CEOs and Executive Managers understand what it is that they really need from an IT framework, unique to the requirements of their organisation.
If you would like to talk to us or chat with some of the CEOs and Executive Managers that we have assisted over the years. Please get in touch with us.