The war against crap software

crapsoftware

The end of my second week at Adur and Worthing and it has been relentless. I’m loving it, but feeling the need to come up for air – you may perhaps have noticed I’ve been quiet on this blog and Twitter of late.

One of the big things that attracted me to this particular role was the opportunity to take on the legacy IT element of the digital picture, as well as making some pretty web front ends. So on top of working on fantastic customer-facing services, we’re also involved in projects replacing the ways we do financial management and performance, for instance.

In other words, we are fighting a war against crap software throughout the organisation.

Paul has blogged about the approach before, but it is a sensible one, making use of internet-age, cloud ready solutions wherever possible. We have the tools and are building the in house capability to create bespoke solutions where they are needed – but if there is a mature, commodity tool out there that we can repurpose, we go for that.

The first element of this begins in earnest on Tuesday, when the whole organisation switches to Google for Work to handle email and calendar. Some brave souls are already starting to use Google Drive and its associated apps to replace other parts of the productivity stack.

This will mean we can save thousands on Microsoft licences for productivity software. It will also mean – and this is more interesting – that people will start to rethink what a ‘document’ is, how they do their work, and perhaps what their work really is, at the end of the day.

This is what the war against crap software is all about. Somehow we’ve all ended up in a place where technology is seen as a blocker, as something that makes life harder. Our work has become defined by the tools we used to do it, leading us down some very dark paths. That’s not how things should ever have been – so we’re fixing it, bit by bit.

What’s been amazing is the response from my new colleagues. People are going way beyond the call of duty to make sure the Google rollout goes as smoothly as possible. I think everyone realises how important it is to the digital programme – it’s the first bit of the new way of doing things and we can’t have it viewed by others as being yet another IT project. It needs to add value and just work from the get go, and generate some momentum we can carry through to our other work.

Anyway, that’s enough for now. More soon on the wider strategy at Adur and Worthing, and some tactical pieces we’re also working on.

If your interested in what we’re doing and would like to know more, grab me on dave.briggs@adur-worthing.gov.uk.

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Dave Briggs

I'm Head of Digital and Design at Adur and Worthing Councils.

4 thoughts on “The war against crap software”

  1. that’s great to hear there’s somebody now in a position to tackle head on the issue of crap software provided by near-monopoly vendors – as you know I’ve been ranting about that for years.

    I’d be interested to know more about the Google solution – were there any data protection arguments about citizen data being stored on US servers?

  2. Similarly to Simon’s comment above, we ran a IT seminar and looked at the advantages of cloud, and ran a follow up mythbusting webinar around data protection and the patriot act. Intrigued as to whether you had many people raise issues around Google and data protection and how you managed those?

    Many thanks,

    Dyfrig

  3. Hi both

    Sorry for the delay in responding.

    Basically, we did our due diligence. Our information governance officer did some research and based on that, the Councils took the decision that the level of risk was acceptable.

    Of course, others have gone before us (Hillingdon, Kingston and Sutton, the Cabinet Office to name just three) and their experience was invaluable. We are also lucky in the sense that as a couple of district councils, we don’t have some of the complex needs that other authorities do (social care, etc) which can make life more difficult.

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