On Monday Glyn Moody wrote in Linux Journal of his having agreed with Microsoft to cancel the planned discussion of the OXML ISO standardisation process.
He says this was because the meeting was only being held for my benefit. Actually, I neither sought nor expected to gain any benefit from the meeting. I invited the two parties to discuss the process out of interest, and because I thought it quite likely that many others would also be interested, but expected any benefit to accrue to one or both of them.
I rather liked the recent ZDNet article by Glyn's mate, Mark Taylor.
His analogy with the US Car-Makers is similar to others, like the US Railroads losing out to airlines because they thought they were in the rail business rather than the travel business, and could be configured to apply to other potential pitfalls for our profession; CIO's thinking they are in a technology business rather than the creation of value through knowledge management, perhaps?
I don't, however, think there's much evidence that major IT vendors (like Google and Microsoft) have any intention of holding on to inflexible business models. This article in Information Week, and this, on the BBC News Website, are among many that discuss how they are reacting.
The Socitm Futures Group met at Siemens' offices, in Old Bailey, on Monday. There was discussion of our recent response to the Digital Britain report, and whether this was sufficiently radical.
Views were mixed; my own being that it said all that it needed to in a measured and dispassionate way, but the Group would be pleased to hear other Socitm members' thoughts. Andrew Stott, the new Digital "Czar" was attending, in the afternoon, to discuss his new role, and how the Society can support his work, but I was unable to stay for that.
Some of the discussion, led by the Chair, Glyn Evans, which I thought most useful, was of ICT service typology - supporting regeneration and developing SME capacity, for example - not just personalisation of Council services etc.
We also discussed a draft response to the Operational Efficiency Programme. The report considers short, medium and long term actions, urges avoidance of knee-jerk reactions that could damage services, and effective use of benchmarking to substantiate best value. We resolved to add a checklist of the all things we recommend that all organisations should be doing.
We received updates on information assurance/ resilience work and pan-Government security vision. Mark Brett has so far responded to over 400 queries related to the Government Connect CoCo from local public sector colleagues. Overall, 'though, we think we're rather more compliant than central government, having achieved all the "should", as well as the "musts". Mark advised that we should now be thinking about how to label e-mails in accordance with security classification requirements. We agreed that the next Socitm Futures meeting would include a session on secure e-mail. Mark has also made great progress with regional engagement with security matters through "WARP"s (Warning, Advice & Reporting Point). Only the NW now does not have one.
On Wednesday, following rescheduling of the Socitm National Advisory Council, I was double-booked, and was therefore not able to attend that meeting, which would have been my last.
The other meeting, which I attended, was the Commercial Board, held at Camden Town Hall. Initial discussion among the select group, of the Chair, David Bryant, David Houston and Suzanne, taking notes, and myself was of the need to sort-out the scheduling of Socitm meetings, which has gone awry, and is adversely affecting attendance.
Considering the economic climate, the performance of our Consulting and Insight services is holding-up very well, and both are on target to achieve budgeted returns to the Society.
A major concern was that progress on the Software Supplier/ e-Governmment Index merger had stalled, and we asked for this to be urgently addressed by the main board.
The other major discussion was of Adrian's report recommending the recruitment of a Commercial Manager; (he joined us at lunchtime, from the NAC, which was meeting at Euston Square, and which had already endorsed the report). We also agreed that this is now a priority.