Police Product Insight magazine (Feb-March 2014) featured my Viewpoint article: Why the angst over IT. There has been much debate and consternation in policing circles, and more widely, about having joined up IT and systems that support end to end processes. It is an old issue that predates my spell as Director of Criminal Justice at the Police IT Organisation.
I have long advocated a rapid, incremental approach to systems development and business change. I developed the ideas in my book, The Information Edge (Pitman/IMgt, 1997) where I argued that traditional legacy systems could be hidden behind a much user friendly and agile layer that protected end-users from the complexity of old systems and the changes as the legacy was replaced.
From the continuing debate it is obvious that lesson has still not been learned, most notably because of the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) created by vested interests of traditional suppliers of major systems and senior managers who worry their knowledge will become irrelevant. However there are glimmers of light from surprising quarters – the UK government.
In our previous articles What is Cloud Computing? we covered the principal definition and characteristics of true cloud services. However those characteristics are not enough in themselves to fully describe cloud computing. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) adds four deployment and three service models to complete the picture.
Cloud computing did not come about overnight; it is a logical continuation of changes that have been taking place in the background for many years. It is not a panacea but at its best it frees organisations from the need to worry about information technology and allows them to focus on using automation to support more flexible and efficient business operations. It is a useful adjunct to the Rapid Incremental Development described previously.
At Solidus we have long advocated an incremental and componentised approach to business systems implementation. Judging by Jo Best’s article, Shared services: centres are over-budget and ERP overly complex, (Guardian Government Computing, 7 March 2012) the National Audit Office and other commentators are increasingly coming to the same view.