WRITTEN ON July 27th, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Foundation of Trust, Identity, Transformational Government, What do we want?

Her Majesty’s Government’s CIO discusses on his new blog the 10-year future of the IT industry. He asks us to consider a world where:

The concept of desktop disappears…payment comes from infrastructure as a service…things like ERP become a sequence of transactions…the number of data centres will be dramatically reduced…
Public and private clouds will be pervasive…we will have cracked the software provisioning, cloud-to-cloud migration, dynamic application and data shifting (and data locked to a location), the prioritisation and the billing…

What will play out will be a battle of product; intellectual property; agility to solve the business problem at speed and at a price that is much lower than the value that is being created. More players in the market resets where the revenue will go. More competition equals lower margin. Lower margin plus a high cost base is not a recipe for long term success.

John’s original web site is here, and his initial Twitter here (I guess these may become joined up).

It’s good to have John Suffolk engaged in online debate. He’s not a politician of course so not allowed into the whole policy ding-dong. He needs to keep his own comments within the limits of the civil service code and what is politically uncontroversial.

No such inhibitions affect Jerry Fishenden, who has cast aside what little constraints he might ever have felt as Microsoft’s NTO. In a significant new post he actually does tackle John’s core professional subject: the future of government IT.

One of the largest problems currently being considered is the tendency (whether intentional or as a by-product of inadequate technological expertise) to misdirect IT towards some kind of UK digital uber-state, which, unlike the Internet and WWW, seems to be envisaged as a centrally imposed monolithic database state without citizen consent.

To use technology to potentially set a democratic state against its own citizens seems not only expensive (politically, technologically and financially), but to be a significant missed opportunity. IT can be designed to reinforce the importance of the rule of law, security, and privacy and our other core democratic freedoms and to contribute to trustworthiness and to honour values such as privacy, freedom of expression, protection of minorities, freedom of association, and freedom of belief.

We need to rethink how IT becomes an ally of the citizen, and the UK’s best interests, rather than being seen as a negative.

Jerry is always thoughtful and creative, so when he’s even a tiny bit forceful as well his interventions can be devastating. His Scotsman article on ID has already resonated for years, despite the best efforts of the Whitehall mindguards. One senses from the spread of his vocabulary and perspectives he is being listened to in the places that will matter.

One very pertinent trend that will matter a great deal in the next 10 years is the rise of volunteered personal information, on which my new firm Ctrl-Shift has been working. With that at front of mind, I’ve commented on John’s piece. I’m just off to comment on Jerry’s. I’d love to read John’s comments on Jerry’s. Is he allowed to comment, I wonder?

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