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News Item                                                                                    Link

Public sector group wants to get rid of those pesky IT                                       ►
failure headlines
The agency for ICT in education is launching a scheme                                        ►
to accredit internet services
Oracle-PeopleSoft: A done deal                                                               ►
Electronic public procurement                                                                ►
Public sector left behind, as banks hoover up                                                ►
contractors


Public sector group wants to get rid of those pesky IT                                       IT
failure headlines ▲                                                                          Governance
The head of the e-Government Unit has staged the first meeting of
government's Chief Information Officer Council. Ian Watmore told                             Source: Silicon
Government Computing News that the first meeting had taken place on 8
January, 2005.                                                                               URL

The council, which is expected to meet three times a year, has been
formed as part of his campaign to promote the role of CIOs in
government. It has 30 members drawn primarily from central government,
but also from other parts of the public sector such as local government,
police and the health service.

Watmore said it aims to produce an IT strategy for government, hopefully
to be published in November 2005. It has agreed on a set of priorities that
include creating a "professionalism agenda" for IT specialists in
government, and building a long term career framework. This will involve
recruiting some "heavy hitters" to help on implementing difficult IT
projects.

"It's about how we recruit and re-instil professionalism in government,"
Watmore said. "In the short term it's about getting people in. In the
medium term it's about bringing in school leavers and graduates to grow
our own capability."

The council is also focusing on developing the skills of government bodies
in working in partnership with suppliers, and on the "mission critical"
projects that influence public perception of government's record on IT.
This reflects one of Watmore's main impressions since he took on the job
in September 2004. He also said that government should do more to
publicise the projects that prove successful.
Consultant comment: The government has noticed that IT is all-
pervasive in supporting government services. This means that the
procurement, supervision and delivery of IT have to be performed
professionally and effectively. The central government track record in
these has generally been poorer than local government for a variety of
reasons – and their need for a remedy such as this is correspondingly
greater. Having said that, it is difficult to see how the government can
define a cradle-to-grave career path for IT professionals when so much of
central government IT is outsourced: we await the IT strategy with
interest.


Disclaimer: Socitm Consulting eyes only. Please note that the news items above are taken from the public domain.
(Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for
Scotland.) The comments are the personal views of the named individual consultants and in no way should they be
taken to represent the views of Socitm Ltd or Socitm Consulting. Copyright remains with the originator.
2e32d6d8-1e0c-48fc-b555-fd3fc08fde74.doc


The agency for ICT in education is launching a scheme                                        Education
to accredit internet services ▲
                                                                                             Source: Kablenet
The British Educational and Technology Communications Agency (Becta)
launched its Accreditation of Internet Services to Education scheme on 11
                                                                                             URL
January 2005. It enables schools to purchase services from suppliers that
meet and maintain specific minimum standards in content filtering and
service performance.

The opportunity for accreditation is open to commercial internet service
providers (ISPs), public bodies which provide internet services to
education, local education authorities and regional broadband consortia
(RBCs).

Organisations that become accredited as part of the scheme will be
awarded an accreditation mark and promoted to schools via Becta's
communication channels. Renewal of the accreditation will take place on
an annual basis.

Paul Shoesmith, assistant director of technology policy and delivery, said:
"It is one of Becta's aims to ensure that schools are able to access
internet service providers which are suitable for educational use,
particularly in terms of internet safety. This is a great opportunity for those
organisations which provide internet services to education to meet the set
quality criteria and be part of a recognised accreditation scheme."

The scheme will operate alongside other Becta initiatives on internet
safety, which focus on developing awareness of safety issues among
teachers, learners and parents, while also making effective use of
technology to provide a safe environment in schools and learning centres.
Consultant comment: Schools accept Becta guidance as a de facto
standard when procuring equipment or services or establishing
processes.The establishment of any standards for ICT in schools is
welcomed and should be applauded.

A key frustration for ICT support services working with schools is the
difficulty (inability) to establish common standards across all schools in
their LEA, primarily due to the devolved nature of the management of
schools and the sometimes conflicting messages coming out of the DfES.

RBCs have been a success story in terms of forcing down pricing through
economies of scale and establishing commonality across wide area
networks in LEAs with links to the (National Learning Network) NLN via
SuperJanet. This standard will help take this to the next stage of
standardising on the services delivered, primarily by RBCs, but also other
ISPs, to schools.

Upshot, it will make it simpler for all concerned to establish and procure
effective standard based ISP services for use in schools and the wider
learning community.

See also:
ispsafety.ngfl.gov.uk
www.safety.ngfl.gov.uk

Oracle-PeopleSoft: A done deal ▲                                                             Application
Oracle closed its PeopleSoft acquisition on Friday, after receiving more                     software
than 97 per cent of PeopleSoft shares in its tender offer. The
Disclaimer: Socitm Consulting eyes only. Please note that the news items above are taken from the public domain.
(Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for
Scotland.) The comments are the personal views of the named individual consultants and in no way should they be
taken to represent the views of Socitm Ltd or Socitm Consulting. Copyright remains with the originator.
2e32d6d8-1e0c-48fc-b555-fd3fc08fde74.doc

announcement brings to an end the controversial 18-month takeover                            Source: Silicon
battle, which pitted two of the largest sellers of business software
applications against each other and extended far beyond the usual fight                      URL
over customers.

The buy is expected to make Oracle a more powerful competitor to major
rivals, including IBM, Microsoft and SAP.Oracle, which set a deadline of
Thursday evening for PeopleSoft investors to tender their shares, was
able to meet the 90 per cent threshold to do a fast-track close on the deal
and avoid a shareholder vote. A vote would have delayed closing the deal
by four to six weeks.

PeopleSoft will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle, and the
database giant will notify PeopleSoft employees on 14 January whether
they will remain or be terminated.

Oracle has already replaced some PeopleSoft executives with its own
managers and has begun restructuring its own ranks. Prudential Equity
Group reported in a research note on Thursday that Oracle has
reorganised its own applications unit, firing many managers in that group.

Oracle's chief executive, Larry Ellison, however, said last month in an
announcement that the two companies had entered a friendly deal and
that Oracle expected to retain some of the PeopleSoft sales staff, as well
as some senior engineers.
Consultant comment: Since this deal was announced, 5,000
employees at Peoplesoft have been told they no longer have jobs.

Aside from the people issues, what’s the effect on the customer? Oracle
now “owns” three ERP products, their own, Peoplesoft’s and the JD
Edwards offering that was acquired by Peoplesoft. The JD Edwards users
were already in limbo waiting for details on the future plans for their
software.

As for Oracle’s competitors, SAP is rewriting its MySAP suite to be
compatible with its “Netweaver” integration engine and Microsoft is still
merging its products with those of its Navison (2002) and Great Plains
(2001) acquisitions. And of course SSA Global acquired Baan in 2003.

So should the wise HoIT now employ a city analyst before making a major
software purchase? My advice, make sure that your business case is met
by what the software can do today, don’t depend upon the product’s
“futures”.


Electronic public procurement ▲                                                              Procurement
The European Commission has published an Action Plan on electronic
                                                                                             Source:
public procurement to assist Member States in implementing the new
                                                                                             European
Procurement Directives adopted in 2004. The objective is to enable any
                                                                                             Commission
business with a PC and an internet connection to bid for public contracts
electronically anywhere in the EU, based on clear conditions and
                                                                                             URL
procedures and with all the necessary security.

The Directives provide for the first time a coherent EU framework for the
transparent and non-discriminatory use of electronic means in public
procurement, which will help make procurement more competitive and
efficient. As public procurement accounts for over 16% of the EU
economy, opening up procurement markets can significantly boost
Disclaimer: Socitm Consulting eyes only. Please note that the news items above are taken from the public domain.
(Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for
Scotland.) The comments are the personal views of the named individual consultants and in no way should they be
taken to represent the views of Socitm Ltd or Socitm Consulting. Copyright remains with the originator.
2e32d6d8-1e0c-48fc-b555-fd3fc08fde74.doc

competitiveness and reduce government spending.
Consultant comment: The commission has a huge task before it,
currently 80% of OJEU notices are still submitted off-line. Yet the EU
surveys of businesses shows that many already use electronic means to
identify opportunities, access documents, submit bids, and process orders
and invoices.

The legal barriers to e-business have been removed in the new European
directives and this action plan has been drawn up to ensure member
states transpose these into national legislation. Targets have been set to
revise the CPV codes, redesign forms, and by 2007 Member States have
to implement fully electronic systems at national level, including
appropriate tools for automated collection and publishing in TED.

While the focus is on Central Government the scope includes local and
regional government and it will be interesting to see what process is used
to ensure compliance at a local level.
Anyone planning to implement e-procurement should at least be aware of
the plan for these national facilities.

Public sector left behind, as banks hoover up                                                Management
contractors ▲
                                                                                             Source: Silicon
Financial services is now the number one employer for temps. If you're a
contractor, you're now more likely to be working in financial services than                  URL
the public sector, new research has found.

The public sector, historically the biggest employer of temporary IT staff,
has now ceded top spot to the financial services sector. The public sector
now hires 20.5 per cent of all IT contractors - the same percentage as six
months ago - while the percentage of IT temps in the financial sector has
risen from 19.9 per cent six months ago to its current 21.2 per cent.

With public sector as the poor cousin to financial services in terms of
wages, getting contractors on board could prove increasingly hard for the
public sector, the research reported.

In general, wages are on the up in contracting, according to Matthew
Brown, MD of a contractor specialist Giant Group plc. This year, 70 per
cent of contractors said their wages had risen, compared to last year,
when 45 per cent said the same thing.

Only 6.7 per cent of contractors have seen their wages drop this year - a
dramatic drop from 2003, when 28 per cent had seen their wages shrink.
Consultant comment: It’s always interesting to read these survey
results - can our personal experiences tie in with them though? One head
of IT told me recently that it was cheaper to employ technical contractors
than full time staff (the difficulty in getting highly skilled technicians was
the point) - which might disagree with the findings.

Another LA recently appointed a contractor, but he left after a while and
they asked us to take over, in part with the knowledge of continuity and
back up - which tends to support the findings. In Socitm Consulting our
experience tends too to support these findings - we are managing an
increasing number of projects for local authorities and acting as interim
managers (sometimes technical, more often not).

Disclaimer: Socitm Consulting eyes only. Please note that the news items above are taken from the public domain.
(Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for
Scotland.) The comments are the personal views of the named individual consultants and in no way should they be
taken to represent the views of Socitm Ltd or Socitm Consulting. Copyright remains with the originator.
2e32d6d8-1e0c-48fc-b555-fd3fc08fde74.doc

The three issues though which seem to drive use of externals are price
(of course), speed of deployment and ease of getting a good fit.




Disclaimer: Socitm Consulting eyes only. Please note that the news items above are taken from the public domain.
(Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for
Scotland.) The comments are the personal views of the named individual consultants and in no way should they be
taken to represent the views of Socitm Ltd or Socitm Consulting. Copyright remains with the originator.

				
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