Dr Mark Thompson, University Lecturer in Information Systems at Cambridge Judge Business School, was invited to deliver the opening plenary at the 2012 Charity Finance Directors’ Group (CFDG) IT Conference, which took place on 6 March.
The theme of this year’s conference was the importance of seeing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as an enabler, rather than just a cost-centre. It also looked at how to reduce the risks that ICT brings to organisations, whilst focusing on the practical ways it can help to deliver services and engage with stakeholders.
In his talk ‘Post-Bureaucratic Government, Open Platforms and Innovation: Why Government IT Will Never Be the Same Again’, Dr Thompson explained how recent developments in open standards and supporting technologies are already having exciting, radically disruptive consequences for traditional ways of thinking about IT. As a result he maintains we will soon be designing organisations differently, procuring technology differently and expecting radically different behaviours from our suppliers.
Dr Thompson has been a key thinker in the development of an emerging climate within public sector IT based on open standards, and his ideas have been taken up by policymakers, including the Cabinet Office.
Like many in the public sector, finance directors across the third sector are beginning to question some of the more traditional ways of doing things – especially across their corporate services. In particular, many are asking why they seem to be buying slightly different variations of the same thing from suppliers. Such concerns resonate well with my own work in asking similar questions of government IT and associated services. I was therefore delighted to be asked to do a keynote presentation that introduced some new ideas in this space, and urged finance directors in the third sector to come together to consider more convergent operating models that could result in significant savings for the future.”