Socitm Spring conference launches digital public service guide
A guide to 'digital' for top management teams in local public services has been published by Socitm, the association for IT and digital professionals, to coincide with the body's annual Spring conference in London this week. "Do you do digital?" outlines the scope, reach and progress of digital adoption by local public services, highlighting best practice and areas requiring improvement or a faster pace of change. The guide -available free from the Socitm website - covers how customers can be engaged digitally through customer accounts, email alerts, and social media; the opportunity digital provides to re-design services for lower cost delivery; the use of digital to manage and even remove demand; and the 'digital culture shift' involved in the various new ways of working, like online networking, sharing through Twitter, blogging and 'unconferences', that are enabled by digital technologies. It also challenges readers to 'take the test' on corporate commitment to digital, by scoring their organisation on nine indicators of corporate commitment to digital, and nine further indicators of digital capability. A new online performance dashboard system for councils hosted by government web portal GOV.UK was also unveiled at the conference, alongside sessions on agile technology development; the Public Services Network; and an online 'innovation platform' where communities of councils can share best practice. Video coverage of sessions will be posted online shortly by Socitm, and there is a link below to further conference coverage on UKAuthority.com.
Pictured: Delegates at this year's Socitm Spring conference, by Olivia Harris www.oliviaharrisphotos.com
Open performance dashboards for an age of 'frugal innovation' - Socitm Spring conference report: www.ukauthority.com/tabid/64/Default.aspx?id=4668
Government skills deficit is undermining progress of cloud adoption, report finds
The adoption of cloud services in central government is being undermined by an "overwhelming" knowledge and skills deficit, according to research from non-profit public sector cloud services provider Eduserv. The research found that a lack of awareness of cloud and a lack of skills were the top two barriers to adoption in central government, far outweighing concerns around security or procurement. Some 88% of civil servants said their department needed help in the form of additional training so they could understand how the cloud was relevant and only a quarter said the benefits of cloud were well-understood by stakeholders in their organisation, the research found. Half of those questioned (51%) said they did not think their department had the technical skills to implement cloud initiatives and only 54% said project management skills were fit for purpose for cloud migration. "The skills and knowledge gap highlighted by this research raises real concerns about the pace at which the government can progress its cloud-first ambitions," said Andrew Hawkins, director of government services at Eduserv. The research, conducted in partnership with Dods, surveyed 829 civil servants about their perceived barriers to cloud adoption within their respective departments.
Cloud adoption research: www.eduserv.org.uk/insight/news/2014/04/Cloud-adoption-research
Apps to encourage more active lifestyles win innovation funding
Four groups of entrepreneurs from across the UK have received a share of £101,000 funding from this year's 'GeoVation Challenge' to help turn their visions into reality. The challenge, run by national mapping agency Ordnance Survey, funds innovative ideas combining geography and technology. This year it invited ideas for mobile apps to encourage people to take more exercise, focusing on activities in open spaces. The winners included Ramblers Scotland, for its Medal Routes App creating challenges to encourage people in Scotland to integrate walking into their daily life; and Pan Studio, for Run an Empire, a planned new exercise strategy game which will use GPS with Ordnance Survey data to let players 'capture' neighbourhood territory by running and walking. The other two winning ideas were Mapsum, for Tagd, a new service that allows anyone to create and share interactive routes that contain personalised, targeted messages at virtual waypoints; and OpenPlay, to develop an app version of its online marketplace for finding and booking local sports facilities.
GeoVation Challenge: www.geovation.org.uk