In an exclusive interview with CRN, the highly influential new president of
Society of IT Managers (SOCITM) said there are too many pain points for IT managers, and often resellers add to the problem.
SOCITM - the increasingly influential lobby of public sector managers, appointed Richard Steel as its new president last week.
Steel, currently chief information officer at the London Borough of Newham, has pledged to take a sabbatical from his normal duties in order to devote more time to a radical modernisation of the organization. He vowed to help his members engage more with people, and less with IT suppliers that do not understand the public sector's needs.
"I'm going to delegate some of my normal duties with the council in order to
spend more time reforming the society," he said. "As an organisation we have
a great brand. But we need more understanding."
The areas of pain that Steel wants to concentrate are the funding of the
organisation, the membership of SOCITM and understanding of its remit. "We need
to go beyond local government. We should be bridging the gap between local and
national government," said Steel.
The success of the project hinges on whether local and national government
work together, an integration process which is put under pressure by time
constraints and lack of understanding. IT suppliers can either be seen as a help
or a hindrance, depending on the level of empathy they show for the public
sector IT manager's needs. "We are all about engaging with people and we want to
work with industry, to help them understand our needs," he said.
But often resellers give the impression they are completely oblivious to the
service culture of this sector, he said. "Suppliers were constantly on at us
about digital dashboards, or other technology to cut the bottom line. But we are
not in the private sector, so we are not obsessed with the bottom line. We are
service driven. We have a far more complicated set of services to deliver than,
say, a bank that just moves money around. The people who understand that are
helpful to us. They are the people we would want to work with."
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