Wednesday & Thursday

I had elected to travel to Warwick yesterday evening, rather than this morning, to be sure I wasn't late for a breakfast meeting planned with Gerri Elliott, Microsoft's Worldwide Public Sector Head, who is on a visit to the UK, together with Terry Smith, the UK Public Sector Head. Rich Gwyther, our Account Manager, also joined Geoff and I to discuss progress in our strategic partnership. After breakfast, Gerri and Terry headed off to visit the DWP in Warrington.

At the Shared Learning Group meeting, Northamptonshire County Council was welcomed as a new member.

I was concerned, early in the meeting, when it appeared that we had funded an integration project without an agreed specification or client, in which the key players had changed!! However, I think we have agreed remedial action, and other work streams were proceeding well. We launched a new work stream on sustainability, to be led by Wakefield, and resurrected work streams on Performance Management and Business Process review that had been dormant.

Gerri and Terry returned in the afternoon to meet with the Group. Gerri told us that she is impressed with the SLG's approach, and plans to model version 2 of Microsoft's SSN (Solution Sharing Network) which is now operating in (from memory) 61 other countries, on our format.

Asked how she could help us to drive our work forward, we responded that the greatest help, at present, would be in federating Offices Communications Services among all Members so we can work more effectively in real time through the availability of presence information. This will also provide a platform from which we can expand OCS coverage in the public sector, and for the development of software and services solutions.

Microsoft's licensing model was among the other topics that cropped-up in discussion. Gerri frankly admitted that it was a contentious area, and invited us to submit a paper with our views, which we will do.