Archive for February, 2012

February 29, 2012

Will End User Devices be Multi-function or Single-purpose?

Historically there have been two contrasting approaches to end user devices. The generalised single device for all different functions, and the different specialised devices for specific purposes. We appear to be at a bit of a crossroads at the moment with the market poised to go either way in terms of the dominant strategy.

February 28, 2012

Two Kinds of Government App Store

In the recently published UK Government Cloud Strategy one of the key planks of the strategy was the development of a “Government App Store”. In fact, the first part of the Government App Store – renamed CloudStore – has just been launched. In other jurisdictions such as New Zealand and the US, there has also been talk of government app stores and even some deployments. In general, in both the public and private sectors App stores do seem to be flavour of the month. What is a Government App Store? And what could it look like? Well first we need to distinguish between two different senses in which the term “Government App Store” is being used in the various discussions (and in the news reports linked to above).

February 14, 2012

Financial Disincentives for Cloud Computing

In general I think cloud computing is a great thing. Elsewhere I have talked about the benefits that it can bring to many organisations. Many of the positive financial benefits of cloud computing are well-known: pay only for what you need or use; cost certainty; being able to reduce the cost of ICT as the demand for ICT services reduces;  reducing the need for massive upfront investment in infrastructure and so on. One of the benefits that I have been more sceptical about, however, is the way that cloud computing moves the cost of ICT from capital expenditure to operational expenditure. From my point of view money is money. Merely moving it from one line on the budget (capital expenditure or capex) to another line on the budget (operational expenditure or opex) seems to me to be no benefit at all. On investigating the issue further it seems that there are some unusual circumstances where this is a bad thing.

February 6, 2012

Commercial Considerations and Enterprise Architecture

This post is dedicated to my colleagues in the Government ICT Supply Management Office within the New Zealand Government.  I’ve learnt a lot from working with them over the last few months.

When working in the ICT architecture of an organisation – whether enterprise architecture or solution architecture – your architecture will always be better for a well-informed engagement with the commercial side of ICT. In this post I will describe why it is important to understand the commercial aspects of ICT in order to deliver more successful ICT solutions, and how working with your commercial team can assist in this success.

February 3, 2012

Scary Calendar Effects in Government

I am a big fan of the Obsessive Compulsive Data Quality Blog and Podcast as I have mentioned elsewhere. Jim Harris takes a different, even slightly oddball, view on issues around data quality and data management and I find his podcast interesting, thought-provoking and even entertaining. The most recent episode of OCDQ Radio that I have listened to, entitled: Scary Calendar Effects was a very enlightening discussion on the ways that business time periods impact on IT. It also included a hilarious data quality-horror skit (OCDQ meets Friday the 13th). The most obvious example of one of these calendar effects is the quarterly reporting that US publicly listed companies seem trapped in: the need to report earnings on a quarterly basis gives company boards and executives strong incentives to focus on short-term objectives at the expense of long-term ones. This can impact on the ability of IT programmes and projects (often longer term in both execution and payoff) to gain funding or attention. Jim’s examples were all from the private sector. It got me thinking about what other calendar effects are present in the government sector.