The ability of Web 2.0 technology to fundamentally transform the way people access information and services will be the central discussion among public sector IT mangers at the Socitm conference next month.

The final agenda for Socitm 2008: Serving the Instant Access Society, on 12 – 14 October has been published, with the organisation’s President Richard Steel emphasising the need to grasp the opportunities and challenges Web 2.0 technology presents.

“Digital convergence represents a 21st century industrial revolution driven by the grass-roots and it won't be possible for us to remain walled off from the influences of wider web development,” said Steel.

“It means IT managers’ jobs are changing as service oriented architecture, software-as-a-service, mash-ups, cloud searching and web sites become sophisticated applications repositories. I’m really looking forward to debating more of this with colleagues at our conference.”

Setting the context for the discussion will be software entrepreneur Stephen Noels, whose talk the Webification of your ICT World, will explore the evolution from the information systems of the past to current internet technology. He will also discuss folksonomies, wikis and other concepts supporting mass-creation of user-generated content that is having a profound effect on information management.

Other speakers will look at some practical application of web 2 .0. Janet Worth of the Greater London Authority will look at impact of web 2.0 on local democracy, specifically in the London mayoral elections in May.

Stephen Hilton of Connecting Bristol will be looking at Web 2.0 and community engagement, while Alex Butler, who leads the Government’s Power of Information initiative, will be looking at what councils need to do to make digital information readily accessible to citizens through multiple channels, including private organisations, digital communities like Net Mums, and the neighbourhood blog.

Other major sessions at the event will include Green IT, an overview of Information assurance and the Data Handling from the government’s Communications-Electronics Security Group and “The LA Diet - lean thinking for local government,” presented by Doug Maclean, Managing Consultant, Socitm Consulting

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