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Experimenting with new technology, stretching the limits of what is possible, developing solutions

Martin SadlerMartin Sadler is the Head of IT and Shared Services at Walsall Council. He has led the IT service for 7 years and delivered significant technical projects and cultural change; prior to that he worked for Fujitsu Services in the Retail and Financial services. This gives him a rare perspective of being able to look at the Future of Work through the eyes of a supplier, enterprise and public sector agency. He is a devotee of home grown solutions, open source products and anything that make life simpler or better value. We caught up with him to talk about this, about his role as a public sector IT leader and about his thoughts on the industry.

“My most valuable experience is that some people will only be happy if they have something to complain about”

Firstly, when thinking about the Future of Work Summit, Martin is “most looking forward to hearing more from people who are ahead of the work anywhere curve. I am discussing the move to mobility and smarter working in local government at Future of Work; I believe that I have experiences that others do not need to repeat”.

“My most valuable experience is that some people will only be happy if they have something to complain about. This led to the need to do changes sequentially in order to pinpoint what the real issue is”.

“Respond quickly; have integrity; explain thoroughly”

The complexity of a local council is unique in business terms, and presents a lot of challenges for an IT leader. Martin knows this as well as anyone, affirming that “[a council] has conflicting purposes and more diverse activities than any reasonable organisation would be expected to do”. To manage this challenge, he sets in place clear generic activities: “respond quickly; have integrity; explain thoroughly; with a huge degree of flexibility in how and when services are provided”.

There is currently a big drive towards smarter working within the public sector, with a need for increased efficiency in IT delivery, which, while exciting in many ways, presents a challenge in itself. As Martin puts it, “The diversity and number of legacy systems is a real impediment as is the pace of suppliers to convert their applications to be web based. This is then hampered by the price of providing a hosted solution”. And then, paraphrasing Einstein, “never underestimate the ability of groups of people to do stupid things”.

On a more positive note, we spoke about what Martin’s most rewarding project of his career has been: the Rolling out of Thin Clients across Walsall Council, which he describes as “one of the most exciting things I have achieved. The mix of experimenting with new technology, stretching the limits of what is possible and seeing the staff develop the solutions has been fantastic”.

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Ovum predicts mobile first, mobile enterprise apps, and corporate mobility policies to be top of the CIO agenda in 2014

Richard_AbsalomEnterprise mobility will continue to be one of the hottest topics in IT, and high on the list of priorities for all CIOs, according to Ovum’s Enterprise Mobility 2014 Trends-to-Watch report*. Consumerization (i.e. the impact of technology designed first and foremost for consumers) has driven the enterprise mobility market over the last few years, and Ovum has identified the three major trends in mobile consumerization that will have the biggest impact on businesses in 2014. Mobile First (formerly BYOX World Forum), the 5th Annual edition of Ovum’s flagship enterprise mobility event, returns to London on 4-5 June 2014. Download the 2013 post-show report here.

Enterprise Mobility 2014 Trends-to-Watch:

  • Businesses will need to provide a strong multi-screen, multi-channel experience for customers and employees, as mobile devices increasingly become the first point of contact between a business and its customers (B2C), suppliers (B2B), and employees. Organisations will need to provide a slick user experience (UX) for every aspect of the business, from marketing, advertising, promotion, and sales through to internal processes, and whether the stakeholder is using a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Getting this right can be a complicated task and will require a strong focus on UX, both during the app development process and in terms of providing a corporate network with the capacity to deal with all the mobile devices demanding access to it.
  • Businesses will address the drivers of BYOD with their new comprehensive corporate mobility policies. Businesses are already responding to BYOD with CYOD (choose your own device) or COPE (corporate-owned, personally enabled) strategies – in which employees are given a choice of devices to use by their employer and may also be permitted to use them personal purposes – and we expect to see more of this in 2014. We also expect to see an increasing number of vertical or role-based mobility programs with strict corporate policies that specify mobile devices and applications (e.g. tablets provided to airline pilots).
  • Apps will drive the next phase in the evolution of enterprise mobility, creating new ways of working, and transforming existing business processes. In 2014, enterprise mobile apps will become a core part of the enterprise IT application stack. This will create challenges for the enterprise such as getting the UX right and enabling tight integration with internal systems. It also provides a big opportunity for app developers, systems integrators, and mobility management vendors. Enterprise mobility is moving away from a pure mobility or device problem to an IT corporate management problem, with secure access, content, application, and BI implications.
  • Enterprise mobility programs will extend beyond being pure connectivity and device issues for IT and business decision-makers. For organizations that already have a mobility strategy in place, the next phase will be to start mobilizing as many internal processes as possible to allow workers to perform their core tasks (beyond email) from whichever device they have to hand, from wherever they are.

Richard Absalom, senior analyst of Enterprise Mobility, at Ovum, says: “As businesses adapt to increasing consumerization and extend the range of tools and applications available to employees on all devices, enterprises and supply-side vendors alike need to be prepared for these developing trends: businesses in order to realize the full business benefits of mobile working, and vendors in order to address enterprise demand and remain relevant in a crowded, highly competitive market.”

*Read the original post on ovum.com