Cloud computing ‘set to change skills needed by council ICT managers’

Strategic planning will become the most important skill needed by ICT leaders in local authorities, according to a new survey of chief executives.

A report by supplier Eduserv released this week talked to 20 chief executives and uncovered a clear belief that technology will increasingly be at the heart of council operations.

Jos Creese, principle analyst at Eduserve and former Hampshire chief information officer Jos Creese said: “This will involve recasting the role of the in-house IT team by moving them away from the day-to-day routine of maintaining IT infrastructure.

“Doing so will enable them to focus on strategic planning and changing the way that IT is configured to support business needs.”

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Creese added that the rise of cloud computing means that ICT departments will morph into becoming a business partner, shifting away from the old model of in house ICT.

This “means building external partnerships with peers, suppliers and trusted advisers who can support your planning and bring in the practical knowledge and capacity to deliver the change you need,” Creese said.

The report identified seven priorities for council ICT leaders in 2016:

Collaboration in public service delivery
“Council IT teams must ensure that as they design and procure IT infrastructure, it is fit for a future where public, private and third sector partners will all work together to deliver services.”

Cost containment through service redesign
“The priority for ICT teams is to help organisations harness the data they have to work smarter and use technology to automate processes and decision making where it is possible. This would reduce the need for costly interventions by people and managers.”

Demand reduction and early intervention
“The biggest gains lie in creating new services which use early intervention to reduce long-term demand.”

Delivering ‘quick wins’ that add business value
“Such projects are critical in building a platform of trust, which is key to getting support for future programmes, that may be more complex and carry greater risk.”

Improving risk management
“Council chief executives want to see how technology can work for them in managing the new operating risks which come as part and parcel of a more collaborative public sector.”

Commercialisation of services
“Fundamentally re-engineering the way they work and reorganise their people into new delivery models involves auditing the core processes which support service delivery, the information flows which support them, and their redesign to improve the use of time and minimise resources.”  

Colin Marrs

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