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www.governmenttechnology.co.uk | VOLUME 9.7

AUDIO VISUAL

SPEND ANALYSIS

COMMUNICATIONS

CLOUD COMPUTING

What can it do for you?

PLUS

The advantages of cloud backup and recovery

MAPPING TECHNOLOGY – Making better use of available location information


Work Smart and Save Costs With Trustmarque Managed Licence Services and SAM Optimisation Solutions Looking to Save Costs? Then Start With Your Software Assets The Public Sector is under huge pressure to reduce costs and ‘do more with less’. This means focussing on efficiency and reining in unnecessary spending. Every year we see considerable financial investments in software, but unlike other investments, software is seldom treated as the valuable asset it is and is therefore often not managed correctly. This can result in overspending, legal and financial risk, poor support for end users and technical instability.

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To find out more about how Trustmarque can help you save costs Call 0845 2101 500 or visit us at www.trustmarque.com/worksmart


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Dear Reader, 9.7 ogy.co.uk | VOLuME

hnol www.governmenttec

The highly anticipated spending review has been announced and, as expected, many will be worse off with tough times ahead. However, investment and innovation must continue as new ways of working can prove more efficient, saving money along the way. According to Gartner research, cloud computing will be mainstream within two to five years. Presently, however, many are still uncertain about what it is and what it can do for them. If you feel this way, BASDA’s Cloud Computing Special Interest Group make things clearer on page 11, and following this SNIA’s Cloud Backup and Recovery Special Interest Group gives an insight into the benefits of cloud backup and recovery (BUR) in today’s data centre. The London Borough of Hillingdon is delivering effective online communications and engaging with local communities using digital media and technology. Turn to page 25 to find out more about how this is being done and what the citizens think.

AuDIO VISuAL

SPEND ANALYSIS

COMMuNICATIONS

CLOuD NG Pu COM itTI do for you? What can

PLuS

The advantages of cloud backup and recovery

Y MAPPING TECHNOLOG

– Making better use of

ation available location inform

Enjoy the issue.

editorial@psigroupltd.co.uk

Government Technology Online If you would like to subscribe to Government Technology magazine please contact Public Sector Information Limited, 226 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1ET. Tel: 0208 532 0055, Fax: 0208 532 0066, or visit the Government Technology website at: P NEWS P FEATURES P PROFILES P CASE STUDIES P EVENTS P AND MORE

8 www.governmenttechnology.co.uk PUBLISHED BY PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMATION LIMITED 226 High Rd, Loughton, Essex IG10 1ET. Tel: 020 8532 0055 Fax: 020 8532 0066 EDITOR Sofie Lidefjard ASSISTANT EDITOR Angela Pisanu PRODUCTION EDITOR Karl O’Sullivan PRODUCTION DESIGN Jacqueline Grist PRODUCTION CONTROLLER Reiss Malone

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Š Kodak 2010. Kodak is a trademark of Kodak


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CONTENTS GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY 9.7

07 NEWS 11 CLOUD COMPUTING The Business Application Software Developers Association’s Cloud Computing Special Interest Group helps readers understand the benefits and limitations of this trend What are the benefits of Cloud Backup and Recovery (BUR) for today’s datacentre?

21 AUDIO VISUAL TECHNOLOGY Using qualified personnel to design, install and maintain audio visual technology is the best way to keep costs under control, writes InfoComm International’s Dan Goldstein

25 COMMUNICATIONS The London Borough of Hillingdon explains how it uses online tools to communicate with citizens

29 LEGACY APPLICATION MODERNISATION Joanne Chidwick from Oracle Corporation UK looks at the importance of updating ageing IT systems

37 SOFTWARE LICENSING Avoid unnecessary costs, deploy best practice and mitigate the risk of noncompliance

41 IT SECURITY BASDA reveals its Software Security Code of Practice which demonstrates the industry’s commitment to software security

45 INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS In today’s austere climate, can the public sector afford to invest in technology to make their buildings ‘intelligent’?

47 PRINTING SOLUTIONS The British Printing Industries Federation describes how the industry’s trade body is helping printing companies evolve to meet the challenges presented by the digital revolution

51 SOCITM 2010 A review of this year’s event which showed public sector professionals how technology can facilitate new ways of working

53 SPEND ANALYSIS A number of local authorities are using the online transparency site, spotlightonspend, to improve spend visibility

54 MAPPING TECHNOLOGY When it comes to location data, utilising what you already have can bring substantial benefits to your organisation

56 GREEN IT Green IT Expo provides a highly timeeffective forum for public sector organisations to learn about the benefits of sustainable computing

58 ONLINE INFORMATION We preview this year’s Online Information Conference, taking place 30 November to 2 December at Olympia Conference Centre

61 CYBER CRIME SECURITY The information security experts at IT Governance are urging the public and private sectors to strengthen their defences against cyberattack

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The North comes out on top for broadband speed owns and cities in the north of the country have come out on top for broadband speed, according to research findings from broadband comparison site Top10.com. A league table of the fastest internet connections revealed people living in Huddersfield got the best service. Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and Bolton completed the top five towns and cities for broadband speed, while London was the only southern city or town to feature

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in the top ten, coming in at seventh place. The average broadband speed in the capital was 43 per cent slower than that in Huddersfield. The survey showed six of the 10 worst places for a quick broadband connection were in the south or the Midlands including Southampton, Southend-on-Sea and Stoke-on-Trent. Broadband users in Southampton only got half the average connection speed of those in Huddersfield.

NEWSINBRIEF New BCS qualifications in IT service management BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has launched the final three of its suite of six new specialist qualifications in IT Service Management. The qualifications aim to help IT service management professionals to keep abreast of current best practice and maintain a competitive edge in the employment market. The final three qualifications are Specialist Certificates in Business Relationship Management, Problem Management, and Supplier Management. Each qualification focuses on a single IT service management job role and provides detailed knowledge and information on how each role operates within an organisation, based on industry good practice. The other three qualifications that were launched earlier this year are Specialist Certificates in Service Desk & Incident Management, Change Management, and Service Level Management.

Barnsley Interactive Maps launched

App to alert businesses to public sector contracts ublic Contract Scotland (PCS), the Scottish Government’s purchasing portal, is launching the world’s first app specifically designed to alert businesses to new contract opportunities from the public sector. The PCS procurement app will allow businesses to access contract notices as they are posted and will work with Apple iPhones and iPads, with plans to roll out to other mobile phone models. App users will be able to access information more easily and faster than by browsing on the mobile web, as well as search notices by category, commodity and date. The new app will work alongside the PCS portal – both of which are free of charge – to offer users a level of functionality that is unequalled in other centrally-provided systems. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s Deputy

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A service which gives the public access to Barnsley Council’s map-based information via a web based system similar to Google Maps, has been launched. Barnsley Interactive Maps includes the location of local schools, waste recycling centres, libraries and leisure facilities, with more useful information and services to be added regularly. Members of the public can search for addresses or postcodes and view their location on an online map, add additional map ‘overlays’ such as council ward and parish boundaries, and view aerial imagery of Barnsley. There is also a ‘where is my nearest’ tool to view the location of nearby services such as schools and libraries, access statistical information about an area, find out more about local councillors, and see how a neighbourhood looked geographically as far back as 1895.

Better web access for the disabled

First Minister, said: “The portal, and now the PCS app, make contract opportunities even more accessible to suppliers; are helping to make public sector procurement more transparent and competitive; and play key roles in achieving efficiency improvements. “In a challenging economic climate, it is more important than ever that we make best use of available resources, and deliver greater value for money in public procurement.”

An eAccessibility Plan has been unveiled by Communications Minister Ed Vaizey to improve public websites, upgrade IT equipment and provide better online content to suit the needs of disabled people. The key objectives of the plan include improving technology and digital equipment to suit the needs of those with disabilities while tackling issues of affordability and availability of equipment and software. The design of public sector websites will be improved to make them more accessible to disabled users. Another aim is to implement a new regulatory framework to enable Ofcom to specify measures to ensure disabled people have equivalent choice and access to digital communications services as non-disabled consumers. The plan will be implemented by the eAccessibility Forum, a group of over 60 experts from government, industry and the voluntary sector.

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

Birmingham one of world’s most intelligent communities he Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF), which analyses the impact of access and information technologies on economic and social development at the community level, has included Birmingham in its ‘Smart 21’ list of cities. Birmingham is the only UK city to be included, and only one of four European cities to make the coveted top 21. Birmingham City Council’s deputy leader Paul Tilsley said that Birmingham’s success was founded on the work of the organisations that together make up the Digital Birmingham partnership, which he heads. “This is not about the technology itself but about the way we use it to generate wealth, create jobs, provide more efficient services and improve the quality of life for all our citizens,” said Councillor Tilsley. “I recognise that there is still much for us to do to encourage

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businesses to exploit technology, to make our services more personalised, with more scope for citizen self service, and to reduce the number of digital ‘have-nots’ in our society; however it is great to have independent confirmation that we are moving in the right direction to improve Birmingham for businesses and citizens.”

IT manager roles in decline or the first time this year, IT support roles have taken over from IT manager jobs as the highest number advertised on The IT Job Board, according to the company’s Skills in Demand report (September 2010). Since January 2010, the number of manager jobs advertised has almost halved and the number of available roles now accounts for just 32 per cent of all vacancies, down from 64 per cent earlier this year.

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There has also been a month-onmonth decline in demand for project managers since May this year. Alex Farrell, managing director of The IT Job Board said: “It’s interesting to see that IT support roles have taken over from IT manager jobs as the most widely advertised on the site, and perhaps this is the result of companies cutting back on bigger IT projects, which require specific project management skills,” he added.

Three London councils launch shared service plan estminster Council, Hammersmith and Fulham Council, and The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have announced their intention to share services. Under the proposal, each authority would retain its political identity with its own elected leaders and councillors, but would share all services, including ICT provision. The plans are to be agreed by February 2011 and the merger is subject to the formal agreement of each individual authority. The joint statement said: “We have met and agreed to progress to plans to share every council service between our three councils. This may include

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merging services to reduce duplication and drive out needless cost. While we won’t rule anything out at this stage, we expect to focus quite quickly on a few major areas where sharing and merging services is viable and good for the public. There are a number of areas, such as core democratic services where we are unlikely to merge provision. “The early focus will be building on the initial work to merge our children’s services departments which is already making solid progress, while also building the business case to share our adults’ services departments. We will only go forward where there is a clear democratic, social and economic case to do so.”

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NEWSINBRIEF Scotland’s digital future presented

The Scottish Government has expressed its ambitions for Scotland’s digital future, aiming for availability of superfast broadband throughout the whole of Scotland by 2020. The government’s position paper ‘A Digital Ambition for Scotland’ also sets out an ambition that the rate of broadband uptake in Scotland should at least match the UK average by 2013, and should be the highest among the UK nations by 2015. Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said: “In the digital age, connectivity is of tremendous strategic importance for Scotland. This paper sets out our ambitions for Scotland’s digital economy and shows our commitment to doing all we can to realise those ambitions. “Increasing the number of public services able to be accessed online can increase efficiency of service delivery greatly. Online access can also make it easier for people to access these services, particularly in remote areas.”

E-petitions come to South Cambridgeshire DC Residents can now sign online petitions to let South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) know their views. By creating an account on the petitions website, a resident is able to collect signatures electronically, link to their petition from their blog or website, and receive automatic e-mail updates of new signatories. Councillor Tom Bygott, portfolio holder for policy and performance, said: “This is a fantastic way for residents to let us know their views on individual issues. This doesn’t seek to replace the traditional petition, but complement it. “Being in an electronic forum makes it easier for people to submit petitions and collect signatories.” Hard copies of petitions submitted to the council will be scanned and put on the SCDC website, so electronic signatures can be added to these as well.

North Lincolnshire pilots electronic victimisation index An electronic system to help people who are vulnerable to anti-social behaviour is being trialled in North Lincolnshire The Victims and Vulnerable Persons Index (VVPI) was launched as an early warning system about people at risk of systematic attack or abuse by neighbourhood gangs. The software, supplied by Xantura, uses a data sharing platform to collate information held by separate local agencies to create the index. For individuals at highest risk, and depending on the levels of crime and anti-social behaviour in their area, likely victims will be flagged up to local safety teams that are responsible preventing further victimisation. The pilot is expected to run until March 2011 and the results will be published in August.

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

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CLOUD COMPUTING

THE POTENTIAL AND THE IMPLICATIONS Matt Holmes, Chair of BASDA’s Cloud Computing Special Interest Group, explains the advantages of cloud computing ABOUT BASDA BASDA is the Business Application Software Developers’ Association representing IT organisations of all sizes. The Association acts as the voice of the UK-based business software industry with governments, standards and policy-making groups to provide a forum for collaboration to resolve issues that affect the business software industry and our customers.

Matt Holmes

ACCORDING TO GARTNER’S technology trend forecasts, cloud computing will be mainstream within two to five years, but at the moment many people are still unclear about what it is and what it can do for them, particularly in the public sector. A colleague recently attended the local Mayor’s Dinner with a newly-elected councillor and spent the whole evening explaining the concept of cloud to the other guests, including the leader of the council. INCREASED UPTAKE There is a growing interest and uptake in the private sector, particularly amongst small businesses where there are obvious benefits: it allows them to cut costs, reduce IT requirements, offer flexible working, trade internationally and improve business continuity and disaster recovery policies. In effect, it levels the playing field in terms of access to technology and software – it’s no longer prohibitively expensive and timeconsuming to source, buy, and implement. The public sector, however, has been slower to respond to the promise of cloud, despite the fact that there are big wins to be had here too; the whole concept of cloud makes complete sense for any big organisation where several people in different locations need to have access to the same data and share information. The other obvious advantage is the cost savings;

again, any big organisation with large numbers of people using computers has to spend big chunks of its budget on software licences and upgrades, hardware and maintenance. Cloud computing gets rid of the need for in-house servers, software upgrades and therefore a large part of the maintenance, and licences are replaced with low-cost monthly subscriptions. THE ISSUE OF SECURITY Probably the biggest issue, however, for the public sector is security, and this is probably the biggest advantage. In the cloud, all data is properly encrypted, managed, stored and hosted in secure data centres, where everything is automatically backed-up. Yes, many people can access the data, but who has access and how can be centrally and properly managed, and controlled by passwords and encryption – and because nothing is being stored locally, data will no longer have to be transferred between PCs and laptops, and left on trains or lost on memory sticks. Organisations like the Business Application Software Developers Association (BASDA) have already issued charters and best practice guidelines to makes sure that everyone in the industry is providing the best and latest security measures that are available. The final benefit is that streamlined and consolidated resources, less computer

hardware, and less paper means that cloud computing is also a greener option. Cloud’s biggest problem, however, is that because it’s so new and is moving and developing so fast, it’s difficult to actually pin it down with a definition. On a very basic level, “cloud computing involves vendors supplying computing services to lots of customers over the internet”. It brings together different internet technologies and developments under one umbrella and offers a new way of delivering IT services. The key, though, to understanding why it’s so different and is a truly “disruptive technology” rather than just another IT fad is to understand how it has developed in the first place. BACKGROUND Traditionally, new technology is created to satisfy a demand or to solve a problem for a particular consumer or market. However, cloud computing has emerged because the developments in broadband, hardware, and web technologies have come into alignment creating huge new potential, which has in turn fired the imaginations of developers and programmers. In simple terms, we now have widespread high-speed internet access, cheap powerful processing power, new web-based programming tools and platforms. Combined, these mean that the internet can be used for much more than just browsing and shopping. This is why we’ve seen an explosion in social media, iPhone apps and all those annoying games on Facebook, as techies around the world explore and play with all this new potential. The ultimate example of this is Twitter, which was created without any clear purpose or even any way of making money. In spite of this it has caught on virally and become a tool used daily by millions of people. The upside of all this experimentation is that cloud has arrived fully-formed and

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CLOUD COMPUTING

in a much more advanced state than new technological developments usually do. This is great news for users as it’s less of a risk and there aren’t going to be years of testing, tweaks and refinements to get it right. The other consequence of this is that cloud is a true disruptive technology – “an innovation that improves a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by being lower priced or designed for a different set of consumers.” HINDERING DEVELOPMENT Cloud computing will eventually replace our existing desktop ways of doing things in the same way that trains came along and replaced canals as a mode of transport. Canals had been the dominant mode of transport but trains brought time and money-savings and greater efficiency that quickly rendered them obsolete. Ironically, the arguments put forth by the pro-canal, anti-change lobbyists are exactly the same as those being put forward by the anti-cloud people today, 200 years later – “It’s too limited” “It doesn’t work the same” “I don’t understand it” “It’s not safe”. The fact is though, we’re not just talking about a minority activity here and it’s not just about geeks creating Facebook games and iPhone apps. The main players in cloud computing who are driving it forward are Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon and Oracle and the new big name cloud companies like Salesforce, and NetSuite. Big business is sitting up and taking notice – Coca-Cola has recently created its own internal cloud and migrated 100,000 employees onto it in just two weeks. This highlights one of the main benefits of cloud; traditionally implementing such a major technological change would have taken anything up to a year. Microsoft is in the process of making a fundamental shift and moving its whole operation into the cloud; making the giant leap from a wholly licence-based model to a wholly subscription-based model. This means that in the very near future, we’ll no longer buy Microsoft Office and install it onto our laptops and computer, and have to upgrade every few years. We will simply login to Office from wherever we like whenever we like. The advantage to Microsoft of this model is that everyone will always be using the same version of the software and whenever a patch or upgrade is released it will be instantly available to everyone using Office anywhere in the world. The fact that Microsoft are taking cloud seriously and putting their money where their mouth is proves that it’s not just a fad and that it is a serious technological development. THE PUBLIC SECTOR So what does all this mean for the public sector? There is now a whole new way that IT services can be accessed and delivered that can cut costs, enhance efficiency, streamline

processes, and give secure and confidential access to key data to anyone who needs it. The three areas of cloud that you need to be aware of are SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), and PaaS (Platform as a Service). All these areas are “as a Service” because you don’t buy anything but subscribe (normally monthly) and pay for what you need, as you go – you can change or cancel your subscription whenever you like. CREATING CLOUD APPLICATIONS PaaS is basically the tools that are available for developers to create cloud applications. Many of the bigger companies are now creating their own cloud platforms, such as Microsoft’s Azure and Google’s App Engine that allow developers to create their own bespoke cloud software that integrates with their standard software. For example, you could create an appointment or booking system that integrates directly with Outlook or a report writer that integrates with Excel. SaaS is, essentially, software delivered over the internet and subscribed to on a pay as you go basis. The big advantage here is that it’s not dependent on what sort of computer you’ve got, which model and which operating system and you don’t need any IT expertise to install or use it. As long as you’ve got access to the internet, it should work. You will already have come across or may even be using SaaS (without perhaps even knowing it). The most common examples are the blogging platforms that are now being used to build flexible and interactive websites and business and social media sites such as LinkedIn, and Office-style products like Google Calendars, Google Docs, Gmail or Hotmail, and Google Maps. The most established and evolved SaaS business software are CRM (customer relationship management) systems and online accounting software, as these areas have been leading SaaS development. This is because SaaS makes it easier to share data and information, both of which are essential in big organisations with large teams needing to access the same customer or client records, or where procurement, billing, payment collections and credit control might all be done by different departments. In the private sector, the government has been driving developments in SaaS by bringing in compulsory online filing of accounting and company documentation, and creating electronic gateways. BUILD, ACCESS AND STORE IaaS is the infrastructure or hardware that developers use to build, access and store your cloud. Developments in this area have created the breakthrough that has made cloud possible and viable, and this is probably the area of most interest to the public sector. Five years ago, cloud was already possible and people were starting to build

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Matt Holmes is MD of online accounting software pioneer, Liquid Accounts Ltd, and Chair of the Cloud Computing Special Interest Group for BASDA. He previously worked on the government’s Electronic Filing Initiatives with Companies House. cloud apps (and the most established online accounting and CRM companies have all been around for about five years or more), however, the cost of hosting something like a big government cloud would have been prohibitive. However, new developments in virtualisation software have made it not only cheaper but much, much simpler. Traditionally you would have had to buy a server and upgrade it every couple of years or when you needed more storage space – this would be both expensive and timeconsuming, and there would always be a risk that something would be lost, forgotten or corrupted. Now, however, you can now build a virtual sever environment within a data centre where hundreds of servers are being managed at the same time. This means that you can make copies or replicate your virtual server at any time, quickly and easily, and can therefore, change expand, or reduce your capacity depending on demand. This is a great benefit for the government, for example, who has traditionally had huge problems with servers crashing due to increased demand at key times. Rules can be set so that your servers morph and change automatically to respond to needs. It also means that you can easily move data from one place to another within a few seconds, and that the risk of down-time is negligible as there will always be back-ups copies and extra capacity. Possibly most importantly though, your virtual server will always be running on the latest systems without you having to do anything. HERE AND NOW In conclusion then, cloud computing isn’t the future – it’s now. For governments and other public sector organisations looking for cost savings and efficiency improvements, it offers a realistic option with multiple benefits. The US and Taiwanese Governments are already embracing cloud to reduce expenditure, and the UK Government is following closely behind. They are proposing to create the GCloud and save in excess of £3 billion per year in IT costs by consolidating the hosting of its entire infrastructure from hundreds of server farms to just single figures – a model which smaller public sector organisations would do well to replicate.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Web: www.basda.org

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CLOUD COMPUTING

BACKING UP VIA THE CLOUD Ashar Baig, chairman of SNIA’s Cloud Backup and Recovery Special Interest Group, gives an insight into the benefits of Cloud Backup and Recovery (BUR) in today’s datacentre MANY IT ADMINISTRATORS have been asking what cloud backup and recovery (BUR) actually is. At its most basic level, cloud BUR involves backing up data offsite to a service provider’s data centre, over a Wide Area Network (WAN), using standard internet protocols. The main premise of cloud backup is that the hardware infrastructure is shared by the provider’s customers, thereby increasing efficiencies and reducing costs. Cloud backup is an inexpensive way of having an unlimited amount of storage that’s highly available and secure. A CLOUD BUR STRATEGY In order to deploy a cloud BUR strategy, organisations must either move their IT infrastructures to the public cloud or outsource their data backup to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). The advantages of both these approaches are that organisations save money, enjoy a highly agile data protection environment, and reduce administrative headaches. By moving the datacentre to the cloud, capital costs are reduced and turned into operating expenses. This on-demand delivery model is here now and it is the new economic reality that the old asset-based business model is giving way to OPEX-based approaches that simplify the procurement process, provide high-availability, and enable rapid recovery all alongside offering a variable-cost pricing model, which is often more palatable to the budget holders. Most infrastructure-on-demand services that form the basis of cloud BUR offerings are characterised by the following attributes: • They support on-demand scaling • They offer a service-based model with ubiquitous access • They are scalable and elastic • They are metered by use • They are shared and secure INFORMATION SECURITY Data protection has become a mandatory requirement to stay in business. It is a requirement for corporate, legal, or regulatory compliance. Data protection (backup, snapshots, replication, CDP, etc.) generally tends to increase the number of data copies. More storage means more storage systems, more storage network ports, switches, adapters, cables, racks, floor space, power, cooling, and a lot more manually-intensive administrative management. All of this costs more time (a non-recoverable resource) and money (both CapEx and OpEx.). A data protection strategy includes Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC)

planning, which provides the ability to restore, recover, and access data that is lost because of human or machine errors, malware, or natural disasters. In spite of the fact that restores and recoveries are always urgent, most organisations don’t conduct DR drills or test their ability to restore and recover lost data often enough. Cloud BUR answers DR and BC issues by significantly reducing organisational risk, exposure and storage infrastructure costs. It also offers an incredibly broad range of granularity that goes from very fine grain with continuous data protection (captures every write), to very coarse grain daily backups.

Restore/recoverability is also quite simple and is prioritised based on Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs). If data has to be restored or recovered very quickly, then a fixed number of versions (determined by the customer’s policy) are available from the local backup (physical or virtual) server. This eliminates any throughput or latency issues of recovering over the WAN and provides the fastest possible restore/ recovery. And the customer can define the backup set restore/recovery order courtesy of file/message/e-mail-level backup/restore. As protected data ages, its value declines,

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Stratus, Cirrus, Cumulus... Confused by the cloud?

For years Redstor have been trusted to supply a range of secure cloud services to government bodies like yours — secure access, online backup, storage and disaster recovery, enabling you to keep control of your critical data. Information is everything. Discuss your needs on 0118 951 5200 or email cloudservices@redstor.com www.redstor.com


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CLOUD COMPUTING

causing a misalignment of value between data and storage. The industry norm is to backup data on a storage target (disk, deduped disk, VTL, ATL, or tape) and leave it there until it is destroyed or, more often, forever. Pragmatically, it is much more painful to migrate devalued protected data to lowervalued storage media than it is to just leave them where they are, which could be costly disks for example. But this means that either too expensive or too inexpensive storage media are utilised causing a mismatch of value. If the user deems some data as not valuable enough to justify protecting it via the cloud, its backup data sets and versions can reside onsite. This allows them to be recovered locally, saving time and money in the case of a major disaster requiring data recovery from the offsite location. Pragmatic organisations tend to allocate less frequently-accessed data to less expensive storage (e.g. SATA rather than Fibre Channel disks), including (potentially) the cloud. This approach avoids the capital expenses associated with higher-cost tier 1 storage systems, which use expensive media and minimises operating costs associated with file management. This model also allows organisations to reduce planned downtime. Storage tiering, i.e. the use of different classes of media depending on the value and frequency of access of the data, is, however, pragmatic only if automated. Cloud BUR tiering is automated based on user-set policies. When data has a high mission criticality, backup data sets and versions are kept both onsite and offsite. As that set ages, its value declines and the cloud BUR migrates it off the local site and into the cloud. As it ages further, the cloud BUR moves those aged backup data sets from online to near-line (e.g. VTL) or even offline (e.g. vaulted tapes). At a user determined point-in-time in the lifecycle of that backup data set, the data is destroyed and a digital certificate of that destruction is issued to comply with the relevant regulations. Policy-driven backup data set destruction with a digital certificate of such destruction is built into the cloud BUR. This makes it simple to invoke a data protection lifecycle and carry it out without human intervention and errors. ADVANTAGES FOR MSPS Cloud BUR offers a number of advantages for MSPs: • Magnification of MSPs size and scope – cloud BUR eliminates geographic boundaries and allows MSPs to target and retain customers no matter what their locations are, magnifying their business expertise and facilitating business expansion. • Operational efficiencies – MSPs providing cloud backup and recovery have the expertise that allows them to provide services more efficiently than in-house IT departments. Due to the economic downturn, customers are now smarter about their IT strategies

and are more open to entertaining ITaaS and take advantage of the cost savings it offers. • Forward-thinking MSPs – cloud computing elevates how MSPs think about their businesses. This new delivery model enables MSPs to acquire new cloud-based backup and recovery recurring revenue with little effort. • Low or few barriers to entry – Cloud Backup and Restore (BUR) lowers the overall cost of entry into the Cloud BUR market for new MSPs. The reason for that is before public clouds an MSP had to use Capital Expenditures to purchase/build their storage vault to be able to provide backup and restore services. With the advent of public clouds, an MSP can store their customers backed up data in the public cloud and be up and running with minimal capital investment. BENEFITS FOR END USERS A number of significant benefits are also to be found for end users: • Peace of mind – SLAs offered by MSPs for data recovery provide assurance in the recoverability of backed up data • Ease-of-use, interoperability and flexibility of the data protection strategy • Security – multi-layered security is provided by the technology (encryption, password rotation, key escrow management, etc.) and by the public cloud providers • Reduced downtimes • Improved RTOs and RPOs • Cost savings Cloud BUR can make a significant difference to an organisation’s IT strategy in terms of performance but also human, productivity and cost savings. The cloud delivery model is becoming more and more widely adopted also because of data compliance and disaster recovery requirements. Despite its criticality, data protection is still not awarded the in-house priority and resources it should have and therefore the cloud BUR model is seen by many end users as the solution to many headaches that they have been waiting for. CLOUD STORAGE STANDARDS Cloud storage standards address the accessibility, security, portability and cost issues associated with the relentlessly growing pools of data. Cloud storage standards can also help define roles and responsibilities for data ownership, archiving, discovery, retrieval and shredding/retirement. The Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI), a SNIA Architecture standard, is the first industry-developed open standard for cloud computing and will allow for interoperable cloud storage implementations from cloud service providers and storage vendors. The standard is applicable to public, private and hybrid storage clouds and is expected to be implemented by service providers and cloud infrastructure vendors for all cloud deployment models. CDMI includes the ability to manage

SNIA CLOUD STORAGE WHITE PAPER The SNIA Cloud Storage Initiative has published a whitepaper on private and hybrid storage clouds. Many organisations, driven by the opportunities for significant cost-savings, are considering cloud computing and cloud storage solutions, which take advantage of web-based technologies to allow scalable, virtualised IT resources to be provided as a service over the network. Not a new technology in itself, cloud computing is a new business model wrapped around existing technologies, such as server virtualisation, to make the use of information technology resources more efficient. Download the whitepaper now at www.snia.org/forums/csi/PrivateHybridCloudWhitePaper.pdf service levels that data receives when it is stored in the cloud. The CDMI also includes a common interoperable data exchange format for securely moving data and its associated data requirements from cloud to cloud. WHY CDMI? Today, if a customer wants to store their data in a public cloud, their vendor has to integrate their software by writing to that public cloud provider’s Application Programming Interface (API). Since there are dozens of public cloud providers the effort is CDMI will make it easier for spur cloud storage deployments based on the specification. How does CDMI Help the market? • End Users: CDMI provides cloud storage subscribers with a simple, common interface. This standard interface allows users the choice to select the public cloud provider of their choice based on their own selection criteria (price, geographic proximity, preference, etc.). • Service Providers: CDMI’s standard interface also enables broad market coverage for service providers. It helps service providers advertise their capabilities as required to match their targeted subscriber bases. CDMI also provides unique, non-standard extensions for service providers that want to differentiate without sacrificing broad market addressability. • Cloud storage service developers: CDMI provides the only multi-vendor, industry-standard development interface for application developers that want to store data in the cloud. CDMI enables the broadest possible market of potential subscribers to cloud application developers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION To learn more about the activities of the SNIA Cloud Storage Initiative and the new Cloud Storage BUR special interest group, please visit: www.snia.org and www.snia-europe.org/cloud

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

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CLOUD COMPUTING

EMERGING FROM THE HYPE Leading services provider Redstor takes a look at the other side of the cloud for the public sector public sector to consolidate and/or outsource its IT infrastructure and applications. Instead of having large amounts of underutilised hardware and applications onsite across a multitude of bespoke data centres, cloud based services can be scaled up or down as and when they are required addressing issues around utilisation and enabling faster deployment and upgrades of services.

THE TERM “CLOUD COMPUTING” has been widely adopted by the technology industry to describe on demand services via the internet. It is yet another marketing bandwagon that many channel partners are jumping on in order to position their business as an on trend, forward thinking organisation. Simply put the term cloud computing describes any service provided online or via the internet. Cloud services enable organisations, no matter what size, to work in a cost effective, secure and flexible way. Cloud services could help the public sector deal with the current economic climate, potential delays in hardware and software upgrades, increasing support overheads for an ageing IT infrastructure and fewer staff resources. Cloud services should be easy to turn on and scale up or down without any issues, access should be available via an internet connection from anywhere, any time and prices should be clear and simple allowing the public sector to work in a cost effective, predictable and secure environment. WHERE ARE WE NOW? The cloud is here to stay and is potentially the next big revolution in the IT industry as it represents the fifth generation of computing: Mainframe, PC, Client Server, Web Services and now the Cloud. Many organisations, both public and private, have been using cloud services for many years through the use of applications such as Salesforce.com, internet filtering and e-mail services such as hotmail, Gmail and personal online banking. The Cabinet Office has also been looking into how a Government G-Cloud and app store can contribute to reducing government ICT spend. It seems we are beginning to emerge from the hype around cloud computing and seeing

it with more clarity as another channel and way of accessing a huge variety of services from security, data backup and storage to IT infrastructure and enterprise applications. It is being seen as a fifth utility where computer resources and storage are accessed on demand like existing electricity, gas and water utilities. The initial issues around security are beginning to wane as clarification and confidence grows particularly as successful case studies emerge such as The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in Japan. The department has announced plans to migrate all government agencies IT systems into a private cloud environment by 2015 in order to improve efficiency and reduce cost. WHERE ARE WE GOING? Gartner predicts that by 2012, 80 per cent of Fortune 1000 enterprises will pay for some cloud computing service, while 30 per cent of them will pay for cloud computing infrastructures. As proliferation of devices such as iPads grows at 65 per cent year on year and smartphone growth dwarfs all other mobile device usage, both public and private sector organisations are having to re-evaluate their IT infrastructure and working environments to cater to this on demand workforce. As the world’s workforce becomes ever more mobile and the cost of energy continues to be more volatile than the movement in global share prices, the benefits of cloud computing and cloud services, particularly the potential to reduce IT costs, power consumption without reducing work capacity, at a time of budget constraints, become ever more compelling. This ability to do more, better with fewer resources, becomes one of the main driving factors in the consideration of cloud computing in the public sector. Cloud services will allow the

NEXT STEPS Organisations must remember that, with a public cloud, although the service has been outsourced, defined and clear SLAs and responsibilities, due diligence and where the data centres reside must be established before migrating to the cloud. As Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, stated, all organisations, especially those storing individuals’ data, must ensure it is effectively protected from compromise. There is still a lot of concern about placing potentially sensitive information outside the traditional safe havens of an organisation’s physical boundaries via the cloud and hence why private clouds, which emulate public clouds but on a private network, are gaining traction. Decision makers need to decide what capabilities in their organisation they can outsource to another organisation via the cloud. Applications such as backup and storage are seen as the most logical areas to potentially outsource to the cloud as, by its very nature, the data is held off site in a secure data centre and will be encrypted, partly solving business continuity issues of the organisation. Cloud Organisations such as Redstor are positioned perfectly to offer these services based on its history of providing online backup cloud services to the public sector since 2005. The public sector should not migrate to the cloud just for the sake of it because it has to ensure it’s satisfied with the services it’s receiving before moving them to the cloud, or it won’t be happy after. IT in whatever form, is a productivity enabler and it is important to never lose sight of this fact as we emerge from the hype around the cloud. Essentially it’s not the cloud organisations should focus on; it’s what’s behind the cloud that counts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Paul Evans is the managing director of Redstor, a leading provider of cloud services and data protection solutions. Paul can be contacted at paul.evans@ redstor.com or at 0118 951 5200. Web: www.redstor.com

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

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AUDIO VISUAL TECHNOLOGY

INFORMED MANAGEMENT REDUCES AUDIO VISUAL COSTS Visual communications are becoming a core part of the public sector workplace. Using qualified personnel to design, install and maintain the technology is the best way to keep costs under control, reports InfoComm International’s Dan Goldstein IT IS ALMOST EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK. From the digital signage that welcomes visitors in the reception area of a council chamber or courtroom, to the interactive whiteboards in schools, the video archiving of x-ray and operation data in hospitals, and the projection systems and audio guides of modern museums. Audiovisual or AV technology was once the sole preserve of the meeting room or auditorium, where overhead projectors or 35mm slide carousels enhanced the presentation

experience, before being supplanted by the now ubiquitous PowerPoint. Today, many public-sector facilities use audio and video in ways that could not have been imagined even a decade ago – to improve communication, raise productivity levels, and much more. Yet few areas of the public sector have developed a clear strategy for ensuring that they adopt best practice when buying and using AV technologies. Many purchasing decisions have been made on a

Today, many public-sector facilities use audio and video in ways that could not have been imagined even a decade ago – to improve communication, raise productivity levels, and much more

piecemeal basis, with little thought being given to system performance, its future upgradability, or its maintenance over time. PITFALLS OF OWNING AV Because so many AV products are now networkable, there has been a trend in some circles to place these devices under the ownership of an in-house IT department. On paper this makes sense: there is almost always more IT in a public-sector facility than there is AV, so IT already has the manpower and a recognised position of authoirty within the organisation. What it lacks is the right expertise. The world of IT is essentially binary. Either a device is on the network, or it isn’t. Either you have access to that file, or you don’t. Either your iPod will work on your lunchtime jog through the park, or it won’t. The world of AV involves many more shades

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AUDIO VISUAL TECHNOLOGY

of grey (or, perhaps more appropriately, colour) between the extremes of ‘off’ and ‘on’. Whether a surgeon in a remote location can correctly advise on a procedure taking place hundreds of miles away will depend on whether the operating theatre has the right quality and colour temperature of light for videoconferencing. Whether all the delegates in a training session can hear every word spoken by their instructor will depend on whether the acoustics of the lecture theatre have been properly compensated for in the design of the PA system. And whether users of a videowall at a museum can interact properly with the exhibit will depend on whether the projector lenses have been accurately specified for the distances and ambient light characteristics of the space. Ensuring that a properly qualified AV supplier is involved in specifying such products is the best way to ensure that costly mistakes are not made – and the sooner such a supplier is involved, the better. And this is not just a question of specifying. These days, the various items of AV technology – projectors, screens, loudspeakers, microphones, controllers and so forth – work at their best when they are designed to be integrated together as a system. CONTROLLING COSTS OVER TIME While the appropriate design and installation of a facility’s AV system will ensure that costs are controlled at the purchase stage, what many public sector managers need to know is how to budget for their system to be properly maintained over time. In the education sector, for example, tales abound of schools and colleges installing projectors but then having no budget to buy replacement lamps for them. Many qualified AV installers now offer maintenance contracts as part of their service, and indeed the surest way of accurately budgeting for total cost of ownership is to assign the job of maintenance to the supplier that originally specified the system. Not only

will the technology have been specified with minimal maintenance in mind, but the supplier will be more intimately familiar with all the individual products involved. In fact, what many public sector facility managers are now realising is that the competencies of AV specialists now extend far beyond merely managing the costs of the AV system. The same skills that allow lights to be dimmed automatically when a presentation begins can also be leveraged to provide automated lighting control for an entire building, thereby further reducing costs and contributing to a lower-carbon building. And it doesn’t stop at the

it seeks to ensure that those who buy AV products receive a system that meets their needs, that is properly accounted for and that is correctly maintained over time. InfoComm has offered its CTS (Certified Technology Specialist) programme for more than 30 years, and every year certifies more qualified AV professionals than anyone else. InfoComm’s certifications are the only AV credentials to achieve accreditation through the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) ISO/IEC 17024 certification of personnel. InfoComm’s CTS programme assesses

For end customers, CTS certification provides evidence that the holder is a practising AV professional with proven competencies in designing, specifying, installing and maintaining audiovisual systems to the highest standards lights – heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and more can all be brought under centralised control and management, slashing operating costs and increasing operational efficiency still further. HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT AV SUPPLIER? Over the past few years, as the cost of AV equipment has come down, many companies have begun to paint themselves as specialists in the field despite having relatively little expertise. In the end, there is only one way to be sure of a correctly delivered project and a high quality of service, and that is to use the services of suppliers that have earned recognised certification. A not-for-profit organisation, InfoComm International is the world’s largest professional body representing the AV community. Through its CTS certification programme,

individuals against peer-developed standards of competencies; provides an assessment (exam) that is independent of any specific course or curriculum; enhances continued competency through ongoing renewal requirements; and requires adherence to a code of ethics. For end customers, CTS certification provides evidence that the holder is a practising AV professional with proven competencies in designing, specifying, installing and maintaining audiovisual systems to the highest standards.

Dan Goldstein is the International PR manager for InfoComm International.

FOR MORE INFORMATION E-mail: DanG@infocomm.org Web: www.ctsforav.org

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our staff and the design and implementation of flexible, sustainable solutions using the latest technology where suitable and working to the relevant design principles. We are working towards ISO9001 and ISO14001 certification. Systech AV is also part of Group AV, providing hire and event production services, and video conference

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COMMUNICATIONS

EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION David Holdstock, head of corporate communications at the London Borough of HIllingdon, explains how the council successfully engages and converses with citizens of all ages website, the next question is whether or not to use other online channels. Parts of the public sector are still nervous about anything which is led by citizens and therefore, there is still a cautious approach to new media. We were amongst the first local authorities to use social media to engage with our local community, starting with YouTube in 2007 and then Flickr, Twitter and Facebook. Many councils are now using the full range of digital and social media and this is delivering real involvement at a local level. However, once you go down this route, there are expectations and people will want to see that their council is listening to what they have to say and acting on their concerns. Once you build expectation, councils have to deliver.

IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE OF AUSTERITY, public sector communicators are searching for ways to deliver more effective and efficient communications to their communities. At the same time, the public feels that national and local governments are remote and out-of-touch, so the challenge for councils is to ensure that they are able to engage with their communities. This is going to be vital in the coming months when explaining the changes in local public services. DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS Although many are tempted by the quick wins that online activities can bring, the public sector has in the past taken a cautious approach to digital communications. Those that have embraced it often use it in isolation from their communications strategy so it becomes a project or an experiment rather than part of an integrated solution. The public sector going online has also tended to be focused on giving information rather than part of a wider conversation with the public. This has often led to a command and control mentality – if we can’t control it then we won’t engage with it. There are, however, a growing number of councils who are delivering effective online communications and engaging with their local communities. In Hillingdon, we decided very early on that using digital media and technology can work perfectly if integrated with more traditional forms of communication and can deliver improved outcomes for citizens. In turn, it can also help improve the reputation of local government.

For this to be effective, it has to be part of an overall and integrated strategy. When developing local communication campaigns, digital media must be included at the planning stage. If not, it ends up as little more than a press release on the news section of a website. GETTING THE BASICS RIGHT The first step is to get the basics in place so that core information is up-to-date and provided in a way that people can use simply. Many public sector websites are set up in a way that mirrors organisational structures. So, if you’re lucky, staff might be able to navigate their way around the site if they understand the organisational set up. For citizens, it becomes a laborious and time-consuming task that often ends up being abandoned in favour of a visit to their council or a phone call. All of which is inefficient and damaging for the image of councils as modern, innovative organisations that embrace new technologies and new ways of working. For councils of course, the bottom line is that it costs more. In Hillingdon, we asked our residents what would work for them and as a result of those conversations, we have grouped together information to address our residents’ needs at various key stages of their life such as planning for retirement, transition to secondary school, moving to and from benefits, bereavement, and beating the recession. This allows easy access to council information and includes links to other related sites. Once you have a good quality and up-to-date

ONLINE REPUTATION Monitoring our online reputation and the instant feedback that digital media offers has been particularly interesting as we’ve seen how quickly we can address concerns and work to change opinions for the better. One of our first exchanges on Twitter was with a woman who had just moved into the area criticising the lack of things to do and places to visit. We tweeted some ideas for places to visit, things to do and some of the boroughs highlights. As a result, she took up some of our ideas and re-tweeted with some very positive comments about the borough. In many ways, she was able to say more about the borough than we ever could, helping to enhance our reputation and image. Residents can also access an online A-Z directory of services and contact information, engage through community discussion forums, interactive digital TV and mobile web channels, receive news alerts (by e-mail and SMS) and share views through social media. This gives people a choice in how it receives local service information and how it wishes to engage with the council. The community also has the ability to feed back to the authority through a variety of channels. We have also used the expertise and support of the private sector, working with Google to pilot the use of Google Adwords. This paid-for search marketing has delivered a very strong return on what was a small investment. As part of our support to local businesses during the credit crunch, a joint initiative with Google delivered an event for the borough’s small businesses, supporting them with free advice and support to help get them started trading online. The event attracted nearly 200 local businesses. Our staff have also been included as part of our approach to digital media. Like most

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organisations, we have a well-developed intranet but we have listened to our staff and developed it in a way that works for them. Staff can now personalise the intranet so that it is set up to meet individual needs. We are using Yammer networks for staff and partner collaboration, which is growing all the time and our staff chat forums allow staff to share ideas and express views that they might not feel comfortable doing in other settings. Although some may see this as high risk, this allows us to test the temperature of the organisation and respond in real-time to issues that concern staff, thereby improving our internal communications and talent retention. The other outcome of allowing staff to share ideas and comment on what colleagues have to say is that they have contributed ideas for saving money, many of which have been implemented or further developed. Our chief executive will often contribute, asking staff for their views and this high level endorsement allows staff to express their views and share ideas in a way which they might not otherwise share, other than through informal networks or on the grapevine. KEY TO SUCCESS The key to the success of using technology to drive reputation is to continually ask whether this is right for you, and measure and evaluate the success or otherwise of the approach you are taking. It’s easy to get wrapped up in new technologies and forget that more people use e-mail than any other form of digital communication. Some councils are reaching large audiences with monthly e-mailed newsletters, which work very effectively to engage residents and community leaders. Ask the question: “Is this the right thing for your residents?” In Hillingdon, I’m sure like many others, we held the view that for our older residents we still needed to print information in the traditional way – well designed, in colour,

using good quality photographs. When we challenged ourselves, no one was able to provide the hard evidence to validate this view. So, we invited a panel of residents to tell us what they thought – the outcome was clear. Led by 83 year-old Joyce, they told us that what they want is clear, easy to understand information. They only want to read it once and they don’t want to have to contact the council to explain it in more detail. What Joyce also told us was that we shouldn’t waste money on printing so many leaflets – why don’t we put the information online? REACHING THE YOUNG Reaching young people in the community has always been a challenge and in the current age of ever-changing technology, as soon as organisations such as councils get to grips with the latest technological fashion, things have already moved on. The use of web and mobile technology does present an opportunity to meet this challenge if it’s done in the right way and is seen as authentic. In an effort to enhance our youth offer, we set up an internship project to take our youth website on to the next level. We already knew that local young people wanted all the information relevant to them in one place, but by employing a graduate trainee, we were able to engage both local young people and youth service providers in a way that enabled us to gather the information relevant to all aspects of a young person’s life, whilst allowing us to take a fresh look at how it was delivered. As a result, we have developed a well-regarded content-rich site, which includes news, events and advanced features like maps, slideshows, video and interactive on-screen apps. To help promote the site, we set up a suite of Facebook pages, each dedicated to a particular locality in the borough, something young people asked for. We now have hundreds of young people signed up but more importantly, engaged in positive activities.

This has helped us to re-shape our thinking around so-called “hard to reach” groups. For us, it’s not the young or the old, very often it’s middle-aged professionals who work all day, spend long hours away from home and do not have time to see other forms of communication from their council. This is our next challenge. If the public sector gets its online communications strategy right, it will pay dividends – engaged citizens at a low cost to councils, delivering improved reputation. There are many examples across the country of councils that have engaged effectively with large parts of their communities. In Coventry, they have utilised new media very effectively to have “conversations” with their residents on a range of local issues. The results have been impressive. In Hillingdon, successful examples include the council’s opposition to the third runway at Heathrow, for which we produced a short film showing the impact of a yes-decision and encouraged residents to post comments through YouTube, Facebook and the council website. Using this as part of an integrated campaign, we received 18,000 “no” votes from residents and ultimately the plans have been scrapped. During the bad weather in February, we continually updated the website 24-hours a day (with staff working out of hours and at home) with the latest local information. This included updates about school closures and other affected services and facilities, advice to older residents about keeping warm and the latest travel information. We even posted a gritting route for the borough, which showed residents all of the roads that had been gritted. It does take time and sometimes you need to take a few risks. The pay-off though can be stunning. If you’re not convinced, why not ask Joyce?

FOR MORE INFORMATION Web: www.hillingdon.gov.uk

Mobile device management and security from Condico

C

ONDICO SPECIALISES in mobile device management solutions and services for government and NGOs, including: • in field maintenance • remote control • application upload and configuration • FIPS 140-2 validated encryption • tracking • menu lock down • remote lock and wipe • supply of ruggedised devices With our partners Herbert Group (www. herbertretail.co.uk) we now offer a fully

outsourced solution for all your mobile support requirements including hosted device management, 1st line support desk for end user problem resolution, consultancy, training, APN/ VPN security, hardware and hardware support.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Tel: 01442 500600 E-mail: info@condicomobile.com Web: www.condicomobile.com

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FROM SOMETHING OLD TO SOMETHING NEW It is only through IT investment that the public sector will be able to take advantage of the latest routes to increased operational efficiency, advises Joanne Chidwick, UK industry marketing manager, Oracle Corporation UK ANYONE CONTEMPLATING a dinner party with friends or even a convivial chat with colleagues around the water cooler is almost certain to touch on the topic of spending cuts these days. Yet with all the discussion about the impact on public services, families and jobs there is a very important layer of public administration which is in danger of taking a hit, potentially affecting the business of government in some fundamental ways. Ageing IT systems in the public sector are going to be under increased pressure, and may well be a hidden casualty of forthcoming spending cuts, at the very time when investment in them is becoming critical. The prospect of a tough year or two is being faced countrywide and IT departments within the public sector are far from exempt. The government is seeking £6.2 billion in savings, and has identified £95 million of this to come from IT savings and £1.7 billion from revision or cancellation of contracts, many of which are IT-related. A freeze on recruitment, plus possible redundancies arising from the broad reduction targets with which key departments are tasked, make it highly likely that IT staffing will be impacted to some degree. To add the icing on the cake, while public sector workers ready themselves for this, several mergers of government departments are being discussed which would create immediate IT and data headaches. Lastly, sweeping reform of the “arms length bodies” otherwise known as quangos appears to be under way: 192 bodies are to go, leaving questions about how their functions will be absorbed by other public bodies. GETTING THE APPROVAL TO INVEST Gaining acceptance or approval for any spending on IT in this climate will be very tough – yet investment in modernising old IT systems may be one of the most important ways that the public sector can save money and create the efficiencies and agility that will be needed to carry out government business through the tough times ahead and into the future. IT modernisation is becoming essential in the UK public sector. With increasing economic pressure comes the need to improve the efficiency of services as well as reduce costs. Regardless of economic pressure, the public continually expect more engagement and more rapid and seamless delivery of services and information from their public service

bodies. Central and local government budgets are being squeezed and all public sector bodies will need to seek cost efficiencies, including those that can be delivered through modernised IT systems and infrastructure. Integrating new applications can bring many cost savings including a reduction in operating expenditure, less dependence on expensive and sometimes scarce skills and changes to data centre configuration can decrease power consumption and bring a higher return on initial and ongoing investments. So what’s the problem? IT’S ALL HISTORY The public sector holds information that is vital to the running of the country and to the delivery of public services, yet a combination of reluctance to change and conservative IT spending in government has created IT environments that are unable to cope with the changing demands placed upon them. Much public sector information is held on ageing mainframes or in a complex combination of proprietary or antiquated systems. There has been some investment to modernise in many local authorities and central departments, but this has often simply added new application layers and data connections with much of the underlying logic remaining on the mainframe. There is little standardisation between different areas and a general lack of overall IT strategy. DATA, DATA EVERYWHERE It is estimated that data resides in 130 different data centres, much of it on old mainframe platforms as well as in thousands of server rooms. Full IT modernisation can span updating the data centre, consolidation, virtualisation and migration of systems and assets, and the modernisation of legacy applications and data. While all are important, arguably it is the last which is of most immediate concern from an operational perspective: its application capabilities and ability to gain maximum use of its data effectively determine the ability of an organisation to operate and deliver services daily. DEPENDENCE ON LEGACY SKILLS Many legacy systems and applications in use in the UK public sector have reached the end of their effective lives or are becoming very hard to maintain. As the software

and systems age, so do those who support and sustain them. The UK already has an ageing IT workforce overall, and the younger generation is emerging with cutting-edge IT and software skills which are simply inapplicable within legacy systems. Particularly of concern is the increasing shortage of skills in 4th generation programming languages (4GLs) such as COBOL, which is making them more expensive as well as harder to find. Even where commercial applications or systems have been bought in addition, they can be ageing to the point of being out of support or already considered obsolete. DEPENDENCE ON INDIVIDUALS Many public sector applications have been developed over years by in-house IT teams. Many are largely undocumented and, as a corollary to the ageing of the IT staff, the risk is that as individuals leave public service their knowledge leaves with them. The public sector redundancies, which are likely in the current economic climate, may exacerbate this significantly. These individuals are not only key to the continued running and maintenance of some systems, but will also be vital to any successful modernisation programme as they are often the only ones who know how things have been created and why. This lends added urgency to the need for public sector organisations to put modernisation strategies in place at the earliest opportunity. COMPLEXITY AND INTERDEPENDENCY Public sector IT systems are often extremely complex because over time many organisations have amassed a complex and interdependent mash-up of different applications and databases, which require more and more work to keep aligned. Temporary solutions for sharing data have become enshrined as established systems in their own right, and while they continue to work adequately there has seemed little reason to change. Data has often been hard or slow to access, which tends to lead to individual groups, departments or teams creating small data caches close to home, which can duplicate or diverge from centralised data, and their own data management tools, spreadsheets or databases, all of which adds further complexity to an already complex IT environment. Broadly speaking, IT modernisation can be

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defined as moving from something old to something new within your IT environment. It requires a holistic approach to planning and creating strategies for change, however, the modernisation does not have to be whole scale, and can be phased or focused to resolve key issues in turn. It might be as simple as moving from old applications to new, or moving data from an old mainframe to a new hosted platform, or a combination of the two. It may even be a transformation of the whole underlying architecture. The vital importance of retaining access to the logic contained within extensive legacy IT systems together with the needs to reduce operational and maintenance cost makes IT modernisation a critical activity. DOING MORE FOR LESS Lack of investment is only one of the barriers that may stand in the way of achieving a more modern IT infrastructure. Fair or not, the public sector has a reputation of low tolerance to change. Its operational processes are certainly bureaucratic and highly documented. Most public sector IT systems were set up and then further tailored to support these very specific processes and information flows, and their inflexibility at the time was not an issue – but

this inflexibility itself is now a real problem. Fear of what it will take to change them, along with the possible disruption of day-to-day operations, are barriers which simply must be overcome. Today’s IT services providers are able to avoid interruption to public services, and it need not be difficult or expensive to move even vast quantities of data. Like in every other organisation, those in the public sector will find that they will need to do more for less, and must recognise that IT is an important enabler. Doing more with IT is an easy concept to grasp, as it is recognised as an enabler of more automated and streamlined processes. Doing more for less with IT is harder to grasp, because of the perceived cost of implementing any IT change programme. It is also estimated that 80 per cent of most IT budgets are devoted to maintaining existing systems, giving little room for investment when times are tough. However, unless investment is made, that balance cannot be addressed. They will struggle to unlock the efficiency savings which IT could potentially deliver, and be unable to take advantage of opportunities to reduce cost in the delivery of public services. This situation is definitely not going to improve on its own. It is only through

IT investment that the public sector will be able to take advantage of the latest routes to increased operational or IT efficiency. Despite the difficult economic times, public sector organisations need to make some decisions about their IT future. Although such changes can appear daunting, with the right strategy and implementation plan it is possible to execute phased change which can transform the ability of organisations to respond to new opportunities and demands and make substantial cost savings. While public sector bodies fail to explore their options, they are held hostage by their old systems. Yet these fears need not be realised, if they take the right steps. Oracle Corporation UK has produced a new public sector Briefing Document entitled “Legacy Application Modernisation for the Public Sector”. The paper discusses these issues faced by public bodies and explores the range of options available to find individual solutions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Visit www.oracleassets.com to read or download the paper.

US tax office uses automated tools for modernisation of legacy COBOL applications to Java HE TAX OFFICE at State of Maine Revenue Service (MRS) has been relying on the information processing capabilities provided by the existing COBOL tax system. Installed in the mid 1990s and written in COBOL, it was becoming increasing difficult to maintain the complex programs, respond to change requests and attract the brightest talent to the antiquated software development program. Operational concerns regarding the on-going support cost and maintainability of the current COBOL application development environment, lead MRS management team to consider whether there were opportunities for cost reduction without disrupting productivity or losing important system enhancements. In order to address these new requirements, MRS considered three options: rewriting the existing system application, installing a new application package, or transforming the mainframe COBOL code into Java. The manual rewrite option would have taken too long and been prone to error; setting up a new package would involve a new learning curve and the loss of program customisations. In the end, the decision was taken to adopt a JAVA transform solution proposed by Softwaremining Technologies (www.softwaremining.com). Key factors

T

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in the decision included the delivery of a modern and maintainable code base and the continued support for customised functions. Softwaremining Technologies comprise of a set of Artificial Intelligence based language-translation tools to regenerate the system into a highly maintainable Java or C# system. This new innovative approach provides organisations with a rapid means of empowering business users and IT professionals to deliver modernised system application solutions that are highly maintainable, take advantage modern software technologies and also leverage cheaper high-end Unix platforms. “We are seeing great benefits from this transformation program. Not only have we achieved our cost and maintainability goals but our users are now more productive and can give a better service to the citizens of Maine,” said Karin Peterson, director of System Programs at Maine Revenue Services The project was split into 4-phase,

approximately 600 programmes were converted, including batch and interactive programme, serving 250 online users. • Overall cost of the project was 70 per cent cheaper than purchasing a replacement system. • IT budgets were dramatically reduced while simultaneously improving IT and business services delivery. • Modernisation of the business application was transformed with no loss of functionality. • Project met and surpassed the MRS goals. “In 16 years of implementing complex tax systems, this project has been by far the most successful implementation to date. The translation of the COBOL code to JAVA using SoftwareMining’s tools was a tremendous success. Our experience of working with SoftwareMining reconfirmed our view that reengineering enables a organisations to reap the benefits of modern technology without the significant risk and cost associated with wholesale replacement,” commented Danny Reeves, PM, project manager, RSI Solutions (SI).

FOR MORE INFORMATION Tel: 01483 68 48 04 E-mail: sales@softwaremining.com Web: www.softwaremining.com


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EFFICIENCY AND MODERNISATION DRIVEN BY PROCESS EXCELLENCE An approach to application modernisation with business process excellence at its heart will be the key to a public sector that can continue to deliver vital services without breaking the economy

THE UK PUBLIC SECTOR currently faces the twin challenges of implementing significant changes to policy and government organisational structures, while at the same time attempting to drastically reduce the costs of providing services to citizens and businesses. Given that the underlying IT systems and software in use today represent significant assets that in the words of John Suffolk, the government CIO, need to be sweated, an approach to modernisation and transformation based on the wholesale replacement of applications is rarely cost effective, necessary or even desirable. FAILING TO DELIVER Policy makers have realised the claims made by some IT vendors that all government needs to do to realise efficiencies and improve services is to throw away old applications and replace them with new ones are false. The recent history of UK public sector IT is littered with examples of new systems, based on the very latest packaged applications, failing to deliver their expected benefits due to difficulties and cost-overruns in their implementation. This is particularly true where the systems being replaced are the ones that support the unique, core business of public sector organisations which embody many years of carefully crafted business logic. Experienced practitioners in the industry understand the risks of wholesale rip and replace modernisation projects, and the career-threatening cost and time overruns associated with them.

Software does not wear out, but it may give the impression that it does if it is configured in a manner which means that it is not capable of adapting quickly to the changing needs and shape of government service provision. Simply replacing an old application with a new one, however “modern” the underlying technology may be, rarely delivers the expected benefits and return on investment. The reality of government policy is that it can change in a heartbeat, leaving government CIOs with the impossible dilemma of having to deliver on ministers’ expectations of rapid change with yet more systems that are not built for it. The consequence is often a grand programme that takes longer to deliver than a minister’s tenure, leaving projects hanging as a new incumbent sends them off in another direction. An encouraging step away from the cycle of rip and replace modernisation is hinted at in the ‘21st Century Welfare’ consultation. This document recognises that the way to modernise service delivery is not to invest in new applications, but to repurpose existing systems across government. BUSINESS PROCESS EXCELLENCE Software AG’s approach to this programme would be to put business process excellence at its heart. It appears that the DWP believes that this is important too, as their 6th principle states that to deliver these reforms, they will: “Automate processes and maximise self service, to reduce the scope for fraud, error and overpayments. This could include a

responsive and immediate service that saves the taxpayer significant amounts of money…” There is no doubt that the automation of business processes is an effective way to reduce the costs associated with delivering services. Industry best practice and the experience of our customers demonstrate that a Business Process Management Suite (BPMS) closely integrated with technologies that allow simple re-use of existing applications and services are the most appropriate method of achieving the best possible return from their application and data assets. Furthermore, the consistency of processes executed through a BPMS means that the same high quality customer experience is received by all, regardless of the access channel the customer uses. COST EFFECTIVENESS AND FLEXIBILITY The most compelling arguments for the use of a BPMS to support the reforms that will be required in the delivery of UK public service over the coming years is that of flexibility and cost effectiveness. Flexibility when compared to either attempting to tailor an off the shelf business application or application suite to the unique requirements of UK government organisations. Cost effectiveness when compared to bespoke application development, even if open source software components are used. What is clear is that if government wants to get better results from its investments in software, wholesale replacement of so-called “legacy systems” with new applications (which will simply become tomorrow’s legacy) is not the answer. Cost savings and efficiency improvements come not from IT alone, but primarily from the improvement of business processes. Focusing on analysing, modelling and improving these processes will reveal where efficiency improvements can be made. The good news is that the proven best practices and technology exist to enable strategic application re-use. Serviceoriented architecture working hand-in hand with a BPMS to re-use existing systems can deliver the rapid process improvements needed by the public sector to achieve their efficiency targets.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Tel: 01344 403800 E-mail: a.griffin@softwareag.com Web: www.softwareag.com/corporate/ solutions/process_transformation/ overview/default.asp

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FEELING THE BUDGET SQUEEZE? Empower the end-user and reduce dependency on individual IT specialists CONTINUED HEAVY RELIANCE on specialist IT resources (analysts and development) only exacerbates the issue. One way to reduce dependency on expensive (and often scarce) IT resources is to find ways for end-users to do more for themselves. Over the last 10 years significant gains have been made with tools that enable endusers to manage the loading of information into ERP systems. Tools that improve productivity and reduce costs, without the heavy reliance on technical resources for implementation and on-going maintenance. More4Apps offer a range of products that enable end-users to load and maintain transactions on mass into the Oracle E-Business Suite. These pre-built applications require minimal implementation effort. The front-end is Microsoft Excel which has a familiar lookand-feel and many inherent features (e.g. the ability to load files and use formulas). End-users can be very quickly up-and-running loading and maintaining hundreds or even thousands of transactions on a daily basis. Empowering end-users to manage the loading and maintenance of bulk transactions will by default reduce the dependency on specialist IT skills. REDUCE PROJECT TIME, COST AND RISK Many organisations will be forced to streamline processes, replace legacy systems and aging technology. With data migration is the inevitable cost, time, resources and associated risks. The More4Apps pre-built integration means that you do not have the cost of custom IT development. The pre-validation function means that data can be cleansed and dataloads tested prior to go-live. The ability to be up-and-running with very limited technical and specialist functional resources means a big winwin for any Oracle E-Business Suite project. Data-migration tools like those offered by More4Apps means you can use resources efficiently, thus reducing implementation time, cost and risk. FIT-FOR-PURPOSE, FIT-FOR BUDGET The budget squeeze is likely to leave no department untouched. All functions including Finance, Human Resources, Manufacturing, Order Management and Project Management have the need to process large amounts of information. Whether for an implementation or on-going maintenance More4Apps offer a range of tools that can enable gains in data-entry productivity, improvements in the accuracy & timeliness of information and subsequent reduction in

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Over the last 10 years significant gains have been made with tools that enable end-users to manage the loading of information into ERP systems costs (i.e. human resource requirements). The license and support costs of the More4Apps products are very reasonable and cost-savings often very quickly pay back the investment. Here are some examples of how More4Apps have assisted organisations, without blowing the budget: FINANCE Typically finance functions have very high volumes of transactions and tight deadlines. Any gains realised in data-entry productivity can have a significant impact on this department. “The Requisition Wizard Tool has provided us with a cost effective and efficient way to process hundreds and thousands of

requisition lines in minutes instead of hours and days. The flexibility and usability of the Excel based tool has provided us with an effective way to manage our RFQ/Quote/ REQ and PO process within 1 spreadsheet per Renovation Project. The tool also provides data validation and account generation during both the download and upload processes into Oracle and all error messages are meaningful and aid in the speedy resolution of any and all data issues,” – Brian Lezak, Oracle Procurement Lead - The Red Roof Inn Project. More4Apps offer the following tools for the finance function: AP Invoice Wizard, PO Wizard, Requisition Wizard, AR Invoice Wizard, AR Receipt Wizard, Customer Wizard and Asset Wizard.


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HUMAN RESOURCES Mergers and acquisitions are common place in many organisations. It is very apparent that HCM users are struggling to load employees from legacy systems or migrate employees between Release 11i and Release 12 instances. They are developing complex processes with multiple tools (like Web ADI, Configuration Workbench, Data Loader, iSetup and API’s); not one of these tools can fill the entire requirement adequately. “With new acquisitions this year, More4Apps tool has played a vital role in streamlining our HRMS processes. It has cut our time from hours to a few minutes when doing mass loads for conversions. It is simple, fast and a life saver. Also, we use this tool on a consistent basis for several types of loads; Addresses, Assignments, and Personal Information without additional errors using validate and correction feature. The benefits of this product and customer service are truly exceptional. They are always open for suggestions and development too. I highly recommend this application for any HRMS department.”– Roland Cons, Human Resources, Tetra Tech, Inc. More4Apps offer the following tools for the HR function: • Employee Wizard - enables employee,

address, contact, assignment, salary and related information to be extracted from and loaded into Oracle HR. • Special Information Wizard – is a very fast, simple tool that enables the loading and maintenance of special information for employees. It automatically configures to your various special information types (SIT’s). • Element Entry Wizard – enables current element entries for employees to be downloaded, modified and reloaded in minimal time. New element entries can be loaded. Worksheets are automatically configured according to the set up of the selected element(s). PROJECT MANAGEMENT Managing Projects and Budgets can create massive data processing bottlenecks. Organisations are continually choosing to budget at very high levels or not at all because of the time required for data-entry. A large amount of project planning and budgeting is completed using Microsoft Excel. “[More4Apps] solutions are very affordable. The time benefits realised in the first upload of a national rollout program paid for the cost of the software. Not to count the 50 plus rollouts we have had since then. This has been a great

firm to assist us over the past couple of years.” – 7-Eleven, Inc. More4Apps offer the following tools for the project management function: • Budget Wizard – enables you to upload and download your budgets and plans from Excel into Oracle Projects. • Project Wizard – allows you to efficiently create and maintain large numbers of projects, tasks and related information. • Event Wizard – is the tool for creating Oracle Projects revenue and billing events. • Transaction Wizard – supports multiple types of PA transactions including: usages, timesheets, inventory, miscellaneous transactions, project journals, WIP and vendor invoices. Feeling the Budget Squeeze? When you are looking for ways to improve productivity and reduce costs, there are now tools available that empower users to do more things for themselves, thus reducing the high dependence on specialist (and probably expensive) IT resources.

FOR MORE INFORMATION To find out more: E-mail: info@more4apps.com Web: www.more4apps.com

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NEW APPS FROM OLD Maximise the value and potential of your legacy applications with Transoft IN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE we all need to get the maximum value out of our existing critical systems in the most cost-effective way possible. Transoft’s innovative modernisation software and services can help you to create new solutions by applying latest technologies to existing software applications. For thousands of our customers around the world, this has provided: • rapid return on investment • reduced costs • improved productivity and efficiency • the ability to manage operational risk. A Transoft modernisation solution can enable you to: REDUCE YOUR OPERATIONAL COSTS By moving applications to lower cost-ofownership open systems platforms, or transforming them to a new programming architecture, you can position your business to take full advantage of latest technology whilst reducing maintenance costs. If your hardware has reached its end of life, or it’s too expensive to run, or you simply want to upgrade to the latest operating environments, Transoft provides rapid and smooth application migration and re-architecting solutions to move your key legacy applications onto modern hardware platforms and operating systems. “The migration with Transoft has reduced not only the cost of ongoing maintenance of the legacy system, but also the business risk of being reliant on a platform nearing end-of-life,” says Craig Wild, client engagement manager, Capgemini. IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE LEVELS The concept of reusing business logic from legacy applications as building blocks for creating new modern Web, mobile or classic transaction processing systems is now well understood, and has been implemented with great success by many organisations. Transoft can provide a SOA framework specifically developed for a wide variety of programming environments, enabling Web Services and other services to be defined and created from existing 3GL applications. These services can be connected to any modern application using a range of standard interfaces including Microsoft .NET (C# proxies), JavaBeans and JCA, SOAP XML, COM and even HTTP. By building services from existing legacy applications organisations can offer their customers improved, cutting edge solutions. “Being committed to customer focused solutions, we recognised that real-time online ordering was a strategic alternative to our call centre. Transoft has allowed us to integrate our online ordering system with our existing

applications. This has been instrumental in helping us secure new contract wins with Ford, BMW and many others, and as a result our business has grown by 10 per cent,” comments Steve Parker, IT director, Stapletons. IMPROVE DECISION MAKING With data integration, organisations are frequently dependent on error-prone and costly manual processes in order to synchronise the data in different applications. More than ever, organisations need access to information for informed decision making. When data is in a range of non-relational as well as relational sources, this is a real problem. Integrated access to disparate data means information required for critical decision making is easily available. Transoft can provide fast, reliable real-time information processing across all data sources, helping facilitate development of new systems based on SOA, supporting B2B data exchange, and enabling customer data integration. “Our unparalleled experience in spanning the gap between legacy data and modern relational technology has enabled us to develop a product that is easy to implement and offers very significant new functionality to existing software,” says Felix Decsi, CTO, Transoft. SIMPLIFY PROCESSING Web services and component-based technologies allow one application to easily interface with another. However, as we know, if existing core applications are in older languages such as COBOL, RPG, C, BASIC, etc. there is a problem. These languages do not directly support Web services or component architectures, such as

SOAP, .NET, COM, Java/EJB, and CORBA. Transoft can enable these core applications to connect directly to newer applications in a scalable way, using the same standards that these modern programs use to communicate with each other – for example, Visual Basic/ ASP, Java/JSP, etc. or via Web services. The Transoft Legacy Integration approach ensures that none of your existing applications need remain an “island of computing” but can be fully integrated into your organisation’s strategy of providing business on demand. This ensures greater ROI from existing core systems. “Transoft provides the missing link that enables the Web designer to easily integrate new e-business applications with the organisation’s existing data. Transoft forms a fundamental part of our future development strategy,” adds Chris Hewetson, managing director, CSfD.

FOR MORE INFORMATION We are currently offering a free initial assessment of your applications and the options available to you. To find out more please go to www.transoft.com/gt or contact Mike Rochford on Tel: 01753 778089 Mob: 07801 634176 E-mail: mrochford@transoft.com

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A number of leading industry independents such as the Federation Against Software Theft, Gartner and Rocela (based on evidence from our own experience), have all suggested that effective Software Asset Management can reduce your overall software costs by approximately 20%.

This becomes even more compelling when trying to manage your Oracle licenses whilst undertaking cost cutting strategies such as consolidation or shared services initiatives. The potential landmine in all your planning could be that you didn’t consider the implications that infrastructure changes have on your Oracle license models.

Are your efficiency plans efficient?

Even if you have an OGC negotiated ELA, have taken advantage of OGC or ERG preferential pricing or your entire IT function is outsourced, the opportunity to potentially realise efficiencies still exists. Rocela’s independent expert advice in Oracle license consulting has helped

numerous public sector organisations save money on managing their Oracle license estate. “We wanted to make sure that our Oracle spend was optimum, so engaged Rocela to validate our position. After a brief engagement with Rocela, we were able to save around 20% on our Oracle license transaction costs.” Large Central Government Department

We have a pedigree within the Oracle community for delivering: n reduced Oracle cost of ownership and cost avoidance n license compliance assurance n enhanced vendor relationship For more information, call us on 0870 100 4000 or go to our website at www.rocela.com/knowledge-store/ case-studies/ to learn how we have helped our clients optimise Oracle. Contact us: e: info@rocela.com t: 0870 100 4000 www.rocela.com


Government Technology | Volume 9.7

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SOFTWARE LICENSING

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR ASSETS Find out how you can avoid unnecessary costs, deploy best practice and mitigate the risk of non-compliance with FAST RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS that public sector spending will be reduced by £83bn by 2014 are putting great pressure on public sector organisations’ IT departments to do more with less. The need to sweat existing assets and to have effective software asset management (SAM) policies in place will be key to ensuring a robust, compliant infrastructure. DELIVERING SAVINGS To deliver savings, many organisations will be looking to automate manual processes, take services online to reduce overheads, implement new technologies such as virtualisation, cloud computing and Softwareas-a-Service, as well as look to manage their existing assets more effectively. In this article we look at how a number of local councils have developed structured SAM policies and procedures by implementing programmes

such as the FAST Standard for Software Compliance, which has ensured they are legal when it comes to their IT assets. DACORUM BOROUGH COUNCIL Based in Hemel Hempstead, Dacorum Borough Council is one of 10 district councils in Hertfordshire. The council is responsible

for the main towns of Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Tring and Kings Langley. It has 750 PCs and 63 servers across 11 sites, supporting just under 1,000 employees. All machines are networked to the council’s headquarters in Hemel Hempstead. Dacorum Borough Council joined the FAST Compliance programme aiming to gain better control of its IT.

To deliver savings, many organisations will be looking to automate manual processes, take services online to reduce overheads, implement new technologies such as virtualisation, cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service, as well as look to manage their existing assets more effectively

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SOFTWARE LICENSING

Before embarking on the programme the council did not have specific controls in place to govern the use of IT equipment. Historically, software procurement was very ad hoc. Subsequent to FAST presenting to the council’s chief executive and corporate management to raise awareness of the project, the importance of having robust IT policies was brought to the forefront. CLEAR MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES To address this, the IT team at Dacorum Borough Council constructed detailed IT policies and procedures to establish clear guidelines on how IT equipment was to be managed – from procurement, through its lifecycle, to disposal. As well as comprehensive policies and procedures, education has been key to enable effective SAM. Once complete and signed off by the chief executive, the IT policies were distributed. All staff were required to sign to confirm that they accepted and would abide by the policies. In addition, training courses on IT security awareness (comprising information on legislation, the importance of good software management, how to ensure compliance, software licensing and common issues and problems) have been run on a regular basis. AUDITING THE ENVIRONMENT Having achieved FAST Bronze and Silver stages, Dacorum was ready to move to the next phase. Armed with the knowledge gained from the FAST Software Audit Day training course, Derek Thompson, security and standards officer at Dacorum BC, was determined to find out how to best use and maintain the audit tool Centennial Discovery, which previously hadn’t been used to maximum benefit, including what information he needed to gather and feed into it. With this, Derek completed the first full software audit: “Our first audit showed that we were over-licensed on Lotus and Office Standard. We were also over-installed on two programmes that had been put on machines by mistake. As part of the reconciliation process, we immediately uninstalled these. We also used this exercise as an opportunity to rationalise the software on machines – many users had software installed that they didn’t use or need.” Once the time-consuming task of reconciliation was complete, Derek applied for registration to the FAST Standard for Software Compliance, which following an on-site assessment by FAST, was awarded in July 2006. Derek advises: “The filing of documents and good organisation is critical to the success of the FAST programme. Also, don’t underestimate the amount of work involved in managing the data in the audit tool. I still spend about 20 per cent of my time maintaining the audit tool. “We now do a full audit twice a year, one of which is for the annual FAST application. In addition, we run an occasional random audit to identify rogue software that

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may have got on to the network.” Undeterred by these challenges, the council has continued to maintain good software management practice and, in recognition of this, achieved Platinum 2 registration to the FAST Standard in 2010. REAPING THE BENEFITS Derek uncovered many problems as he went along the FAST process and found it to be a major learning experience, but now the council is benefiting from his hard work. For the council, the primary benefit of working with FAST has been gaining control of its software licences. Now, from his PC, Derek has full records of where the council’s PCs are and what software is installed on them and he knows that every piece of software is properly licensed – before working on the FAST programme, hardware asset information was patchy. As part of the asset management processes, hardware assets are now recorded and tracked.

further. It keeps us on our toes!” Derek concludes: “Software compliance is an ongoing process and there will always be new technologies and new things to think about. Going through the FAST programme has been very worthwhile because it has given us a structured way of working and achieving registration the FAST Standard for the second year really recognises our achievement.” Other councils that have benefited from the FAST Programme include Portsmouth City Council and West Sussex County Council. PORTSMOUTH CITY COUNCIL “We needed to ensure we were legally compliant and wanted to give staff the responsibility of ensuring their individual department was properly licensed. FAST’s programme reduced the time the council would have taken to run the audit by itself as it provided clear guidelines for specialised advice and support,” says Mark Gottig, IT Services

The most valuable part of FAST programme is the onsite assessment. No matter what we do, it’s when the FAST account manager comes in and asks questions that we know whether we’re on the right track and have all the correct processes in place – Derek Thompson, security and standards officer at Dacorum BC Derek has been successful in spreading the software compliance word. He now has a pool of unused software licences that are ready for installation as and when required. “General awareness of software licensing issues has improved and, in turn, this has helped us to save money. We know not to buy further licences without checking the pool. This week alone we saved £500 by being able to use existing licences rather than purchasing new ones,” he says. SUPPORT ALONG THE WAY Derek has found that the structure and roadmap provided by the FAST programme gave a good basis from which to start the project. He has also benefited from the FAST training courses and other seminars and the information updates regularly sent to customers, plus that provided by the FAST customer support team. “I have called up and asked questions on policies, use of web mail. I’ve always had clear and timely responses from my FAST advisors,” Derek comments. “The most valuable part of FAST programme is the on-site assessment. No matter what we do, it’s when the FAST account manager comes in and asks questions that we know whether we’re on the right track and have all the correct processes in place. It highlights the progress we’ve made but also where we can improve

Business Support at Portsmouth City Council. By achieving FAST certification, the council has saved money as some departments were disposing of redundant equipment without removing software and recycling licences. The council therefore strengthened its inventory system to log all software held by each department. With the turnover of staff in such a large organisation, it is now much easier to keep track of what software is being used, which licences are needed and which are spare. “Now we are safe in the knowledge that Portsmouth City Council is software compliant and isn’t going to find itself in a position to have to pay out for under licensing,” says Gottig. WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL “One of the main benefits of embarking on the FAST Programme is cost avoidance, which right now is probably a key driver for many organisations. Getting a better handle on asset management and in particular, licence management, will be a great help in cutting costs now and in the future,” says Roland Mezulis, the Council’s IT Policy and Planning manager.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Web: www.fast-compliance.co.uk


Government Technology | Volume 9.7

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SOFTWARE LICENSING

DIVESTING AND RECYCLING SOFTWARE LICENCE ASSETS Having proved its worth within the private arena, Discount-Licensing.com Ltd throws its hat into the public ring, yielding savings and residual benefits for government and other public sector IT budgets “PRE-OWNED SOFTWARE LICENCE?!?” The response that echoed throughout the IT industry when the idea of realising a residual value or saving a £value from disused Microsoft software licence assets first reared its head in 2004. It was an understandable first reaction to an asset where the separate relationship between the software and the licence had gone unnoticed by both private and public organisations, as well as the software vendors themselves. Taking advantage of the manufacturer’s own licence transfer provision, a secondary software licence market was born whereby organisations could take advantage of the discounted prices and/or divest its disused software licence assets. While there are numerous software vendors and each will have different types of licensing programs and Licence Agreement terms, the most commonly known product is Microsoft’s perpetual volume software licences (Open, Select and Enterprise), aimed at small, medium and large organisations and so for the purposes of this article, we will therefore refer to Microsoft. WHAT IS A SOFTWARE LICENCE? A Microsoft volume software licence is a separate asset to the software, PC or media disc. It permits the owner to install and use the software on a desktop PC, laptop or IT device. Private and public sector organisations will either rent a subscription or purchase a perpetual Microsoft volume software licence in order to ensure its business is compliant in the eyes of software manufacturer. A company may purchase multiple copies of Microsoft products due to expansion, licence compliance, migration or other business driven necessities. HOW DOES IT WORK? If a company stops using its software, it can divest its perpetual software licence assets to another company and obtain a residual value. Alternatively, organisations can save on their IT budgets by purchasing a pre-owned software licence product to ensure licence compliance ongoing. This is only possible with perpetual licences that by definition “last forever” and whereby a sale of a software licence asset has occurred between the software vendor and the original customer. Note that subscription software licences cannot be traded as a transfer of ownership has not occurred. Remember that there is no physical product here. The software licence asset is initially created by Microsoft in the form of a set of unique serial numbers that will have been

purchased by the original Microsoft customer. As a prelude to divesting software licence assets, organisations need to understand their current licence situation in terms of what has been purchased against what is installed as well as what is being used. It is then possible to establish whether an organisation is under or over-licensed. This can normally be facilitated remotely without the necessity for timely site visits. As with private sector businesses, Microsoft’s own transfer provision within its Licence Agreement T&Cs, permits the ownership of a disused software licence asset to be transferred from and to public sector organisations. The software manufacturer is informed of every transfer using its own ‘Notice of Perpetual Transfer’ documentation in accordance with its transfer requirements. There is no copyright infringement in the eyes of the software manufacturer as its own transfer provision is adhered to. CURRENT SITUATION Discount-Licensing.com Ltd, previously known as Disclic Ltd, created the first pre-owned Microsoft software licensing market in 2004 by initially divesting Microsoft software licences from the UK Insolvencies and then recycling those assets to private sector business around the world. Discount-Licensing.com has worked closely with Insolvency Practitioners such as KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young to realise financial returns for creditors. It has also generated additional revenue for solvent

businesses seeking to divest their disused, and often overlooked, software licence assets. With the recent well publicised reduction of IT budgets, government and public sector bodies have an opportunity to stretch their funds by divesting disused software licences or save money by purchasing pre-owned. As experienced within the private sector, cuts in IT budgets do not serve as a sufficient reason to remain non-compliant or sit on unrealised assets in the eyes of the software vendor. To date, the public sector has yet to explore all the options regarding what it does with disused Microsoft licence assets as well as where, and at what price, an organisation can purchase additional licences when migrating or finding itself in a non-compliant position. WHAT NEXT? Establish whether your organisation has any disused licences to divest or whether your under-licensed situation can be resolved at a lower price compared to your conventional Microsoft reseller.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Send your details through to DiscountLicensing.com at procurement@ discount-licensing.com or sales@discountlicensing.com and one of their software licence specialists will respond to your enquiry. Alternatively, call DiscountLicensing.com on +44 (0)1283 525959 or visit www.discount-licensing.com

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IT SECURITY

TAKING SOFTWARE SECURITY SERIOUSLY The Business Application Software Developers Association has launched a new Code of Practice to support HMRC’s focus on commercial software security BASDA, THE UK SOFTWARE INDUSTRY trade body, is responding to HMRC’s drive to ensure the security of commercial software by launching the BASDA Software Security Code of Practice. BASDA is supporting members through this initiative and providing reassurance to HMRC and other government bodies that the industry are taking software security seriously. HMRC is keen that the commercial software they use is from organisations who are committed to meet security needs. HMRC staff recently scanned 30 software vendors’ websites to find specific statements on security and could only find these on seven of the sites visited. DEMONSTRATING COMPETENCE The BASDA Software Security Code of Practice has been drawn up to help meet the needs both of software users, such as HMRC, and of BASDA members for a simple way for vendors to demonstrate their commitment to address security issues, concerns and perceptions. The Code is a voluntary, self-certifying code, but condition-based, which will reassure customers of member signatories of their competencies and attitude to such an important product attribute. HMRC has reviewed the BASDA Code, and responded very positively. John Harrison, head of customer contact online, HMRC, offered the following statement of support: “HMRC takes the whole matter of security very seriously across the board, including its Online Services – for instance where customers (or their agents) use third party commercial solutions to meet their regulatory filing and wider online obligations; especially as the scope of these solutions include preparing, submitting and storing data. “HMRC is pleased to see the software industry’s support in ensuring security receives the attention it is due and is particularly delighted to see the proactive stance that BASDA and its members are taking in showing their commitment to best practice via BASDA’s Software Security Code of Practice.” SHOWING COMPLIANCE The Code of Practice covers six areas of compliance, relating not only to software design principles, but also the software usage principles, enabling any certified member company to show that they guide their customers into good practice as well as following it themselves.

ABOUT BASDA BASDA was founded in 1993 and today acts as the voice of the UK-based business software industry. BASDA represents IT organisations of all sizes from the world’s largest business software suppliers through to UK headquartered medium and small sized businesses. For the last 15 years, BASDA has been working with governments, standards and policy-making groups in the UK, Europe and worldwide to provide a forum for collaboration to resolve issues that affect the business software industry and our customers.

The first area relates to data protection compliance, ensuring that software designed to handle data and data processes enables and facilitates compliance with all relevant legislation, and that users of the software are fully aware of their responsibilities under such legislation. Secondly, the Code looks at software function and data access controls, with specific recommendations for both designers and for users relating to password controls and user profiles, for access to complex and sensitive processes and data. Other aspects in the Code are data storage and audit trails, and also data

BASDA provides independent news, opinion and commentary from its position as a non-profit making organisation that represents the collective voice of the UK-based business software industry on behalf of it members. BASDA also produces whitepapers and reports on current legislation and changes that affect the software industry. BASDA is a member-driven organisation with established special interest groups (SIGs) covering Financials, HR & Payroll, Taxation & Final Accounts, eBusiness, Construction, Logistics and Green issues.

recovery, again taking into consideration the potential sensitivity of data held. Finally, and of particular interest to HMRC, banks and other regulatory bodies, the Code looks at best principles on authorisations for data submissions. The BASDA Code has been launched to members. Customers and organisations evaluating software solutions will be able to identify signatories via a new logo on their website and marketing collateral.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Web: www.basda.org

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A New Era in Security and Safety Management Demonstrating security and safety technology · Surveillance & CCTV · Access Control, Time & Attendance · Biometric & Video Analytics · Intruder Detection & Alarms · Fire Detection & Evacuation · Integrated Safety Solutions · Audio, Intercom & Messaging · Transmission & Comms Systems · Building Management Systems

Security – who’s job is it anyway? Your security requirements traditionally fall into 4 areas Physical Security, CCTV, Access Control, and Intruder Alarms most of which have either migrated from analogue to digital technology, or are in the process of doing so. Digital systems are increasingly being run over networks using IP (internet protocol). The benefits are self-evident with further integration of audio, intercom and messaging, fire and evacuation, asset management and tracking and transmission and comms technologies. But the world is changing, and IT and Network professionals are becoming more involved, with growing responsibility for both Physical and Logical security within an organisation, particularly with intelligent building management and facilities solutions also beginning to converge. This shift will change the way we protect and manage all of our organisations, properties and people in future and will introduce both opportunities and challenges for those responsible for security and safety. It's time to embrace and investigate this migration, and to identify how best they can be exploited. In a recent survey of IT, ICT and Network managers, 80% of respondents agreed that physical security was increasingly becoming part of their remit and that engaging with security and safety professionals was key.

Convergence Key to Efficiency

I

20 SECT E N

International IP Solutions Exhibition & Conference

Earls Court 2, LONDON 20th - 21st October 2010

www.iipseconline.com co-located with

We are all acutely aware of the continued convergence between the physical security, life safety and IT worlds. We also understand that for Networked Security and Safety Applications to become more effective it is essential that we learn to engage with both the security specialists and the IT industry as a whole and the IP players in particular.

Preparing for the Future Helping to increase the awareness and acceptance of new IP based applications across many market areas, the IIPSEC exhibition and conference now located at the IP EXPO will ensure that you gain from the synergies between the various technologies on display and will provide a firm basis upon which Stake-Holders, Security and Safety Professionals and IT and Network Technologists can discover the opportunities that lie within mutually accessible solutions.

Where to learn more IIPSEC at the IP EXPO will demonstrate real life solutions and allow security specialists to engage with IT and network professionals for the first time. The combination of the product showcase, technical and practical seminars and workshops and presentations tailored specifically to your needs will result in an informative and enlightening participation. IIPSEC has always concentrated on the application of technology within the Security, Life Safety and BMS environments, whereas the IP EXPO is dedicated to the underlying technology itself, covering Cloud computing, Virtualisation, Infrastructure and Wireless and Storage solutions. This is a unique combination of events where Security, Safety, IT and Network Professionals can mingle and understand the commercial and practical possibilities available when working together to increase security and safety.

Register FREE – www.iipseconline.com Image courtesy of NICE systems


Government Technology | Volume 9.7

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IT SECURITY

SECURE INFORMATION FLOW Integrated network security solutions to secure the information flow of distributed organisations AS PART OF DAILY RESEARCH and development work, Stonesoft vulnerability experts were experimenting with the latest and most advanced network security threats in StoneLab. One of them is the threat of evasion techniques. Deep packet inspection, traffic normalisation and evasion detection are already standard functions of network security systems and testing procedures. Current research and testing methods for evasion techniques are based primarily on publicly known evasion tools (e.g. Metasploit, CORE IMPACT®, CANVAS®). Evasion techniques have been considered a very difficult and time consuming area of R&D. Since clear, tangible evidence of evasion techniques in the real-world has been lacking, it has also been challenging to explain the threat in a meaningful way. Part of the reason for this difficulty is that current security technologies offer a very low level of detection and visibility. These challenges gave Stonesoft reasons to investigate evasions further. Our experts

detected and caught. So it pays off if the stakes are high, as in the case of financial or business data, warfare, terrorism, or political attacks. Unexplained and mysterious data losses, system crashes and financial data thefts occurring without any detection or explanation given by the security devices are clear candidates for evidence of evasion techniques. That makes it an even more severe threat because if you cannot detect, you cannot protect. By knowing all the benefits of using evasion techniques it is a bit naïve to think that advanced cyber criminals and hackers are not using evasions or that they are using only publicly known techniques or tools. RESEARCH BREAKTHROUGH We made a decision to invest time, money and effort to research evasions. We took a radical approach and challenged: • Use of the operating system’s TCP/IP stack • Conservative sending & liberal

Evasions enable advanced and hostile cyber criminals to deliver any malicious content, exploit or attack to a vulnerable system without detection, that would normally be detected and stopped challenged all the dominant rules, principles and thinking in order to generate more insightful knowledge of evasions. It is likely that many will try to ignore evasions, saying this threat is only theoretical and not real. Unfortunately those who choose this route run the risk of becoming targets. Or are already victims. EVASION Evasion techniques are a means to disguise and/or modify cyber attacks to avoid detection and blocking by information security systems. Evasions enable advanced and hostile cyber criminals to deliver any malicious content, exploit or attack to a vulnerable system without detection, that would normally be detected and stopped. The security systems are rendered ineffective against such evasion techniques, in the same way a stealth fighter can attack without detection by radar and other defensive systems. If someone really wants to execute a targeted cyber attack knowing that the networks are well protected, they need evasion techniques to improve the success rate. Evasion techniques work like a master key to anywhere, and offer time to find an exploit that works. In the case of highly advanced attacks, a working evasion technique offers good insurance against getting

receiving rule (RFC 791) • Using evasion techniques only one at a time • Considering the lower levels of the TCP/IP stack static and thus well protected against evasion techniques After developing a test environment and needed research tools we had a breakthrough. Stonesoft vulnerability experts discovered a new species of advanced evasion techniques (AETs). These AETs have been demonstrated as real, and are considered serious by independent security experts and test labs. This discovery has been reported by Stonesoft to security authorities (CERT-FI, US-CERT and CERT/ CC) and through their coordination to all affected vendors. There is hard evidence, live demonstrations and experimental research data that these AETs work in reality and can bypass 99 per cent of current security devices without leaving any traces. That makes the threat worth everybody’s full attention.

They can work on all levels of the TCP/IP stack and work across many protocols or protocol combinations. The amount of new AETs is growing exponentially, and thus they create an everlasting and ever-changing challenge for the information security industry and o ganizations around the world. IMPLICATIONS • Digital assets are unprotected. • Everyday operations and businesses may well be at risk without knowing it. • The false perception of being safe makes organisations an easy target. • The vast majority (99 per cent) of current security appliances are unprepared and unable to give appropriate protection. The immediate course of action is to increase the knowledge about AETs at www.antievasion. com, and then evaluate/audit all the critical digital assets (data and operational systems) and servers that are hosting those assets. After that, organisations need to protect critical servers with anti-evasion ready security solutions that are designed, built and tested from the ground up to provide dynamic protection against traditional and advanced evasion techniques. Migration to dynamic security becomes relevant as the need and speed of updates against AETs increases exponentially. ANTI-EVASION READY Anti-evasion ready solutions are software-based, and can be updated automatically, remotely and effortlessly from a central management center. Anti-evasion ready appliances need to be capable of receiving current AET patches and security updates continuously. Such solutions must have the capability in their core functionality to detect, flag and report evasions via a central management client.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Stonesoft Networks Limited 120 Bridge Road, Chertsey Surrey KT16 8LA, United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1932 445170 Fax: +44 (0)1932 445171 E-mail: info.uk@stonesoft.com Web: www.stonesoft.com

ADVANCED EVASION TECHNIQUES (AET) What’s new? Advanced evasion techniques can be altered or combined in any order to avoid detection by security systems. AETs are, by their nature, dynamic, unconventional, virtually limitless in quantity, and unrecognisable by conventional detection methods.

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BENCHMARKING THE SOFTWARE BUDGET Antony Attfield looks at how organisations are reaping the benefits of a strategic approach to software

SO OFTEN ORGANISATIONS go about Software Asset Management backwards. While no company would think about virtualising their servers without a business case, or embark on a major information security overhaul without knowledge of the return on investment, strangely software often isn’t treated in the same way. Instead businesses fall into the trap of picking up software as they need it. Maybe a specific problem needs solving, or perhaps you’ve already got half a product suite so it’s an easy step to add in the rest. This approach might work if your business was static, if the software you first put in place was used by the same people, doing the same jobs, in the same office for its entire life span. But that’s just not realistic. A SOFTWARE SUPERMARKET It’s like the old adage “don’t go shopping without a shopping list”. It happens once in a while. A last minute dash to the supermarket on the way home from work turns into a weekly shop. The problem is you tend to grab products off the shelf as you remember you need them, and you plan your meals on the fly. By the time you reach the tills I can guarantee that you’ve picked up several unplanned extras, a couple of duplicates and possibly forgotten the very thing you came in for. Yes, you won’t go hungry, but it’s no way to manage your food budget. So why does this happen with software? Perhaps it’s the sheer range of options provided by different software products and the accompanying vendor agreements. However, going straight from the need to buy just one program, to locking a chunk of your software

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budget into one vendor is a big step. In effect you’re walking into a software supermarket without a list just to get that one licence. Already you’ve bypassed the budget, strategy, the software you already own and the wider needs of your business. As a purchasing method this works and usually keeps a company’s software spend under control, but it tends to create a rolling series of stop gap measures, and likely makes for an expensive long term approach. Once it comes to future planning, or even creating a business case for software usage, this method just isn’t up to scratch. Having said that, resellers and vendors can be guilty of furthering this short term approach. Typically two classic motivations for Software Asset Management (SAM) are usually given to encourage an organisation’s investment. One revolves around the better use of resources: know what you’ve got, and use it as best you can. The other is centred on the threat of a vendor audit, built on the wisdom that a few corners cut in software licensing can come back to bite you by the way of a fine. Both of these are excellent reasons to make sure your software estate is in order, and are often the two issues a SAM review is designed to tackle. However they both lack real foresight into the problem. They look at the here and now, and present an organisation with a guide to how best use their software budget. What they both lack is a strategy for procurement. THE PRINCIPLE OF BENCHMARKING So if a SAM review isn’t cutting it, what else do we need do? To think strategically about less tangible assets such as software licences, it helps to go

Government Technology | Volume 9.7

through a benchmarking process. The idea is to stretch a software licence review beyond an audit of current software assets and uses. Benchmarking, therefore, measures different products, vendor agreements and future technology implementations against each other, aiming to find the most efficient routes to achieve a business strategy. By matching up products, costs and goals, an organisation can make informed decisions about their software spend. When done well it should provide a solid business case for whichever option is taken and give an organisation a much clearer view of how their IT estate is contributing to the business as a whole. To borrow from the earlier shopping analogy, benchmarking isn’t just writing a list, it’s also deciding what you want for dinner in the first place. To finish here’s a quick outline of the steps commercial benchmarking for SAM would normally follow: 1. Review your historical software use, your current company state, and its current needs. 2. It then compares this information to your organisation’s aims and long term technology strategy moving forward. 3. Armed with this knowledge, only then can you begin to investigate vendors, products and agreements and see where savings could be made. 4. From this position you can draw up a comprehensive cost model for numerous alternatives, ensuring you can assess all of your options before you continue. 5. The three or four best options are then closely compared and a software strategy chosen. TRUST THE EXPERTS Of course, none of this replaces traditional SAM practice. Rather it compliments it, and gives a tangible figure to the cost savings open to a company (in Trustmarque’s experience around 22.5 per cent on renewals and new agreements). To make the most of this process many companies turn to consultants or resellers who understand both market trends and how to best negotiate with software vendors to maximise the value gained from signing a software agreement.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Antony Attfield is a solutions manager at Trustmarque Solutions working specifically to help companies gain value from their software licensing. For more information on Trustmarque’s Commercial Benchmarking service e-mail info@ trustmarque.com or call 0845 2101500.


Government Technology | Volume 9.7

www.governmenttechnology.co.uk

INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS

Written by Peter Williams, design manager/ITC Solutions, Redstone Converged Solutions

THE NEED FOR SMARTER BUILDINGS With dramatic cuts in spending and the emphasis on prolonging the life of IT equipment to save money, can the public sector afford to invest in technology to drive efficiencies in operating buildings? THE TERM INTELLIGENT building has been banded around for many years, but actual examples of the implementation of a true intelligent building system are still rare. However, the instances of integrated buildings have increased dramatically – and that is the first stage to building intelligence. INTEGRATED BUILDINGS When I say “integrated building”, I mean many disparate services sharing the same infrastructure – typically utilising the ubiquitous IP protocol. It took many years for Voice over IP to really gain the momentum to be deployed as the standard for voice communications. Well now we are seeing the same with CCTV surveillance, door access control systems, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems, with everything being IP enabled so the investment in the resilient infrastructure which has been made is maximised. I see many organisations, from hospitals, to schools, and central government, all using an IP infrastructure to interconnect systems and services which historically would use separate, proprietary cabling systems and connectivity methods. This is great, but it is only the first step towards an intelligent building. FROM INTEGRATED TO INTELLIGENT To move a building from an integrated to an intelligent building takes knowledge and experience to achieve, but the payback can provide more efficient facilities management, reduced carbon footprint, lower energy bills, and a better and more productive working environment for the potentially decreased number of staff. Even a simple thing such as enabling meeting room booking to be completed by staff themselves – then automatically turning lighting and heating off when rooms are not in use – saves energy and reduces the overhead of admin staff managing the process. Best of all, moving from an integrated to an intelligent building can be modular and structured, and doesn’t have to be a ‘one hit, one cost’ effort. And the actual investment in the products to achieve this can be surprisingly low. GOING GREEN But what about the “Green” issue too? An Intelligent Building uses Information Technology (IT). Information Technology uses energy. The more technology you use, the more energy you need. The more powerful your technology, the more energy you use to run it. Can technology

therefore never be ‘green’? Not exactly. Of course buying more power efficient PCs, printers and networking devices is a good thing. Using the power management facilities of these is also a good thing. But this alone is not enough. In most organisations today, technology is critical to succeed. There aren’t many desk jobs which don’t need a computer. Voice communications now utilise IP Telephony – meaning that even our phones are ‘computer’ based and more intelligent. Collaboration technology makes it all easier to keep working whilst on the move, or remote from an office, but it all needs power to operate or recharge. Peter Williams

SMART USE OF TECHNOLOGY So is that it? Can technology, and the infrastructure it uses, only increase your energy bills and carbon footprint? Well, no, not if you are smart. We are told that 25 per cent of the energy use within a typical building is for IT equipment. Significant yes, and modern IT equipment with power saving features will help reduce this figure a little. But that still means that 75 per cent of energy use is for everything else – typically keeping workers warm or cool, safe, and with enough light to operate without stapling their finger to a desk. The smart thing to do would be to use the IT infrastructure that you absolutely need to function as an organisation, to interconnect and automatically manage the whole energy use of your domain. By doing this the management processes and controls for lighting, heating, door access control, CCTV, power of desktop PCs and IP Phones, printers, cashless vending and catering, and digital signage can all be managed automatically by a single resilient common data platform, and based on policies set to synergise energy efficiency and your organisation’s operation. If you get this right, it reduces energy bills, reduces your carbon footprint, allows you to promote how ethical your energy practices are, and gets you closer to the government Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) targets for the future – keeping you further away from potentially expensive carbon trading legislation too. The legacy way of implementing Building Management Systems is to install multiple, separate, disparate systems to control and manage all the necessary elements to operate a safe environment, and none of those elements collaborating with each other or even talking the same language. These disparate systems would then be ‘programmed’ to

act individually, not caring about any of the other systems with a building, what they were doing, or what was going on around them. However, now you can put the control of all these systems over a single, common, robust, data infrastructure – which you’ve already deployed for your computer and voice communications anyway – and implement policies and ‘cause and effect’ actions to manage the use of everything from a low-powered IP Telephone to the most power hungry Air Handling Unit. SETTING THRESHOLDS Thresholds can be set based on time, calendar, temperature and movement, meaning that if in your building one of its floors or even a single room isn’t being used then it can be placed in a hibernation state. The hibernation can mean no lights on, minimal heating/ cooling, no power to the telephony, all AV and IT equipment off. But this won’t change until a policy rule you have set, or an action from something you know about, changes – be it a specified time, swipe of an access control card, or even recognition of an automated number plate system seeing a specific car enter a car park. Not only that, but chances are that you won’t need to move buildings, or rip out all of your legacy building controllers, or even do an early upgrade to existing IT equipment. There are many choices for legacy to IP converters to allow older equipment to gain many, if not all, of the benefit of automation. Buying energy efficient IT equipment is a sensible and responsible thing to do. But it merely scratches the surface of what can be achieved by making a building intelligent to reduce your carbon footprint, energy bills, and allow you to promote your organisation as energy efficient.

THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

www.governmenttechnology.co.uk

PRINTING SOLUTIONS

THE TRANSFORMATION OF PRINT Andrew Brown, corporate affairs director at the British Printing Industries Federation, describes how printing companies are evolving to meet the challenges presented by the digital revolution THE PRINTING INDUSTRY is at a crossroads. With the growth of e-media, ICT and digital information, print will find it hard to compete unless it can find new ways of adding value to its customer base. Four different client-service models can best define today’s printing industry. These are: price factor; product focused; customer driven; and customer-centric. At the bottom end of the value chain are those who compete solely on price – what might be termed the “quote and hope” companies. Their relationships are low-level and cost is usually the deciding factor in their winning jobs. Then come the companies that have well-defined manufacturing strategies, but remain relentlessly price-driven and must constantly drive efficiencies and reinvest to cut costs. Moving up the chain we come to the customer-drive businesses, those that are strong on service and work closely with marketers and design teams. At the top end, however, are the customercentric print businesses. These are highly proactive, they are ahead of the customer, they are dealing with CEOs and MDs, and they have the highest margins in the industry. FIT FOR PURPOSE The old traditional price-driven, product-focused business model is no longer fit for purpose, and the printing industry must therefore adapt if it is to survive. It is now business-critical that printers should be moving from a client model that is mainly price factor-driven and product focused to one that is essentially customer-centric. For this reason the BPIF – the UK’s printing trade association and business support organisation – has developed a new package of services to help printers move up the print value chain. The challenge is to equip them to seek new business by developing new added value services for their clients. Following approval by the BPIF’s Council last year, CEO Michael Johnson was able to announce the introduction of their new Customer-Centric Programme at the organisation’s 2009 AGM. This new initiative is called dotgain.org – the “dot” being essence of digital technologies and the “gain” the new market opportunities that its applications can offer printers. Dotgain. org is a membership-based service embracing the whole supply chain, including printers that are evolving into integrated marketing services providers, as well as corporates, brand owners, traditional creative and new media agencies, emerging digital service providers, industry suppliers, database managers, website developers, and educational associates.

At its heart, dotgain.org aims to help the printing industry transform itself into the essential delivery vehicle for the entire spectrum of communications solutions demanded by its clients. Print is a major part of the modern, digitally-based communications landscape but is just one of a number of channels that clients are seeking to use to engage with their markets in multi-media world. Its clients are seeking to do business with suppliers who can deliver integrated communications solutions that add value and solve their problems. Increasingly both public and private sector clients are looking for cost-effective campaigns rather than commodity print, and printers can no longer rely solely on their products and low prices to differentiate themselves. DIRECTION AND OBJECTIVES Dotgain.org programme manager Tony Hodgson joined BPIF in August last year from dynamic content marketing specialists Lorien Unique, where he was the company’s technical director. He brought with him considerable specialist expertise in this field, as well as substantial experience in implementing customer-centric services within a print environment. In his introduction to the organisation’s objectives on dotgain’s website – www. dotgain.org – Hodgson explains that the direction in which the printing industry has to change has been clearly spelled out by its own customers. He points out that in a survey of senior marketing professionals from agencies and corporates, whilst nearly 90 per cent agreed that print still has a major role to play, 97 per cent of those surveyed believed that to ensure a profitable future print must adapt by integrating with digital media. As Hodgson says: “The whole world of publishing, marketing, advertising and broadcasting is being turned upside down and inside out by the digital revolution. And print is no exception. But neither is it a special case deserving of any privileged treatment. Every part of the media communications industry is in upheaval. Boundaries are changing. Old disciplines are disappearing and new ones emerging, seemingly overnight. Established certainties are vanishing, whilst new orthodoxies come and are then gone.” The challenge for printing companies then is to meet the changing expectations of today’s media and communications buyer – someone who is seeking added value rather that additional cost. Dotgain.org offers a range of services to help printers deliver with the new service offering being demanded of them.

DIGITAL PRINT INNOVATORS A central element is membership of PODi UK, which is the UK chapter of PODi, the US-based but global organisation of digital print innovators. PODi members in the US have built high margin businesses and are proven to be three times more profitable than the printing industry as a whole. Through its partnership with PODi, dotgain. org offers free access to PODi’s case study database of over 350 case studies, a free listing in the global online directory used by marketeers to identify service providers, free access to monthly webinars on the latest ideas and best practices, free downloadable reports from a searchable online knowledge base, and substantial discounts for attending the annual PODi UK application forum. Dotgain. org members also have the opportunity to gain contacts in the new media network both clients and service providers, and enjoy substantial discounts for training on new media topics and for in-company consultancy support from specialists in implementing new media opportunities. Through its growing network of members in the UK and ongoing development of products, dotgain.org will be able to supplement the intellectual capital available through PODi with case studies and other data drawn from programme delivery in the UK. INTERNET-BASED COMMUNICATIONS Printers have for decades been in the business of transmitting data, text and images by electronic means. Printing is an industry that began life at the dawn of the age of mass communication, and which has adapted expertly to the age of personalised communication. Printers should therefore see the growth of internet-based communications as an opportunity rather than as a threat. Some printing companies have of course already made the transition from a product-led approach to a more client-focused business model. Dotgain. org will help many more to join them, by supporting them in moving up the value chain to offer new profitable services and solutions based on client needs. We firmly believe that dotgain.org is the future of print: printers will need to participate or face a slow and not-that-lingering death in the cutthroat world of commodity printing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Web: www.britishprint.com

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

www.governmenttechnology.co.uk

PRINTING SOLUTIONS

DEMOCRACY THROUGH CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY Halarose is a trusted supplier of cutting-edge election management software to local authorities throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland THE ANNUAL CANVAS of the electorate in Walsall is a large project that requires the accurate gathering and storage of data received from every household within the local authority. The project runs each year from early August to the end of November, covering 108,000 dwellings, with upwards of 80 per cent of households responding (of which upwards of 25 per cent return a form with handwritten changes, which require manual inputting). New legal requirements should have the effect of increasing these percentages. William Quinton, managing director of Halarose Ltd explains how its software solutions, with the help of ABBYY FormReader software have increased efficiency in this time-consuming task for Walsall Council. THE BACKGROUND Halarose Ltd is a software development company specialising in Electoral Registration and Election Management software for local government customers, including Birmingham City Council, the Electoral Office of Northern Ireland, and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council. Its EROS-II Electoral Registration software registers over six million electors and it is continually updated and developed with the aim of simplifying processes to save local government organisations time and therefore money. When faced with the enormous task of data collection, Halarose decided to integrate ABBYY FormReader 6.5, a solution for fixed form processing, into the EROS-II suite to vastly reduce the amount of gathered data that requires manual input. Walsall Council is responsible for gathering information about residents who live in the 108,000 households within its jurisdiction, for the electoral register. The register has to be updated annually to provide accurate information on who is eligible to vote in local and national elections. Although registration can be made over the phone or via the Internet, approximately 65-70 per cent of residents return a form via post to Walsall Council. THE CHALLENGE: EFFICIENTLY PROCESS ELECTORAL DATA “One of the highest process costs that our customers have to sustain is the annual canvass,” explains Quinton. “All households in the UK are required to complete a form detailing any changes to the electorate resident at that property. The task of capturing and recording this data is enormously time consuming.” The task is made more time-consuming

by the number of forms that have to be returned to the respondent due to missed information, spoiled forms, or just a lack of signature. This added layer of administration adds to the urgency for accurate information to be added to the database when forms are completed correctly. During every canvass, Walsall Council processes over 70,000 pages of data and this task requires around 1,500 man hours to complete. “Our customers need to extract information about electors quickly and efficiently to ensure that not only can accurate registers be printed for election candidates but that ballot cards can be dispatched in advance of any local or national elections that take place. Accuracy is key in this process and the customer has to be sure that data entered is correct,” continues Quinton. Walsall Council needed to seek the most efficient solution for processing the mountain of physical forms that the canvass generates. Details such as name, date of birth and nationality are all included in a completed form. This data needs to be quickly and efficiently processed to allow EROS-II to update the Electoral Register. THE SOLUTION: ABBYY FORMREADER AND EROS II By combining the EROS Electoral Registration software with ABBYY FormReader, Halarose created a solution for reducing the workload for local governments. Forms processing requires fast and efficient capturing of data that has to then be verified and saved to a database. At Walsall Council, forms are fed through a high-speed scanner before ABBYY FormReader 6.5 analyses them and accurately recognises and extracts data from the forms many times faster than a professional operator could achieve. This enables EROS-II to capture data in an efficient and secure way. In the case of Walsall Council, neither manual sorting nor checking for missing pages is required, since FormReader can identify forms and select the matching template. FormReader is installed on three workstations and allows one operator to process from 1,000 to 3,000 forms per day depending on the complexity of their layout. With a flexible architecture that uses multiple workstations to streamline processing, ABBYY FormReader 6.5 can process up to 10,000 forms a day and can be easily expanded as a company’s processing needs increase. For Walsall Council, this flexibility allows it to handle the unpredictable daily level of returned forms

both quickly and efficiently and also the shorter processing times resulting from the new legal requirement to add door to door canvassing into the canvass period (August – November). After data is captured, FormReader exports the data to a staging table in EROSII software using an ODBC connection. An operator then processes the data in the staging tables and it is then passed into the Electoral Registration database. “FormReader 6.5 is fast, easy to use, allows the customer to build their own templates and contains an extensive dictionary,” comments Quinton. “Enthusiasm for FormReader 6.5 among the user group is high.” THE OUTCOME The time saving can be quite considerable according to Quinton: “A batch of forms that takes 32 minutes to process manually takes 12 minutes when using FormReader. This saves the customer money and also makes the job less routine. At the last canvass, one customer saved 16 man-days. At the next canvass, with our improved process and improved form design, this saving should increase to 31 man-days.” Peter Allsop, electoral services manager at Walsall Council agrees. “The prime goal is to use it to save processing time and hence labour costs. The ease of use was also important as it cuts down on the manual input of data. Overall, the system is userfriendly and doesn’t require much training.” Allsop also agrees with Quinton’s forecast that time-saving should increase in this year’s canvass: “We used ABBYY’s Intelligent Character Recognition software for the first time last year on a limited sample,” he comments. “But with certain modifications we hope to put a lot more volume through it this year.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION Contact: William Quinton E-mail: info@halarose.co.uk Web: www.halarose.co.uk

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

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SOCITM 2010

THE PLACE TO DEBATE PUBLIC SECTOR TECHNOLOGY Against a backdrop of impending budget cuts, Socitm 2010 highlighted opportunities for technology to facilitate new ways of delivering public services at lower cost TAKING PLACE in the week before the Comprehensive Spending Review, Socitm 2010 came and went in anticipation of the very large cuts to public sector spending that were confirmed on 20 October. Not surprising then, that President Jos Creese, head of IT at Hampshire County Council, welcomed delegates by suggesting the conference would provide a “survival kit” for public sector IT professionals, highlighting opportunities for technology to facilitate new models of public services delivered at lower cost. STRONG COMMUNICATION Plenary and parallel sessions certainly provided much food for thought. Monday’s opening keynote from John Barradell, chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council concerned the need for strong communication between councils and citizens in these difficult times. Many local people had a poor understanding of what the council did. Many were unaware that services such as libraries were councilprovided, and while individual services were rated well by users, overall the council was seen as remote, out of touch and unlistening. A shift towards whole systems thinking and intelligent commissioning was part of the answer. Underlying this was a need for the IT or information function to become the council’s central nervous system, providing a thorough and evidence-based understanding of needs, and strong, real-time understanding of what works to meet those needs. UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMERS Data and intelligence, particularly about customers, was a topic also addressed by Jane Frost, director of the Individuals Customer Directorate at HM Revenue & Customs. Very often, she told the conference, there is a big gap between what we would like our customers to do, and what they will actually do. Understanding this is key to making service provision more cost-effective. While tools like process mapping will tell you what customers should do, it won’t tell you what they actually will do. The measurement of what kind of experience customers have when they use a service is vital – can people get it right first time? If they can’t, you will be reprocessing, and that just costs money. This is not about being nice, its about saving significant costs on reprocessing errors – and if people needed evidence, Frost said that

her directorate has paid for itself out of such savings every year in the past three years. IT managers more comfortable with technology than customer insight packed out a workshop on GCSX, PSN, and the G-Cloud run by Dylan Roberts, chief ICT officer ICT at Leeds City Council, and lead officer for the PSN and G-Cloud projects on the Local CIO Council. “Adopting these tools is all about cashable savings,” he said. “There are other benefits, like partnership with other public bodies, but with the PSN, unless it makes at least ten per cent cash savings then we’re not interested.” The PSN takes a different approach to GCSX in that it is a network of networks, and a local public service-driven exercise, with choice at local and regional level about how we want it to be developed, he said. Partners could include local authorities, health service bodies, the emergency services, universities, voluntary sector, and local network providers such as those in the commercial sector. “Getting all of these partners on board is the biggest challenge and without the health service on board, it will be hard to get to that ten per cent saving but if we do, it could be up to 30-40 per cent just on network services.” G-Cloud is synonymous with the PSN, in that it is based on the network and many services planned for the G-Cloud – like e-mail – are already being developed on the PSN. Eventually, everyone will be invited to move onto the PSN but for the time being, those authorities connected to GCSX following compliance with the secure ‘Code of Connection’ (CoCo) were advised to maintain their connections, despite the fact that all central funding for GCSX is set to cease from March 2011. SAVING THROUGH SHARED SERVICES Shared services is another major current preoccupation of local IT managers. Geoff Connell has a new role running ICT services not just at the London Borough of Newham but also at the London Borough of Havering. In his opening remarks, he referred to the need to cut ICT overheads yet retain sufficient capacity to transform council service provision to make the big savings that are needed. There are three main options to achieve this: to continue down the evolutionary path to efficiency savings; to outsource, and share the savings with a private sector supplier; or to keep all the savings in public sector by sharing services. For shared services to work there must be

trust – in his own case someone at Havering had already worked with him, so when their top IT post came free he was invited to add the role to his existing one at Newham. Initially the easiest savings were made on procurement, he said – buying Microsoft systems once for the two councils rather than twice, for example, an instant saving of 50 per cent. Over time this has been supplemented by sharing of knowledge from specialist staff and teams at Newham – their expertise has been available to Havering at cheaper rates than they could have been obtained on the market and Newham benefits from maintaining the resource. More than £1m revenue savings have been made over past three years. GETTING EVERYONE ONLINE The importance of getting everyone online and using the internet was underlined by UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox in the conference closing keynote – delivered, appropriately, ‘down the line’ from a video suite in Cardiff. Nine million are still not online and four million are from the most economically disadvantaged groups. However, research carried out for her office last year had shown that the average economic benefit to a person from being online was around £270 a year. The government also stood to benefit financially, she said. If all the people who have never used the internet made just one interaction with government online, the government would be saving upwards of £1 billion a year. Improvement of government services online was an important part of this, and the portal Directgov, providing publishing and transactions, needed to be the absolute gold standard. A review of Directgov Lane Fox had just completed would soon be published. Overall, there was a need to inspire people about the value they could gain from coming online, from saving money on commercial products like insurance to gaining quicker access to public services, she said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION A wealth of material from Socitm 2010 is now available on the Socitm 2010 microsite www.socitm2010.net This includes presentation slides, conference reports, a series of short video interviews with key speakers, and photographs.

THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY

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www.governmenttechnology.co.uk

Government Technology | Volume 9.7

THE BENEFITS OF IP TELEPHONY Medway Council slashes costs and improves business agility with IP telephony MEDWAY COUNCIL is a unitary authority in Kent, providing all local government services for a quarter of a million people. Medway is made up of the towns of Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham and more rural areas, including the Hoo Peninsula. Services for which it is responsible include education, environment, social care, housing, planning and business – everything from frontline services such as rubbish collection to work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that services in Medway run smoothly and cost effectively. THE CHALLENGE Medway Council’s almost decade-long partnership with Redstone Converged Solutions first began when three of its sites required new PBXs. The cost of replacing the PBXs was so prohibitive that Medway Council decided a move to IP Telephony (IPT) offered a more cost-effective and future-proof solution. With a view to rolling it out beyond the initial three sites, Medway Council required a supplier that could fulfil its long-term vision of delivering IPT solutions over a data-only service, but found that most suppliers only wanted to sell the more expensive traditional carrier services rather than this emerging technology. Redstone Converged Solutions had the expertise and experience to support Medway Council’s vision. “When we first started using Redstone Converged Solutions it was in no small part because we wanted to roll out a data-only service to a lot of our schools,” recalled Michael O’Connor, Network and Security manager at Medway Council. “Redstone Converged Solutions understood our goals, and was flexible enough to provide us with the service we required.” THE SOLUTION Medway Council first implemented Cisco CallManager in two theatres and a visitor information centre. Switches were upgraded to offer Power over Ethernet (PoE) for the new handsets, as Medway Council’s IT team felt having a separate power supply for each handset would be inefficient and a step back compared to the existing telephones that employees used. While cost was the major motivator to move to IPT, other benefits factored into the decision. For the theatres it meant call queues could be handled more easily and across multiple sites, and for new build schools that were to be technology showcases the very best new and cost-effective IT systems could be demonstrated. Eight years on, the vision of Medway Council and innovation of Redstone Converged Solutions has paid dividends with increased flexibility and reduced costs.

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Medway Council now has 4,360 IPT handsets at 105 sites including visitor information centres, social services offices, community centres, sport centres, primary schools, secondary schools, care homes, children’s residential units, libraries and many more. Medway Council ascertained – taking into account staff, equipment and service costs – that a standard phone extension typically costs them in excess of £18 per month. The equivalent in IPT is around just £6 per month, bringing substantial budgetary savings to the council both in terms of lower maintenance and reduced exchange line costs. Medway Council has also benefited from a reduction in its call costs, as more sites convert to IPT and larger volumes of calls are carried completely over IP. EFFICIENCY SAVINGS IPT has also brought substantial efficiency savings when it comes to maintaining the telephone systems. “As it’s a familiar IP based technology the desktop support team can now support all the equipment on the desktop,” said O’Connor. “Instead of sending out dedicated telephone technicians, we can have a single technician visit a site and do both PC and telephone support which is a much more effective use of their time.” IPT enables greater flexibility and speedier response times to business critical demands. When one Medway site suffered a PBX failure it was faced with long lead times to purchase, replace and install a new system. Medway Council’s IT team was able to take advantage of their existing IPT solution, and with 15 spare telephones and a switch they had the site’s telephones back online the same day.

When the threat from Swine Flu escalated in the UK, the IT team was able to respond quickly to support Medway Council’s emergency response. “We needed 30 desks with phones for an anti-viral dispensing centre, and we had only four days to get the centre up and running,” said O’Connor. “Installing a PBX and phones would have been unfeasible. But with IP telephony, it’s possible in situations like this to setup wireless networking or run a cable from the nearest point of presence on the network and quickly have the phones up and running.” Through working with Redstone Converged Solutions, Medway Council is now a leading example of a mature IPT system and the many benefits that it brings. But in addition to reducing costs, improving efficiency and allowing for greater business agility, it also brings a sense of inclusion. “When sites join this system they feel part of this larger corporate organisation,” said O’Connor. “Senior managers who are trying to build a corporate culture believe that to be really quite valuable.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION Web: www.redstoneconverged.co.uk


Government Technology | Volume 9.7

www.governmenttechnology.co.uk

SPEND ANALYSIS

SPEND IN THE SPOTLIGHT Journalist Michael Cross looks at the online transparency site, spotlightonspend, which a number of local authorities are using to improve spend visibility to the CLG’s transparency guidelines with the exception of the requirement that “in all cases, supplier IDs should be published”. That raises the possibility of fraud, he says, but he will conform from now on.

THE LONDON BOROUGH of Hammersmith & Fulham has a good claim to be ahead of the curve in the coalition-era public sector. The Conservative-controlled authority is a partner in the first “supercouncil” to be announced following the recent Comprehensive Spending Review. It has also announced plans to become Britain’s most transparent local authority, by providing visibility of payments submitted by the voluntary sector, members’ allowances and expenses – and, most importantly, total spend as reported in its finance system. Hammersmith & Fulham is making the information available through spotlightonspend, an online transparency platform, designed to radically improve the accessibility, relevance and value of government spend information to the general public. The public site was conceived last year when Luke Spikes, founder and chief executive of Spikes Cavell, who help public bodies improve spend visibility for procurement purposes, met the implementation team of the (then) shadow cabinet. On the agenda was the question of implementing a transparency policy for government spending. PUBLISHING SPEND DATA The transparency policy has now taken shape in Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ requirement for all local authorities to publish items of spending over £500 by January 2011. Guidance from the Communities and Local Government (CLG) makes it clear that this is a minimum requirement; most authorities are expected to go further: “spending data should be published as part of a wider open-data initiative.” Of the authorities to have made the biggest steps in this direction, a sizeable number are using spotlightonspend. The system draws on actual spend data extracted from

the financial management systems run by every public body that is then classified and enriched. Luke Spikes describes such systems as designed for accounting purposes – and as a consequence, they do not present information the public would find interesting or useful. Spikes Cavell claims more than 800 customers in the public sector, including every police force and every fire authority, have had their spend information processed and published to the Observatory, which provides a breakdown for internal purposes of what organisations are spending. The system extracts data from accounts payable systems and cleanses and classifies it. “We felt we were well placed to take the data, repurpose it and put a web front end on,” said Spikes. The system incorporates redaction algorithms that can identify individuals whose personal details should be removed; vulnerable adults and foster carers, for example. The data flow is substantial – a large county council can make 300,000 payments a year, Spikes says. One early adopter was the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, which went live with spotlightonspend in May 2010. “We suggested they enhance the basic data set with classifications that would make sense to the ordinary citizen, spend on taxis, for example.” The basic idea, says Spikes, is to imagine that the user is a local small business looking for opportunities. “We now have 73 organisations committed to the platform, and a further 50 engaged in implementation discussions.” Most users are local authorities, however, one central government department and its non-departmental body is expected to go live in November. Spikes says the system already conformed

OVERCOMING CONCERNS So far, spotlightonspend has been well received, but with two hiccups. In July, parts of the public sector blogosphere erupted with complaints that spotlightonspend was involved in an attempt to grab ownership of spending data. Critics said the way in which the site publishes spending data did not comply with draft open data guidelines: data was not machine-readable, was presented in a summarised, rather than raw form, and could be downloaded only for personal use, rather than under an open licence. Spikes says the criticism was ill-founded and a little unfair given that they simply elected to focus on the needs of residents and small businesses in the first release, as that was what their early local authority customers felt was the right thing to do. He says they have since extended the platform to address the open data community’s initial concerns and it now complies with open data standards and has even been integrated with the data portal www.data.gov.uk. The second hiccup came when local newspapers spotted that Woking Borough Council, a spotlightonspend pioneer, had apparently spent £73,040 on clothing, £18,254 of which went on lingerie from a company called Playtex, owned by DB Apparel and based in Glasgow. The payment was in fact a business rates rebate, but the local press and online commentators had a field day nonetheless. The spotlightonspend platform continues to evolve, as transparency policy is defined, Spikes says. New developments to the site include the ability to process and publish all contracts currently in use by a public body. “Many of our customers will continue to meet the transparency agenda in their own way. We think we make the data a little bit more interesting and useful.” Too interesting for some authorities’ comfort zones, perhaps? “There’s absolutely still a camp that believes they’re not going to do it until they absolutely have to, and then to do the minimum. It’s a small minority, but there are a few like that.”

Michael Cross is a freelance journalist specialising in technology and public policy

FOR MORE INFORMATION Web: www.spotlightonspend.org.uk

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

MAPPING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

SHARING LOCATION INFORMATION Making better use of the location data that is already available within your organisation can deliver substantial benefits, writes Steve Brandwood, programme manager, geographic information, Local Government Improvement and Development THE CURRENT SQUEEZE on resources, combined with the need to continue to deliver key services, is a challenge shared by all of us. However, there are real opportunities to be innovative and creative. In particular, the opportunity can be taken to use what you already have in new ways to achieve better outcomes. This is where data, in the specific form of location information, comes into its own. A WIDE REACHING RESOURCE Often the topic of location information is seen as a technical issue. However, the reality is that it is a wide reaching resource which has numerous positive impacts. This includes assisting the creation of more efficient IT systems; aiding better information management; underpinning better customer services; informing policy as well as helping to facilitate the efficiencies

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senior managers need to achieve. Location information comes in many forms including digital or paper based maps to show the location of services; address information which informs customer segmentation of the location of need; and aerial imagery to help staff and councillors view location information in context. The key is that location information is already available within your organisation – and it can be utilised to provide intelligence which will help you make the savings you need. There is great potential in the wider use of location information; locating where need and services are, aiding better planning, better decisions and better outcomes. Recent research commissioned by the Local Government Group and carried out by ConsultingWhere found that the average annualised cost to benefit ratio of using location information more effectively throughout the local public sector was approximately 1:2.5. This

equates to a £2.50 return on every £1 invested. The research also suggests that the economic output for English and Welsh local government has increased by over £222 million per annum as a result of using location information. A COMMON DIGITAL LANGUAGE We can also take this one stage further through the examples of the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) and National Street Gazetteer (NSG). Local authorities have been involved in a ten year programme of developing a common digital language – a standardised, definitive index of streets and addresses – vital for day-to-day local government operations. Local government is the originator of this information and has applied sound information management principles towards a shared and standardised approach to data collection, maintenance and sharing. The NLPG provides connectivity through the


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MAPPING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Recent research commissioned by the Local Government Group and carried out by ConsultingWhere found that the average annualised cost to benefit ratio of using location information more effectively throughout the local public sector was approximately 1:2.5. This equates to a £2.50 return on every £1 invested use of a persistent, centrally managed Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) linked to the address record. The use of the UPRN as the key identifier for a property enables systems to share information about the same location without the need to match multiple datasets and hold multiple cross references. Even if a property is demolished, the UPRN can never be reused and retains this historical information. This in turn facilitates the linking of asset and application data to the same identifier regardless of variations in the address. The NLPG and NSG can provide enablers to link other information sources together to provide further opportunities to save money and improve the delivery of services. The LG Group research found that the value of NLPG data sharing shows internal net benefits over a five year period in the range of between £15-24 million. SUCCESS STORIES Examples of where the potential of the gazetteers has been achieved are evident across the country: Newport City Council has yielded an estimated annual net benefit of approximately £57,000 per annum through updating systems once, through the primary database, instead of having to be applied to 17 separate systems. This is due to the data model utilised by the NLPG.

Teinbridge DC realised financial savings of £110k per annum through the optimisation of refuse collection routes using the NSG. East Riding of Yorkshire Council, through analysing and rationalising its home to school transport using the gazetteers, has made an initial saving of £315,000 pa, which will rise as the remaining schools undergo the re-routing and re-tendering process. The savings as of June 2010 were over £1 million. Plymouth City Council identified savings of around £150,000 pa simply by avoiding duplication of addresses in their systems by maintaining a corporate land and property gazetteer. Huntingdonshire District Council increased tax receipts by around £180,000 pa through the elimination of unbilled council tax and non-domestic rates. AXESS West Sussex Partnership has saved £18,500 through rationalised back office systems with a further £13,000 capital costs savings through joint procurement. Chorley Borough Council, enabled by an accurate address list from the NLPG, has identified additional income of more than £16,000 by identifying properties not on the Council Tax register. Blackpool Council has replaced its manual paper based systems for tracking public requests for traffic and highway schemes, resulting

Steve Brandwood

in dramatic increases in efficiency and an estimated saving of £30,000 per annum. Its improved forward highways maintenance plans have resulted in approximately 10-20 per cent less waste, equivalent to £250,000 per annum. The list goes on. Every authority has a custodian for the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) and also a location information expert (often the GIS manager) in their organisation, who is keen to help examine ways to improve front and back office services similar to those achieved by the councils listed above. So to conclude, this is a time to conserve and spend less. But it is also an opportunity to be innovative and use what you have in new ways. Hopefully the examples outlined above have given you a few ideas for ways in which this could happen in your organisation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION The LG Group research can be found on the LG Group website: www.local.gov.uk Other examples of best practice in GI can be found here on: www.local.gov.uk/lgih The NLPG website: www.nlpg.org.uk The NSG website: www.thensg.org.uk

Reducing the cost of GIS implementation T HE COMPREHENSIVE SPENDING REVIEW calls for unprecedented cost cutting measures. Forth Valley GIS’s innovative hosted GIS solution ‘Location Centre’ delivers dramatic savings by reducing the cost of GIS implementation and improving the efficiency of service delivery. Location Centre delivers all of the benefits of the Cloud, with the assurance of a fully managed GIS service. The hosted service is accessed across the internet from our secure, highly available, resilient data centre. This provides you with powerful GIS functionality, underpinned by access to Ordnance Survey and third party datasets that are continuously maintained

arrangements, technical dependencies, high initial costs or long lead times. Our customers from central and local government who have already invested in Location Centre are benefiting from increased efficiency and reduced overhead costs. Forth Valley GIS are one the UK’s leading GIS consultancies, providing a comprehensive range of support, GIS data management and consultancy services.

FOR MORE INFORMATION by our team of technical consultants. Simply add your own geographic data and the power of GIS can be unlocked for your organisation. There are no complex licensing

To find out how your organisation could benefit from Location Centre, please call Forth Valley GIS today on 01786 476060 or visit www.forthvalleygis.co.uk

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

GREEN IT

Written by Rich Tribe, joint managing director of Revolution Events

GREEN IT GATHERS MOMENTUM After two years at The Barbican near The City, Green IT Expo 2010 has refined its format even further this year, to deliver even more educational value at the prestigious QEII Conference Centre near Westminster BY CONDENSING A WEALTH of thought leadership, briefings on the latest innovations and other educational content into a single information-packed day, Green IT Expo provides a highly time-effective forum for public sector organisations to learn how sustainable computing will help them to cut costs, increase efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint across all areas of their activities. Best of all, attendance at the event is still free-of-charge for decision-makers in

this important area, including executives working in IT, procurement, finance and other key management roles. Key speakers this year include experienced analysts from Forrester Research, Ovum/ Datamonitor and Frost & Sullivan – as well as senior representatives from the Cabinet Office, WWF’s Climate Savers Computing initiative (founders of the global Earth Day), BCS The Chartered Institute of IT, Defra and important technology suppliers such as

Green IT Expo provides a highly time-effective forum for public sector organisations to learn how sustainable computing will help them to cut costs, increase efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint across all areas of their activities

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Microsoft, IBM, Event Zero and VMware. Research conducted by Forrester during the first half of 2010 shows that green IT plans and activities have generally progressed strongly this year, despite the economic downturn and a lack of formal budgets and priorities. Although only around one quarter (26 per cent) of organisations have budget directly allocated to green IT, Forrester reports that adoption of green IT initiatives is much higher, approaching 70 per cent in key areas such as the datacentre and distributed IT. Infrastructure and operations professionals are building momentum by embedding green policies into procurement processes, IT operations and the final disposal of new infrastructure investments. Similarly, Forrester’s seventh Green IT survey of enterprises and small and medium-size enterprises (also conducted in Q2 2010) indicates that green IT adoption has remained steady in SMEs during the past year, forming a vital part of many organisations’ IT strategy.


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GREEN IT

Cost continues to be the core underlying motivation behind the implementation of green IT. While this is understandable, especially during a time of budget restraint, Forrester expects to see other motivations, such as brand perception, increase in the future as IT plays a more holistic role within overall sustainability strategy. UK AND GERMANY LEAD THE WAY The UK and German governments are also making strong progress on the widescale adoption of green IT principles, with the UK’s efforts being led by the Cabinet Office’s CIO Council and progressive green ICT champions such as Chris Chant and Catalina McGregor. Sadly, this commitment to more sustainable IT practices is not matched by the public sector in Europe as a whole, according to a recent analysis of European Union and national government policies on green IT, commissioned by Dell and conducted by Ovum analyst Sarah Burnett. The research reported that green IT projects in the European public sector are very much in the early stages of adoption and the motivation is invariably to benefit an individual organisation, even where projects are underway. When asked to comment on the importance of green IT’s role in combating global warming and climate change, most respondents felt that these could not replace cost as the primary driver for decision making. In most cases, cost savings or revenue generation were still considered more important than the power efficiency or environmental impact of IT systems, unless there was a strong political directive to the contrary. Since the term green IT can cover a number of different aspects, Ovum reports that there is very little agreement on how to define and measure progress. Hence, the first challenge for EU governments is to coordinate a more focused and disciplined approach to definition and measurement so that all stakeholders are referring to the same thing when discussing green IT. Despite the more enlightened approaches of the UK and Germany, the report suggests that it is insufficient for just two nations to lead, as the results will be piecemeal and modest. Conversely, a coordinated pan-European effort has the potential to yield not just environmental benefits, but also greater cost savings across the board. The current state of affairs can often lead to an initiative that gets the ball rolling in one department but then has any gains offset by another department completely ignoring green initiatives. With too many EU organisations, one arm is working hard to keep the body moving in an environmentally responsible direction while others are locking up and refusing to move. COMPARING POLICIES The paper goes on to compare EU policies with US national policy on green IT, which it describes as having made a “much bigger

and definite commitment to sustainability in general”. In the US, much of the national policy is related to stimulus spending and isn’t targeted specifically at green IT, such as the creation of green jobs surrounding alternative energy production and the development of a smart grid system. But green spending policies in government procurement and the adoption of energy-efficiency standards such as Energy Star for datacentres, demonstrate that in many key areas, the US government is ahead of the EU when it comes to developing the green IT sector. The report concludes that the situation is unlikely to change unless there is pressure for action from national governments and the EU itself. A more strategic approach will be required to drive green IT forward. This should ideally be linked to sustainability targets for specific organisations, together with the development of a more robust business case for green IT so that it can win approval from senior executives, the development of standardised measurement frameworks, and the agreement of consistent terminology to provide better communication and operational benefits. THE VIRTUOUS TRIANGLE OF GREEN IT As more public and private sector organisations implement successful sustainable computing initiatives, an increasingly holistic view of green IT is finally emerging, comprising three different but entirely complimentary aspects: Firstly, IT operations need to significantly reduce their level of energy consumption – to minimise their own contribution to the problem of CO2 emissions and deliver essential efficiency gains for increasingly complex systems in the future. Secondly, organisations need to explore the potential of IT and other new technologies to facilitate greener processes across the rest of the enterprise, eg. through mobile/home working and teleconferencing or replacing paper-based systems with electronic documents. Finally, new IT applications and industry standards need to be developed to effectively measure, monitor and control the environmental impact of every organisational activity, including IT itself – in order to provide reliable information for decisionmaking, modelling different scenarios and validating the actual outcomes. This Virtuous Triangle of green IT transcends the simple cost-saving benefits that have always been apparent, instead positioning IT as the key enabler for more sustainable business as a whole. In particular, IT’s powerful reporting capabilities offer a much-needed antidote to the vicious circle of knock-on and side effects that commonly derail carbon reduction initiatives, when it becomes apparent that improvements in one area have had a counteracting negative impact elsewhere in the organisation or further down the supply chain. These three faces of green IT were

Chris Mines, Senior VP, research director, Forrester Research

highlighted at last year’s Green IT Expo by Warren Wilson, research director at Ovum, who will be expanding further on the axiom of ‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure’ at this year’s event in London. Green IT Expo 2010 is the UK’s leading forum for sustainable computing, taking place on Tuesday 9 November at the QEII Conference Centre in London. Through a high-value combination of inspirational keynotes, breakout sessions, supplier briefings and experiencesharing opportunities, this acclaimed educational event will help you to: • Understand the key challenges for IT departments and the industry as a whole • Keep up-to-speed with significant developments at a local and international level • Ensure compliance with the latest legislation and government directives • Review a wide range of environmentally friendly IT products and services • Implement green initiatives that improve efficiency and reduce costs • Harness IT to facilitate more responsible business practices • Formulate sustainable IT strategies for the short, medium and long-terms • Contribute directly to your organisation’s wider sustainability objectives • Develop a more holistic view of green IT and its full potential Places at Green IT Expo 2010 are offered freeof-charge to IT and operational decision-makers who are developing sustainable computing and business strategies. Due to venue constraints and the one-day format of the event, places are strictly limited so please register now to reserve your free place and receive the full programme as soon as it is finalised.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Or for further information regarding exhibitor or speaker opportunities, please contact Sara Clark Tel: +44 (0)1892 820934 E-mail: sara@revolution-events.com Web: www.greenitexpo.com

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Government Technology | Volume 9.7

ONLINE INFORMATION

ONLINE INFORMATION 2010 Discover new ways of working in the linked and social web

‘DISCOVER NEW WAYS OF WORKING in the linked and social web’ is the theme of this year’s Online Information Conference, taking place Tuesday 30 November to Thursday 2 December at Olympia Conference Centre, London. The tone of the conference will be set by opening keynote speaker Dion Hinchcliffe – a widely acclaimed top social media and collaboration expert and consultant. Dion’s contribution to the conference will provide a platform for the vast range of issues and topics being covered by the conference tracks. Dion is also a wellknown Fortune 100 Business Strategist and Enterprise Architect and is the author of numerous books, white papers and articles on Web 2.0. During the course of the three day conference more than 100 information industry experts will address hundreds of attendees from over 40 countries. This year the conference features four strong tracks: • Exploiting open and linked data • Harnessing opportunity from the social web and ‘the cloud’ • Information professionals demonstrating value and impact • New platforms and user behaviours for delivering content Internationally recognised online information leaders have meticulously composed the individual track sessions in order to address, challenge and debate important industry trends, technologies and pressing issues.

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Those attending the sessions will learn how information professionals can demonstrate value, create impact and develop leadership skills for collaboration and social media success. Linked and open data projects and case studies in government, business and libraries will be presented and openly debated – many for the first time. Emerging technologies and devices will be a major focus. Sessions which demonstrate how handheld devices and the cloud are being used to deliver information services are excellent examples of this and how this conference brings essential developments to the fore. WORKSHOPS There will be an opportunity to delve deeper into key topics during the in-depth ‘Gov 2.0’, ‘Web Search’ and ‘Social Media’ workshops taking place ahead of the main conference Monday 29 December. Led by Mary Ellen Bates, owner of Bates Information Services, USA , Karen Blakeman, director RBA Information Services, UK and this year’s keynote speaker Dion Hinchcliffe, these sessions promise to provide an invaluable insight into the most pertinent aspects of the information industry. For full workshop details visit: www.online-information.co.uk/workshops Stephen Dale, who takes the helm for the first time this year as the Online Information Conference Chairman, says: “Survival is all about being innovative with the resources we

have, developing new and more effective ways of working and creating products that will sell in an increasingly competitive market. Adapting to a changing environment is no easy task but one that also offers abundant opportunities for the information professional and this year’s conference gets to the heart of these issues.” The exhibition is designed to be a definitive showcase for the information industry where visitors can experience the latest developments, launches and innovations across all facets of their profession. This unique free to attend event attracts more than 9,000 attendees each year from over 40 countries across the globe and consists of an exhibition with more than 200 international exhibitors plus an extensive educational show floor seminar programme. The show covers six different subject areas: Content Resources, ePublishing Solutions, Library Management, Content Management, Search Solutions and Social Media. A range of exciting and stimulating show features designed to focus on new technologies and key sectors will be a major focus within the 2010 event including the XML Pavilion, French Pavilion, Global Business Information Forum, European Librarians Theatre and International Forums. A brand new feature introduced for the very first time this year is the Library Management Zone. This innovative area of the show plays host to exhibitors covering Library Systems, Library Security and RFID, and offers visitors the chance to view a wide range of library products. CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS Now let’s takes a closer look at some of the sessions from this year’s programme which particularly caught our attention. In addition to being this year’s opening key note speaker Dion Hinchcliffe, senior vice president, Dachis Group USA is presenting one of the workshops: ‘Government 2.0 – How Next-Generation Web Technologies Are Transforming The Public Sector’. Today’s government is driven by technology like never before. Open data sharing, social collaboration, and new lightweight IT approach are remaking what is possible. During the workshop delegates will explore how they can drive operational success in the public sector by rapidly collecting, analysing, and distributing information and then making sense of that information to determine, evaluate, and act upon viable options. The one day strategic workshop will provide a detailed understanding of the range of practices and technologies available to increase government agency and team success – technologically and organisationally – to


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ONLINE INFORMATION

OPENING TIMES Tues 30 November 10:00 - 17:00 Weds 1 December 10:00 - 17:00 Thurs 2 December 10:00 - 16:00 or uncertain about, diving into this new wave of data publishing. With central government pressure for data transparency and openness this is of great relevance in local government circles, but the messages are universal. ‘The Good (and Bad) News About Open Data’ will be presented by Chris Taggart, OpenlyLocal.com, UK. Chris will discuss how open data is heading your way, like it or not, as central government forces local public bodies to open up their databases, accounts and management systems. For many this will be seen as a threat to existing working practices and systems, causing more work and giving the media more tools with which to beat them. However, done right, it can be a cheap tool to help transform the way you work, to allow you to improve services at no extra cost, and change the relationship with your citizens and suppliers.

leverage a more engaged and interconnected workforce to achieve all new objectives. Case studies and examples from the UK, Europe, and North America will be used to explore how governments are achieving this today. ‘‘The case for open and linked data’ is the title of a session, which commences with track keynotes by Nigel Shadbolt deputy head (Research), School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK and Paul Davidson CIO, Sedgemoor Council, UK. Nigel Shadbolt also presents track keynote ‘Aim for the Stars: Open Linked Data’. The web has been transformational and disruptive, however, it continues to evolve and we find new ways to recruit and develop the power it offers. We are currently witnessing the emergence of a web of open linked data. One of the drivers has been Open Government Data initiatives with UK public sector releasing large amounts of data for reuse. Nigel Shadbolt will chart these developments and will describe them in the context of his work for government. He will

review the current state of the government’s Transparency and Open Data initiatives and outline the opportunities and challenges that it offers to both the public and private sector. Paul Davidson follows with a track keynote ‘I have got your Data – How would you like it?’ As the Chief Information Officer of a district council, he has plenty of public data – here are the issues and solutions that we come across, and the standards that can make it achievable and valuable. LINKED AND OPEN DATA The track continues with ‘De-mystifying linked and open data’. The first section ‘The ThreeStep Linked Journey’ is presented by Richard Wallis, technology evangelist, Talis, UK. Pioneers in government and the media who have opened up and made their data Linked Data, have identified a road and steps to take towards open data, linked data, and linked open data. Richard will highlight examples and draw out themes to follow for those new to,

UNTAPPED RESOURCES Noel Hatch, Projects & Research Lead Innovation, Kent County Council, UK will talk about ‘The Best Things in Life are Free - Uncovering your Organisation’s Untapped Resources to Exploit The Potential for Innovation’. It seems there’s a perfect storm happening in public services and to be fair it has been brewing for a while. Local authorities face growing contradictory demands from citizens and the effects of the recession has disrupted the way they work more than they are used to. In many cases the ability for public service providers to take good ideas through the current processes and structures is less likely to create genuine change, because those systems were designed for a different era. That is why the Kent based Technology Research and Transformation Team is focusing on how the innovative use of technologies and tools can change the way business is done, support individuals to work smarter and enable knowledge and ideas to be exchanged seamlessly. ‘What Happened When The Web of Documents Met The Web of Data’ delivered by John Seridan, head of eServices and Strategy, The National Archives, UK also promises to be a highly informative presentation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION For comprehensive event and industry information, registration and free downloads of conference podcasts, guru interviews, case-studies and white papers visit: www.online-information.co.uk or join the LinkedIn group – search for ‘Online Information Exhibition and Conference’. Twitter tag: #online10

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PUT SECURITY FIRST.


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CYBER CRIME SECURITY

KEEPING YOUR ELECTRONIC DOOR FIRMLY SHUT There are still some organisations that have a reckless disregard for information security which leaves the UK vulnerable to cyberattack, writes Alan Calder, chief executive of IT Governance THE INFORMATION SECURITY experts at IT Governance are highlighting cyberattack as the dominant threat to UK security, and urging the public and private sectors to strengthen their defences. Alan Calder, chief executive of IT Governance, says: “The new UK National Security Strategy identifies cyberattack as a Tier 1 threat, the highest level of risk, alongside international terrorism, international military crises and major accidents or natural hazards. In fact, we at IT Governance think cyberattack stands alone. After all, international terrorists have an identifiable cyber capability, and any international military crisis is likely to carry a significant element of cyber threat. And, given that the information we need to respond to almost any major national incident [such as a flu pandemic] is stored electronically, the risk of cyberattack permeates that entire Tier 1 list.” BEWARE OF COMPLACENCY “But, in many ways,” continues Calder, “you could say the greatest threat is not cyberattack itself but complacency. There are still organisations with a reckless disregard for

information security. No one would go out and leave their front door wide open for fear of burglars; yet too many organisations leave their electronic doors open all the time.” Calder continues: “There are weapons to fight cyberattacks, but not everybody uses them properly, if at all. The foundation of cybersecurity is the ISO27001 information security management standard, the most significant international best practice standard available to any organisation seeking an organised and structured framework for addressing cyber risks. And if you want to ensure the strongest possible information and communications infrastructure, you should also be implementing the UK’s standards for business continuity and resilience – BS25999, BS25777 and ISO24762.” EXTERNAL CERTIFICATION Calder warns: “Many organisations seem to think it makes sense to implement ISO27001 without ever seeking external certification. But the increased focus, at a national level, on responding appropriately to cyber risks clearly undermines this approach.

Increasingly, organisations will want to know that their supply chain is resilient against cyberattack. Supplier audits can consume a lot of time, and an accredited ISO27001 certificate is clear evidence that an organisation has taken proper security steps, and has obtained independent verification that these steps are in line with recognised international best practice.” Calder concludes: ‘In the art of war, knowing your enemy is key. We know the people behind cyberattacks will always be looking for new ways to breach defences. So we need to constantly upgrade those defences to keep ahead. It’s a contradiction in terms – but we have to fight back first.” A comprehensive set of products, services, consultancy and training courses to help individuals and organisations prepare for, and respond to, cyberattack and natural disaster can be found at: www.itgovernance. co.uk/cybersecurity-standards.aspx

FOR MORE INFORMATION Web: www.itgovernance.co.uk

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Profile for Public Sector Publishing

Government Technology Volume 9.7  

The Business Magazine for Government Technology

Government Technology Volume 9.7  

The Business Magazine for Government Technology

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