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Recite Me guide to help local authorities comply with new accessibility laws

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Web accessibility and language software company Recite Me has created a guide to help public sector bodies including local authorities understand and comply with new public sector web accessibility regulations.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 came into force for UK public sector bodies in September 2018.

These regulations set new website and mobile app accessibility standards that public sector bodies including local authorities must follow, although some types of public sector organisations (and specific types of content) are exempt.

The regulations implement the EU directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites and mobile applications into UK law.

In order to comply new public sector websites (published on or after the regulations came into force in September 2018) must follow the principles of World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 accessibility Level AA standards by 23 September 2019.

Existing websites must follow the principles of the WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards by 23 September 2020.

The guide is available now via Recite Me’s website and it gives a summary of the regulations, plus information about what public sector bodies need to do to comply and how Recite Me can help.

To make a website or mobile app accessible public sector bodies like local authorities must ensure as many people as possible, including people with disabilities, can use it to do what they need to do.

One in five people in the UK have a disability. This number is rising as the UK has an ageing population and most disabilities are acquired with age.

So the older we live, the more likely we are to become disabled.

But evidence shows that most public sector websites don’t meet accessibility standards. This means they are inaccessible for people with disabilities.

For example, a recent study found that only 60% of UK local authority websites’ home pages are accessible to people with disabilities

The new regulations are set to change this and the guide by Recite Me will be a useful tool for public sector bodies like local authorities to help them comply with the laws.

Recite Me Founder and CEO Ross Linnett said: “All local authorities must take action now to ensure their websites and apps comply with the requirements and deadlines set out in the new public sector accessibility regulations.

“The guide Recite Me has created will give local authorities a very clear idea of what the regulations cover and what needs to be done to comply with them, by when.

“Although complying with the new regulations may be challenging, having an accessible website that follows the principles of WCAG 2.1 global web accessibility guidelines is a great way for local authorities to reach a wider audience.”

Christchurch Group appoints Ruth Smith, Chief Operations Officer

Ruth Smith, Chief Operations Officer, Christchurch Group

Winner of Health Investor’s Best Complex Care Award 2018 Christchurch Group – the UK’s leading provider of award-winning clinically-led neurorehabilitation1 services designed to improve the function, reduce symptoms, and enhance the well-being of patients with acquired brain injury (ABI), spinal injury and other neurological conditions – has promoted Ruth Smith to Chief Operating Officer.

Ruth – who demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in her former role as Director of Operations – will be responsible for further improving the company’s post-acute neurorehabilitation services at its 10 centres located across the UK, 100 % of which are rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. She will also lead her team to further improve the company’s already outstanding outcomes for patients, 86% of whom return home after a period of rehabilitation.

Other tasks that fall within her remit include overseeing marketing initiatives, implementing effective business practices, delegating responsibilities to ensure staff members grow as capable participants of the team and spearheading coaching initiatives to optimise employee capabilities. She will also be responsible for controlling company costs and preparing timely and accurate reports on financial performance.

Commenting on her promotion Richard McKenzie, CEO, said, “As Director of Operations Ruth delivered outstanding results and lasting improvements. Under her leadership Christchurch became the ‘only’ UK healthcare specialist to have achieved Headway Approved Provider status for ‘all’ its services. The value of accreditation goes beyond a competitive distinction from other service providers – it demonstrates commitment to continuous service improvement and ensuring a workforce trained and skilled in working with individuals with brain injury.

“Ruth is an individual of proven integrity, who employs role-models-values-based leadership to command the confidence and trust of all stakeholders. She has a clear understanding of our Group’s core values and culture, possesses significant business acumen and a sound understanding of our business strategies. Her promotion to the position of Chief Operating Officer is very well deserved.”

Concluding, Ruth Smith said, “Having spent 18 years in the NHS and independent healthcare sector as a qualified Nurse and Health Care Manager responsible for regulatory compliance and quality assurance, I am thrilled to have been promoted to Chief Operating Officer for Christchurch Group. In the future I plan to continue to grow and develop effective services for all our patients, to build further strategic partnerships with the NHS to provide effective solutions to meet the rehabilitation needs of the UK’s population and drive forward the vision of the Group and core values, building on its outstanding reputation.”

  1. Neurorehabilitation is a complex medical process which aims to aid recovery from a nervous system injury, and to minimise and/or compensate for any functional alterations resulting from it.

Public Sector Technology: Be Smart With WAN Data Acceleration

Graham Jarvis

By Graham Jarvis, Freelance Business and Technology Journalist

Early in 2019 Brian Chidester, Senior Industry Lead for Public Sector at OpenText, wrote about the trends that will affect the public sector this year.  In his blog for the company, it stated that ‘2019 technology trends driving IT modernisation in the Public Sector’, he says that IT security is of paramount importance to the public sector, alongside the need to improve service delivery and achieving cost savings.

Referring to a Gartner report about understanding cloud adoption in government, he comments: “As governments continue to migrate to the cloud, organisations must ensure their shift to the cloud is both cost-effective and secure. This may mean reconsidering how to think about the cloud, improve security and leverage implementation options.”

In the United States, this all amounts to a change in strategy from being Cloud First, to becoming Cloud Smart. “In 2019, shifting from a Cloud First to a Cloud Smart focus will help public sector organisations make sound decisions that will drive modernisation. While ‘Cloud Smart’ is a U.S. government initiative, it focuses on the integration of cloud security, procurement and workforce strategies — it’s a logical next step for governments around the globe. Thinking through the details will help agencies create better and more flexible strategies for implementation, security and acquisition.”

Think strategically

David Trossell, CEO and CTO of Bridgeworks

David Trossell, CEO and CTO of Bridgeworks, agrees that it’s important to think strategically about what’s required because the push towards digital government, through digital transformation, can still lead to mistakes being made. They can also be quite costly: the larger the project, the greater the cost and potential reputational damage. However, by being smarter and more flexible, it should be possible to avoid these consequences.

Cloud computing is, therefore, the backbone of this digital agenda because it’s seen as a way to reduce capital expenditure in favour of operational expenditure. Government and public sector organisations have also learnt to accept cloud computing, despite past concerns over security. While bodies, such as the DVLA and even the NHS, are still prone to hacking attacks and data breaches, the fears of cloud computing have largely gone away as the fears of the unknown have dissipated. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that the threat has gone away whatsoever.

He adds: “Security is not the responsibility of the cloud provider because that still resides with the user. Seeding data is a big problem for large data sets. Many are still using the cloud as another storage level; or using it to provide that back-up and an offsite disaster recovery facility.” There’s also the problem that may mean government and public sector organisations could find themselves locked in by some of their cloud service providers – despite the need for flexibility.

Broader perspectives

Deloitte also comments in its article, ‘Tech Trends 2019: UK Government and Public Services Perspective’, that the government and public sector IT perspectives are growing broader and more complex to the point that IT leaders in the sector are under pressure to use the latest technological advances, while also learning from the past decades. It says cloud, analytics and the creation of a digital experience have become the new normal with potential to still be leveraged with the sector.

The article comments: “The importance of technology to the business continues to increase. “Teams should evolve their capabilities and practices to take advantage of the mechanisms to improve delivery, transforming their core as well as the public-facing services, adopting agility across the enterprise.”

It also cites the role that artificial intelligence is playing in the public sector, referring to how it is being used in the UK’s National Health Service: “The NHS is using AI and robotics to help put doctors back on the front line, instead of performing back office administrative duties. Hospitals have begun by exploring how to automate parts of referral administration, speed up triage processes and to calculate reimbursement. Initial proofs of concept are already producing strong results, suggesting AI has a key role to play in the future of the NHS.”

Reflecting on the push for digital transformation, it adds: “To make the most of technology adoption, public bodies are finding useful lessons in the private sector — and vice versa. Cashierless stores could serve as models for care exchanges. The NHS can use AI-enabled verification of eligibility that is now becoming common in the insurance sector. Public bodies could use AI and other digital techniques to screen recruits like the private sector is increasingly doing.”

Increasing data ingestion

The Internet of Things will also play an increasing role, which the OpenText believes will inevitably lead to increasing data ingestion management requirements: “Governments embracing IoT isn’t just about making life better for citizens, it also opens new opportunities for cities. For example, London was recently listed as the top smart city government in the world by the Eden Strategy Institute for their ability to gather, process and act upon data and information. Once cities start ingesting data in a “smart” way, they can continually improve processes and further extend tax revenues — giving citizens more for their money.”

Yet, behind all of this is the need to have a fast, efficient and reliable wide area network. WAN optimization and SD-WANs are usually seen as the answer to mitigating the impact of latency, packet loss and jitter. However, they quite often don’t live up to the promises made by their vendors.

SD-WAN limitations 

Trossell comments: “SD-WANs are the new kid on the block. They are a great tool, and in the right place they are a great asset, but they don’t fix all the network issues when working with the cloud and datacentres. SD-WAN has many advantages over traditional, dedicated network links, as it has the ability to combine low-cost broadband and non-MPLS WAN connections. This includes broadband links that many cities have of 100 Mb/s or greater broadband connectivity. SD-WAN can also segregate different traffic down the most economic connection path; or combine many to increase bandwidth.” MPLS is expensive in comparison. This is a key factor when, government and public sector IT departments are still expected to produce technology that’ll do more for less cost. He therefore comments:

He adds: “Nevertheless, SD-WAN does not fix the two biggest factors affecting WAN performance: Latency and packet loss (especially if SD-WAN utilises broadband connections). Many think WAN optimisation, which is often part of many SD-WAN products, will solve these issues.”

“However, this can only work with compressible data – any data that is already compressed, deduped, or encrypted-which should be the default for all public service, cannot be passed through WAN optimisation. So, for most organisations WAN optimisation will have no effect in reality because it masks the effect of latency and packet loss by caching the data locally. The only answer to poor WAN performance is to layer WAN data acceleration over the top of SD-WAN.”

New approach

“WAN data acceleration approaches the problem from a completely different angle”, claims Trossell, before commenting: “Rather than trying to squish the data down to give the illusion of faster WAN, it tackles the issue of latency and packet loss and leaves the data alone. Latency is governed by the speed of light, and nobody can change that; the way to improve performance, is to make the best use of your pipe.”

He then explains that if you fill a pipe, a network, with large amounts of data using parallelisation you still have the same latency, while gaining better data throughput of 98%. Packet loss is minimised and handled by using artificial intelligence to address the packet size and number of parallel connections. Government and public sector organisations should therefore support their digital transformation projects, particularly as data volumes are ever-increasing, with WAN data acceleration. This doesn’t mean that they have to buy new infrastructure because much can be achieved with what they already have – including with their SD-WANs by creating a WAN data acceleration overlay.

SME innovation

Yet there is still a tendency to go for the large trusted OEMs. Trossell cites the old adage that says nobody got fired for buying IBM solutions. He questions whether this still rings true these days because there are many smaller vendors that are creating the technology innovation that is required by private, government and public sector organisations.

The UK government is, to a degree, recognising the potential of the smaller IT vendors by pushing for 25% of government procurement to go to SMEs. “Much of the innovation around networks, WAN and other areas is coming from the smaller nimbler companies that can enter a market segment with innovative products that large OEMs would not see as cost effective to enter”, explains Trossell. Bridgeworks is one of those innovative companies, and it can help government and public sector organisations to become smarter with WAN data acceleration.


Disaster Recovery Tips
David Trossell, CEO and CTO of Bridgeworks, finds that the quicker you can move data, the more options you have: “Cloud back-up is a cost-effective method of providing that offsite data security. However, the SLA for cloud providers is not guaranteed and so you need to play the cost-game against them. It’s cheap to put data into the cloud so seed your initial data to at least 3 different cloud providers.”
He also advises that, while storage costs are relatively low, pulling data out of the cloud is expensive. So, this should be the exception. By using 3 different cloud providers you gain flexibility to the point that if one suffers an outage, it should be possible to restore from another provider that’s acting as a disaster recovery site. WAN data acceleration broadens the opportunity to place data in different disaster recovery locations that are situated miles apart. The traditional way to tackle latency is to place disaster recovery sites relatively near to each other – within the same circles of disruption.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust to be self-made digital exemplar with UK-first Alcidion partnership

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust to be self-made digital exemplar with UK-first Alcidion partnership.

New partnership between Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Alcidion will help realise the trust’s ambition to be a self-made digital exemplar through industry-leading product suite and support.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust is to enhance its digital maturity through a partnership that will see it implement a health technology platform to transform patient safety and clinical efficiency for its hospitals and its local healthcare system partners.

The trust, which serves a population of half a million people over three hospitals, has announced a five-year partnership with Alcidion, the parent company of well-regarded UK health technology provider Patientrack. The trust will deploy the technology provider’s full product suite as part of its mission to be a self-made digital exemplar, also supporting ambitions to embrace artificial intelligence. It is the first such installation of its kind outside Australia, where Alcidion is helping other healthcare providers pursue similar visions for digitally-enabled, paper-free healthcare.

The contract will see the trust deploy Alcidion’s Miya Precision platform, Smartpage healthcare messaging product, and Patientrack e-observation and early warning system in all wards across the trust.

Teams across the hospital will benefit, as will system-wide integrated care. Nursing staff will have more time to spend with patients, and the means to prompt more rapid interventions for deteriorating patients. Improvements to patient flow and discharge will help the whole trust cope with increasing demand, and the platform will provide healthcare system partners with access to appropriate data that will enable care closer to home.

Neil Perry, associate director of digital transformation at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust told GPSJ: “Following a competitive tender process, we are very pleased to be working with Alcidion to implement its leading product suite across our hospitals. Alcidion’s solutions are the right fit to help us meet our commitment to use digital technology to improve patient outcomes and share these improvements with other NHS trusts. Alcidion is a long term solution partner for the trust, and we believe its technology can empower our clinical staff to make informed decisions and focus on what they do best – deliver excellent patient care. We are very excited by the possibilities in the use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing offered by the Alcidion solution.”

Designed as a patient safety platform, the integrated technology deployment will support electronic patient observations, electronic paper charts, clinical assessments, clinical noting, patient flow, bed management and electronic discharge summaries for GPs. Clinical teams will have secure online access to patient information 24 hours a day, where and when required. Alcidion will provide simple, rapid access to data and digital processes for frontline staff, through a mobile platform that will support rapid escalation for deteriorating patients, reduce the burden of paper and help address its reliance on pagers – a national imperative for the NHS.

The partnership will help the trust to leapfrog the digital maturity of other trusts as part of its self-made digital exemplar programme, created by the trust in the spirit of the national Global Digital Exemplar programme being rolled out with digitally-advanced healthcare providers across the NHS. It will also help align the trust with technology visions of the NHS Long Term Plan and health secretary Matt Hancock, and ambitions of the review into digital health in the NHS undertaken by Dr Eric Topol.

The platform will harness data from multiple systems, and provide a single dashboard for events inside and outside the hospital. This will help to support an alliance with the trust’s partner Guy’s and St Thomas’ (GSTT) NHS Foundation Trust.

“We will have real time clinical information to share into the Alliance’s Shared Care Record for when we refer emergency or elective patients. This should strengthen the Alliance’s ability to keep patients nearer to home, with the GSTT specialists able to better advise and inform Dartford and Gravesham clinicians on the best course of action based on the real-time data insights. We hope this will see fewer emergency transfers and more patients cared for locally,” said Perry.

The new partnership has had strong clinical buy in from the outset, and nursing leads have been clear on the implications of the new platform. Phillipa Wakefield, Dartford’s lead nurse informatics officer, said: “We have seen the impressive results of Patientrack at other hospitals in helping to improve patient safety and clinical effectiveness. With the additional functionality of Alcidion, our nursing staff will have mobile technology that cuts the time they spend doing observations, escalations and assessments. It will also help us reduce unnecessary deterioration, through earlier interventions and improved alerting and communication”.

Other advances made possible with Alcidion include the ability to use Miya’s natural language processing (NLP) capability to take free text clinical narrative and code that into SNOMED.

“The NLP capability of the Miya platform is very impressive,” added Perry. “The digitalisation of doctors’ noting is uncommon across the NHS; with Alcidion, this technology is built-in and makes achieving this goal a real possibility from initial clerking through to discharge summaries.  Our surgeons and anaesthetists are keen to explore developing the solution for pre-operative, inter-operative and post-operative surgery with tight coupling to our ePresccribing and Medicines Administration system. We are in early discussions on the need for anaesthetic monitors integrations.”

Alcidion’s UK General Manager, Donald Kennedy, said: “Dartford and Gravesham is incredibly impressive in its digital health ambitions, and will become an important reference site as one of the pioneers of using real-time data and mobile devices to improve patient safety. We look forward to supporting the trust on its digital health journey.”

Alcidion’s Managing Director, Kate Quirke, said: “This is a major win for Alcidion, and is the first integrated installation of the complete product platform – Miya Precision, Patientrack and Smartpage – outside of Australia. This contract is solid proof that we can introduce an innovative new technology solution to the UK market.”

VIDEALERT AWARDED ENFORCEMENT CONTRACT FOR BATH’S CLEAN AIR ZONE

Bath

Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES Council) is extending its Videalert CCTV enforcement platform with the installation of additional cameras for an approved class C clean air zone (CAZ) that is expected to commence operation at the end of2020. This scheme gives exemptions to private cars but charges higher polluting buses, coaches, HGVs, LGVs/vans, private hire vehicles and taxis.

Videalert was awarded the contract to ensure full and seamless integration with the council’s existing hosted digital video platform which is already being used to enforce a wide range of restrictions including bus lanes, bus gates and permit parking.

B&NES Council was one of 28 councils directed by the government to prepare an action plan to urgently reduce high levels of nitrogen dioxide (caused by vehicle emissions) to within  EU and national limits  by 2021 at the latest. The authority had originally proposed a Class D CAZ, charging all higher emission vehicles, including cars, to drive in the city centre. However, following further ongoing technical work and a public consultation in December – which garnered an unprecedented 8,421 responses – a class C option with additional traffic management, was agreed.  

According to Chris Major, group manager for Transport and Parking at B&NES Council: “The new charging class C CAZ will achieve compliance by 2021 apart from a single exceedance caused by localised traffic issues. We believe this will be resolved by installing traffic signals at two junctions.”

Videalert will be installing HD ANPR cameras to enforce the new CAZ scheme at key road junctions across the designated boundary. The hosted Videalert platform will automate the management and enforcement of this new zone, providing real-time identification including vehicle make, model, colour and euro standard rating for pre-filtering and updating the whitelist of compliant vehicles held at the edge to minimise transmission costs. Information on non-compliant vehicles will then interface with the UK government’s new national clean air zone database for vehicle validation and payment. The system will also provide detailed analytics and impact analysis highlighting the reduction in non-compliant vehicles entering the zone over time.

Tim Daniels, Sales and Marketing Director at Videalert, added:  “The award of this high profile contract confirms Videalert’s ability to handle the evolving requirements of clean air and low emission zones. It also demonstrates how a single video data platform can support multiple applications, enabling councils to address the challenges of improving traffic congestion and air quality simultaneously.”

The daily charge will be £9 for non-compliant taxis, private hire vehicles and light goods vehicles (the minimum standard being euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol), and £100 for buses, coaches and HGVs (the minimum standard being euro 6).

For further information please visit www.videalert.com

Voice and data analytics helps compliance with GDPR and PCI

By Chris Berry, Managing Director, Liquid Voice (UK) Limited

Today’s customers have much greater expectations and organisations are increasingly having to demonstrate that industry regulations are being met and appropriate systems are in place to manage and protect the way in which their personal information is stored. Local authorities have had to find practical and rapid ways to achieve these standards in this new regulatory era, whether they hold credit card data within historical recordings or need ways of dealing with subject access requests and the ‘right to be forgotten’ under GDPR.

Redaction Screenshot

In addition to implementing systems that allow sensitive personal information to be stored safely, this new regulatory environment, which includes GDPR and PCI DSS, gives customers the right to decide how their sensitive information is handled. Local authorities now have a legal obligation to be able to identify, access, provide and, if requested, delete any recordings or other interactions that contain captured personal information within a one month period.  This can be a major challenge when having to search through historical records with only limited useful metadata, unstructured storage and disparate systems

Data Consolidation

The challenge of managing data is magnified for local authorities needing to maintain legacy call recording equipment or manage risk for systems that have reached end of life and are no longer supported by manufacturers and their solution providers. Historical recordings can be easily and effectively migrated from systems, including NICE, Verint, ASC, Red Box, Xarios, Oak and many others to a new and fully supported platform without the loss of any data. 

Automated Speech Transcription

Automated Speech Transcription is an effective solution to helps manage these large volumes of unstructured data. Having transcribed the spoken word, it allows organisations to search stored recordings for names and other useful personal identifiers which are not normally stored within recording systems and displays the results in seconds as text summaries ranked by relevance. These searches can include customer name, address or reference number where that data would not ordinarily exist.

As well as rapidly locating specific recordings, Liquid Voice data consolidation solutions allow them to be easily deleted as required within the right to be forgotten. This process is fully audited with the relevant security to permit or deny this privilege.

Redaction

The same technology can be used to automatically find and redact PCI or other toxic and sensitive information, whether held in stored recordings or other technologies including email, SMS, web chat and video. Data redaction has become a key element of the ongoing compliance strategies of local authorities that want to meet their regulatory obligations and is particularly important for historical data that may not have been captured under the most recent compliance environments.

Importantly, this enables compliance processes to be implemented without having to suppress or delete entire recordings. After rapidly locating all predetermined personal identifiers in recorded interactions and datafiles using Automated Speech Transcription, the Liquid Voice solution isolates and overwrites it whilst white noise is inserted over recorded audio files. If required, compliance teams can access all data with advanced security controls protecting it against unauthorised users.

Contact:

Email: sales@liquidvoice.co.uk

Tel: 0113 200 2020

Web: www.liquidvoice.com

Falkirk Council Introduces VDI and IGEL to Deliver Workplace Flexibility and Mobility for Over 2,000 Staff

….£250,000 per annum saved as a rolling desktop PC replacement programme isn’t required…

IGEL, a world leader in software-defined endpoint optimization and control solutions for the secure enterprise, today announced that Falkirk Council has implemented virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to provide workplace flexibility and mobility for over 2,000 staff and to enable it to assess and rationalize its whole office estate to make better use of its building assets.

In addition, VDI is allowing the Council to meet its Public Service Network (PSN)[1] compliance obligations and shift away from a continuous desktop replacement programme which was costing around £250,000 every year.

Located in central Scotland within half an hour of Glasgow and Edinburgh, Falkirk Council provides a diverse and wide range of services to over 160,000 residents including bin collection, education, home care, planning application services, social housing, fostering and adoption services and roads maintenance. The council serves the largest towns in the area such as Falkirk, Bo’ness, Denny, Larbert, Stenhousemuir and Grangemouth – Scotland’s premier port and home to its only major oil refinery.

Falkirk Council has deployed Citrix Workspace as its VDI, mobile device and application management solution, along with 600 IGEL multimedia UD3 and 100 powerful quad core UD6 endpoints in addition to 1,000 IGEL Universal Desktop Convertor (UDC) software licences.  Supplied by I-KONIC, an IT solutions provider and IGEL partner based in Glasgow, this has put in place a flexible, easy-to-manage and cost-effective solution to support the future development of the organization.

Tommy Evans, Falkirk Council’s project lead for mobile and flexible working, explains, “Although it might sound cliché, moving from traditional PCs to thin client technology has genuinely been a paradigm shift for us.  Along with mobile devices and iPads, staff aren’t now tied to a particular desk.  They just login from any IGEL device and are presented with Microsoft Office and applications tailored to their specific job role. We’re trying to change the mindset of employees to make work an activity, not just somewhere you go from 9-5. We’re empowering our staff to work anytime anywhere, even from home so they benefit from a good work-life balance.”

This is a huge cultural change for the Council and is allowing it to introduce flexible and remote

working whilst ensuring availability of services to residents. Evans adds, “Even if there’s a snowstorm and people can’t get to an office, they can still login in and work as normal. VDI is also allowing us to review the buildings we currently have and exit old properties to lower our operational expenditure – helping towards making savings, which we hope will contribute to the approximately £60 million worth of savings which have to be made by 2023.”

Re-using existing IT infrastructure ‘sweats’ assets longer and saves precious budget

After a series of proof of concept tests with all well-known thin client vendors, IGEL was selected. This was for a variety of reasons:

  1. IGEL was the only supplier offering a software approach to managing desktops as opposed to just selling hardware. IGEL’s UDC software was particularly attractive as it has allowed Falkirk Council to turn its existing Windows-based HP PC desktops into IGEL Linux endpoints to not only facilitate easy management of them, but to extend the life of the actual hardware as well. Clearly this saves a huge amount of money given the hundreds of PCs involved.
  1. IGEL’s Universal Management Suite (UMS) means that the whole UD3, UD6 and UDC environment can be centrally managed with IT staff able to shadow desktops to offer fast helpdesk support.
  1. Compared to PCs, the IGEL UD3 and UD6 endpoints are quiet, produce less heat and are energy efficient. They come with an auto shut down feature too and turn off when not in use.
  1. Security has been maximized. The IGEL terminals are controlled by the UMS with the IGEL Linux OS ‘read only’. This means staff themselves cannot make changes to the endpoints locally or introduce security vulnerabilities as the desktop environment is ‘locked down.’

VDI simplifies desktop management across multiple locations 

The use of Citrix Workspace means that the challenges and overhead of managing thousands of PCs across various buildings has been removed. Software updates are easily made as data and applications are all held centrally such that IT staff don’t have to traipse around machines updating things individually. Changes made in the datacenter automatically populate the connected IGEL desktops. This is key as PSN compliance requires councils to carefully manage the release dates of all key applications in use such as Microsoft Office and only be two versions behind the latest.

In addition, startup is now super-fast and takes seconds rather than minutes as was the case when PCs were used. Clearly this boosts staff productivity and avoids people wasting time as they wait for their desktops to ‘boot up.’

Furthermore, hardware maintenance has been drastically simplified as IGEL terminals have no moving parts such as hard drives and fans. 

The Citrix Workspace solution is powered by HPE server infrastructure. The Citrix control layer is hosted on two HiveIO hyperconverged clusters for availability, each consisting of four HP ProLiant DL360 servers with the Citrix XenServer hypervisor. All virtual desktop workloads run from HPE Enterprise Moonshot System which is populated with 90 server cartridges across two chassis to deliver optimised performance. In total the council has invested around £1.8 million to completely transition away from PCs and put in place a much more modern, flexible and easy to manage desktop solution which – in the long term – is more cost effective.

Sean Russell, I-KONIC’s managing director, says, “As a Scottish-based IGEL partner and Citrix Gold Solution Advisor, it’s tremendously exciting to support Falkirk Council as they embrace virtual desktop and workspace technologies to boost efficiency and increase productivity. Our longstanding partnership with Falkirk Council, IGEL and Citrix goes from strength to strength with this transformation project. The never-ending rolling replacement of PCs has become a thing of the past, and users are able to access their applications and information from virtually anywhere.”

Moving forward, Falkirk Council is reviewing its office requirements. Evans concludes, “One thing that is particularly pleasing about the project is how the council has used technology to save money whilst giving staff tools to work more efficiently and effectively. We’re looking very carefully now at how we can release building assets through the use of Citrix and IGEL.”

Andrew Gee, IGEL’s VP Sales Northern Europe, says, “With all UK councils hit by budgets cuts, UDC is a smart way for them to save money and extend the life of any x86-based PC or laptop by converting them into an IGEL endpoint. It avoids perfectly good technology being thrown away. And it’s quick and simple to do with the device then easy to manage using our UMS software.”

For more information on IGEL, visit www.igel.com

[1] www.gov.uk/government/groups/public-services-network

Armstrong Ceilings bring joy to young cancer patients

Reporter: Allan Roach

The refurbishment of a ward at Bristol children’s hospital includes printed ceilings.

Hospital stays for children striving against cancer in the Bristol area are now more positive and stimulating, thanks to Armstrong Ceiling Solutions and its chosen charity Rays of Sunshine, a charity that brightens the lives of recovering children by granting their wishes and providing support in hospitals.

A refurbishment of the oncology day beds unit at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, part of the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, includes acoustic ceilings featuring sky scenes and shoals of fish to reflect its new name as the Ocean Unit.

The ceiling systems donated by Armstrong, totalling almost 300m2, were installed for free as a part of a ward wish by specialist sub-contractor H + L ceilings- a member of Armstrong’s approved national network of Omega contractors.

The BioGuard ceiling tiles that feature anti-bacterial benefits for healthcare environments were finished with a coating of sky scenes in the recovery bay for older children, a school of fish swimming down a river in the reception/waiting area corridor, and a shoal of fish in a small treatment room.

They were installed by a team of three from H + L over two weekends, with the old tiles from the 10-bed ward being sent to Armstrong’s factory in Gateshead for recycling and the company’s streamlined TLS grid, which is up to 20% faster to install, replacing the existing suspension system.

Around 35% of the total tiles were white and screen-printed which Armstrong supplied with a number on the back so H+L could follow appropriate layout guidelines.

Armstrong became involved in the project after its chosen charity Rays of Sunshine identified the refurbishment of the ward, which had not been updated for 15 years, under its Hospital Ward Wish programme.

This works to, among other elements, decorate treatment rooms to transform sterile spaces into stimulating environments which provide a distraction and enable children to respond better to treatment.

The refurbishment of the Ocean Unit, which has two six-bed bays and four single rooms as well as four consulting rooms, and looks after all oncology, haematology and bone marrow transplant children up to 19 years, also included new wall art and furniture.

H+L director Darren Hopkins told GPSJ: “When Armstrong asked us to install the project we were more than happy to get involved. It was treated like any other job but the installation team volunteered themselves for the weekend work.”

And of the tile numbering system he added: “We have never had to work that way before but it was pretty easy to install by following the instructions Armstrong gave us.”

Jane Sharpe, CEO of Rays of Sunshine, said: “A very big thank you to everyone involved in making this happen. The ceiling makeover will make such a massive difference to the children visiting the ward for treatment. It will make their time there so much more bearable and will put lots of smiles on lots of faces.”

Jane Thomas, donations co-ordinator for the children’s services division of University Hospitals Bristol, thanked Armstrong for their support in “transforming” the ceilings for the patients and their families.

She said: “The work completed by Armstrong Ceilings has made the area a brighter but still calm place for the children to be in, with the fish gently swimming through. Especially popular is the large bay under the tropical picture where the children can recover following treatment.”

Isabel Blanco, Armstrong’s marketing communications manager, said: “Our latest exercise for Rays of Sunshine was particularly rewarding as it was easy to see the difference the bright, fun ceilings made to the children.”

BioGuard tiles are cleanable and perform to Sound Absorption Class C and Clean Room Classification ISO 5. They are also 85% light reflecting and 95% humidity resistant and manufactured from 42% recycled content.

More information is accessible via the Armstrong Ceilings website www.armstrongceilings.com/commercial/en-gb/.

GROWTH SEES REESINK TURFCARE INVEST IN FLEET OF VANS TO EXPAND CUSTOMER SERVICE OFFERING

Reesink customer service

Reesink Turfcare, the UK distributor for top turfcare brands including Toro, TYM Tractors and Otterbine lake and pond aeration, has invested in six new service vehicles for its mobile technicians.

With the up-to-date and extended fleet, Reesink is now more equipped than ever to provide customers with an effective and dependable service, says Reesink’s operations manager David Jackman.

“By investing in this new fleet of vans, we have more reliable and efficient equipment, which means we can provide an improved service to our customers,” says David. “We take maintenance of our products seriously and this fleet of vans is essential to deliver back up if and when it’s needed. We pride ourselves on providing excellence and that doesn’t just begin and end with the sale of the product.”

Three of the vans will be at Reesink’s Sheffield Park service branch in East Sussex, one at the branch in Livingston, Scotland and two at the East Anglian service branch based at the company’s headquarters in St Neots.

David continued: “We have a particular focus on customer service, ensuring it expands in line with the company’s growth and we want to build on our relationship with our customers within our direct areas. This investment is the next step in strengthening that relationship.”

The six vans all come fully racked which includes a work bench and shelving kit solution, and can easily transport all the tools and parts needed for on-site service visits and breakdowns.

David concludes: “We’re completely committed to delivering exceptional service and these vehicles guarantee we have the right equipment for the job. We’re looking forward to seeing the new fleet in action and supporting our customers.”

BearingPoint acquires public services consultancy Prederi in the UK

The acquisition supports BearingPoint’s overall growth objectives, increases its critical mass in the UK, and broadens its public service capabilities.

Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint made a strategic move by acquiring Prederi, a leading consultancy focused on public services in the UK. The acquisition supports BearingPoint’s overall growth objectives, strengthens its presence in the UK, and broadens its public service capabilities. With this transaction, two highly profitable companies join forces. Prederi provides expert advice and consultancy and serves a large number of prestigious UK public sector clients. For many years, Prederi has been generating stable revenue streams. The Prederi team now expands BearingPoint’s expertise and capabilities in one of the largest and most competitive public services markets in Europe.

“With the acquisition of Prederi we are continuing our growth strategy in selected markets with consultancies that are highly focused and strongly differentiated,” said Kiumars Hamidian, Managing Partner of BearingPoint. “Prederi’s portfolio is a perfect complement to our public service strategy and supports our strategic growth areas.”

“Joining forces with Prederi is an important step as we continue to broaden our capability footprint in the UK. Prederi has a strong strategic, operational and cultural fit with our existing UK business. It is another highly focused acquisition that offers an excellent addition to our portfolio,” added James Rodger, Regional Leader UK and Ireland for BearingPoint.

Stewart Johns, Managing Director of Prederi, commented: “We are delighted that Prederi is joining up with BearingPoint.  Our passion has always been to provide a high quality and value for money consulting and training service to UK Central and Local Government and the NHS. Being with BearingPoint will enable us to accelerate our growth sustainably and to enhance and extend what we can do for our clients in today’s challenging climate.  We look forward to working with new colleagues in the UK and Ireland and across Europe to share know-how and develop new solutions for the benefit of the full BearingPoint client base. Most of all, we are excited at the development opportunities that will open up for the Prederi team and those who will join us in the future.”

For more information, please visit:

Homepage: www.bearingpoint.com

Annual Report: www.bearingpoint.com/en/about-us/annual-report/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/bearingpoint

Twitter: @BearingPoint

New tool helps planners and policy makers ensure global infrastructure development is sustainable

Miriam Mendes, Programme Manager of ITRC,

By Miriam Mendes, Programme Manager of ITRC, based at The Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.

A new tool from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and University of Oxford-led Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) has been launched to ensure that infrastructure is developed to support achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs were adopted in 2015 and agreed by 193 countries from developing and emerging nations to developed countries. They were designed to create a better and more sustainable future for people worldwide.

A recent study published in the prestigious journal Nature Sustainability has found that fulfilment of the majority of SDG targets will depend on infrastructure systems.

Sustainable infrastructure is better-designed and will save money in the long-term, explains co-author and Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks at the University of Oxford, Jim Hall: “Global spend on infrastructure investment is set to reach $97 trillion by 2040[i] but this money could be spent more wisely, creating infrastructure that works with nature to serve the needs of the people, keeping us on track to bring carbon emission to zero, and that is designed to be resilient to climatic extremes and other shocks.”

The new tool, SustainABLE, has been to designed to harness this fundamental research – providing development practitioners with real-world practical actions to ensure that their infrastructure project supports achievement of the different targets of the SDGs.

Scott Thacker, Senior Analyst at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), explains, “We’ve created SustainABLE as an easy to follow online tool available to anyone who wants to ensure the SDGs are at the heart of their infrastructure projects. This is the first time that the SDGs have been captured in this way, providing a very clear walkthrough and step-by-step guide to understand the influence of infrastructure on each target and provide tangible actions for ensuring that influence is realised.”

SustainABLE demonstrates how infrastructure systems from energy to water, waste, transport, digital communications, education, healthcare and other social infrastructure can help to ensure progress is made towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Jim Hall comments, “Infrastructure investment is at an all-time high globally. An ever-increasing number of decisions are being made now that will lock-in patterns of development for future generations. It’s critical that policy makers establish long term visions for sustainable national infrastructure systems, informed by the SDGs, and develop adaptable plans that can demonstrably deliver their vision. The new SustainABLE tool will be a central plank in establishing how infrastructure can help satisfy the SDGs.”

Scott Thacker of UNOPS adds, “With $2.3 trillion[ii] being spent per year on global capital infrastructure investment, funding is at an all time high. However, in some areas of the world there is still a lack of the most basic infrastructure, infrastructure that’s designed to satisfy future population growth, or to protect society from the harmful impacts of climate change.”

SustainABLE’s first module is now available for users to map the gender-related SDG targets of women’s empowerment and infrastructure against areas including energy, transport, water, solid waste, ICT, health, education, government and housing. Specific subsectors can also be targeted such as air transport, surface water management, or emergency response.

Modules scheduled to be launched include risk and reliance, climate mitigation, environmental protection, with others in development.

SustainABLE will help infrastructure decision-makers from international development bodies, development banks and governments to embed sustainability in infrastructure projects in developing and emerging nations and first world economies to make better use of their budget.

Jim Hall adds, “Built well, infrastructure can demonstrably and positively contribute to areas from economic prosperity and employment to health and education and the safeguarding of the planet’s natural resources. However, costly infrastructure is not always planned properly for the long-term, in consideration of the impact of one infrastructure on another, to take into account vulnerability to natural or manmade hazards, or in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by 193 countries in 2015.”

The paper published in Nature Sustainability focuses on the interplay between the physical and societal aspects of infrastructure systems, such as how long-lived assets shape future patterns of behaviour and development.

It classifies direct and indirect influences of infrastructure services on SDG goals and target outcomes. It also identifies functions where the infrastructure provides a unique contribution to the SDG target, and those where a pair or more than one infrastructure provides a shared contribution to the SDG target.

The new SustainABLE tool and the paper published in Nature Sustainability will be of interest to policy makers in government, investment banks, NGOs, developers involved in infrastructure projects, as well as researchers and academics.

Website: www.itrc.org.uk  www.unops.org

Try SustainABLE for yourself: sustainable.unops.org/

[i] Global Infrastructure Outlook forecast estimates as at April 5 2019 outlook.gihub.org/

[ii] [CD: add reference 17 from paper]

PoliceBox and Quvo available on the new Data & Application Solutions (DAS) Framework

  • Coeus Software joins as a supplier on the latest DAS Framework by the Crown Commercial Service
  • DAS provides a direct route for emergency services, health and other public sector customers to procure cloud software, hardware and professional services all in one procurement
  • Coeus Software listed in lots 1b (Workflow & Case Management Solutions) and 4a (Bluelight Operations) 

Coeus Software the leading provider of cloud-based, mobile workforce solutions for the public and private sectors, has successfully launched on the new Data & Application Solutions (DAS) Framework.

The DAS framework was launched by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) on 22nd February 2019.  It allows public sector organisations to buy, implement, test and deliver a broad range of software solutions, as well as essential hardware and professional services, in one simple procurement.

The DAS framework is split into five lots covering the following areas:

  1. Enterprise applications
  2. Local government
  3. Health and social care
  4. Police and emergency services
  5. Education

The following mobile working solutions by Coeus Software are listed on the following two lots:

  • Lot 1b – Workflow & Case Management Solutions: Quvo®, a mobile working platform for compliance-based private and public organisations. Quvo takes the same industry-leading security, customisability and integration capabilities of PoliceBox, but broadens its capabilities for those in the wider Public Sector, Corporate and SME marketplace who operate in heavily regulated or compliance-based environments. Quvo is appropriate for any organisation with high compliance-based needs e.g. Councils, housing departments/associations, social services, healthcare etc.
  • Lot 4a – Blue light operations: PoliceBox®, the UK’s only secure and fully customisable mobile working platform for the Police. PoliceBox helps officers deliver truly modern, 21st century digital policing, with much broader functionality and at a fraction of the cost of the more established rival platforms. Forces that use PoliceBox can quickly modernise their business processes to achieve genuinely cloud-first, mobile-first policing for the first time. PoliceBox provides a way for officers to access all the data they need in real-time, in the palm of their hand. In particular this means providing mobile access to the Police National Database (PND) and any other regional/national data services that they need. This is not just read only access. With PoliceBox they can also input data to these databases in real-time.

According to Ben Paynter, Crown Commercial Services Category Director – Digital Future, “This is the first framework by CCS that gives customers the choice to buy cloud and on-premise software or a combination of both under one agreement. It also allows customers to buy software alongside necessary hardware and professional services, in one procurement.” 

Simon Hall

“Data and Application Solutions builds on the legacy of the Local Authority Software Applications and Corporate Software Solutions agreements, whilst also allowing the Crown Commercial Service to serve new customers in Health, Blue Light and Education. The agreement has been designed following extensive engagement with both customers and suppliers.” 

Simon Hall, CEO, Coeus Software, comments “We are delighted to join the DAS framework, as it will provide a more seamless route for the police and other public sector organisations to take advantage of our innovative mobile working platforms so they can quickly and easily mobilise their business processes.”

In addition to the DAS framework, PoliceBox and Quvo remain available on the G Cloud marketplace and directly from www.policebox365.com.

Coeus Software Ltd. develops cloud-based, mobile workforce services for the police, health, social care and wider public and private sectors. Their services have been specifically designed around the day-to-day needs of its customers. From frontline police officers to nurses and social workers, its products support and enhance the way its customers already like to work. This ensures they fit seamlessly into their work day to deliver tangible benefits from day one.

LOCAL AUTHORITY TRAINING PROVIDER BENEFITS FROM QUALITY INSIGHT

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Investment in online technology is enabling a local authority-training provider to enhance their quality improvement approach and be prepared for Ofsted.

Gateshead Council Learning & Skills, which provides community learning, apprenticeship and JobCentre Plus training, as well as family learning support and Skills 4 Life, helps more than 11,000 people a year to secure new job skills and achieve nationally recognised qualifications.

The organisation uses Mesma’s insightQ subscription-based software to improve self-assessment and quality improvement planning; assuring progress across its operation, centralising co-ordination of actions and reporting and monitoring these more effectively as part of its quality strategy.

Gateshead Training & Skills

This includes oversight of key activities concerning quality of teaching, learning and assessment, safeguarding, CPD, communications planning, observation processes, accessibility and subcontractor quality arrangements.

The training provider’s systems are in line with the Ofsted’s Inspection Framework, specifically around monitoring the impact of quality improvement activities to ensure that they have a beneficial impact on learners.

Sonya Anderson, senior adult learning and skills manager sees the ‘Evaluate’ and ‘Improve’ modules of insightQ, which she and her colleagues, who include the principal, learning skills manager, curriculum managers and those with responsibility for business development, data and funding and safeguarding, use as ‘extremely valuable tools’.

She recalls 2016, when Ofsted recognised during its inspection of Gateshead Council Learning & Skills’ activities the value of insightQ as providing a real-time and cost-effective management resource – one actively improving their approach to quality management.

She said: “We could show to Ofsted that our ‘Good’ status is supported through having the appropriate information readily to hand during inspection. We put this down to the value of having an effective self-assessment and improvement planning resource – insightQ – available, showing the evidence of a quality oversight throughout our journey.

“The technology, which has been integrated across our administrative and management processes over several years, is now very much part and parcel of our oversight and managerial operations. It centralises control of important information, allowing us to track priorities and record progress, so much easier than any other systems I have used.

“My colleagues also like using insightQ. It keeps them up-to-date about important actions as they track and record their own progress against agreed actions, again helping to improve overall quality levels and boost efficiency.”

Mesma’s insightQ is a versatile, collaborative and cost-effective online resource, which enables important areas of the self-assessment process and associated improvement plan activities to be allocated to authorised people within any training environment. Its key purpose is to drive quality improvement in educational provision for learners.

Sonya Anderson says the technology’s pivotal in evidencing improvements in data capture, background processes and demonstrable staff engagements and actions: “The system is undoubtedly a huge improvement over paper-based ones, adding value to our operations and considerably assisting in addressing and raising quality standards.

“The team benefit from shared ownership of the system, seeing the critical information about achievement and improvement across the entire operation. This makes for more informed decisions as we move forward to embrace a changing training landscape.”

As she looks to the future she is currently integrating the new Observe module to allow her colleagues to schedule and capture centrally the outcomes of on-going learning observations.

She adds that the technology will play a strong role in helping the team prepare to deliver the new apprenticeship standards to all learners in both levy and non-levy paying employers.

“As a training and skills provider, we are adapting to comply with changes, and new tools like the Observe module, will help us prepare for the new Ofsted inspection landscape which will be coming into effect from this September,” says Sonya Anderson.

“For instance, we will see more rapid and effective reporting and feedback, helping us to quickly identify trends and direct resources to where they are most required, as the module goes live.”

Mesma’s insightQ is proving to be a shrewd investment for Gateshead Council Learning & Skills. Easy-to-use and well supported, it’s driving through improvements in quality while transforming the measurement of progress into a more manageable, visible daily process.

insightQ users are already using the platform to make the switch in self-assessment reporting to the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework. More at www.mesma.co.uk

Overcoming the Barrier of Inadequate Training: What Public Sector Tech Pros Need to Thrive

Sascha Giese, Head Geek™, SolarWinds

By: Sascha Giese, Head Geek, SolarWinds

A new study by SolarWinds suggests that U.K. public sector technology professionals are at an inflection point in their careers. They have one foot grounded in today’s IT-focused realities, while also setting their sights on technology that’s to come—often with some trepidation about their ability to manage it when it does arrive. SolarWinds’ IT Trends Report 2019[1] uncovers an ambitious and career-focused drive amongst the U.K.’s public sector tech pros. It suggests they have a growing desire to utilise their technology expertise and focus on their career-based learning in order to play a bigger, more influential role in their organisation’s innovation and strategy. With an understanding of the skillset and career development landscape, it’s important to note that not only is more training in these emerging areas needed—it’s desired.

Training priorities 

It’s clear that tech pros have an appetite to prioritise career development on a weekly basis. When it comes to their primary sources for training, tech pros turn to industry events/trade shows (21%), vendor training sessions (20%), internal training and/or coworkers (13%), industry publications (13%) and online communities/forums (13%). However, each of these options are regularly hindered by factors like time and cost. Over a quarter say their day-to-day IT tasks extend into time earmarked for career development. This is concerning, considering tech pros tell us that they enjoy technology skills training, with 49% finding it informative, 44% saying it’s engaging and interactive, and 20% reporting it’s not long enough.

Given the time and resources pressure on training, in the year ahead tech pros should think about approaching skills development strategically and prioritise necessary learning based on the needs of daily operations and IT environments, as well as skills that translate to career growth. They should evaluate their current environments; for example, asking themselves which leading technologies from last year have actually made their way into today’s IT environment. The trajectory from emerging, buzzword-laden technology and its real-world implementation should act as a guide for which technologies are best suited for the focus of training.

When the time comes to implement new technology to create efficiencies, there’s a steep learning curve that creates double the work. To combat this, tech pros should ask management to define the core competencies of the business as they relate to technology, and then monitor for gaps between importance and training. Is the organisation buying new technology purely for testing and experimentation or will it be business-critical? When there’s a gap between core competencies and skills in IT management, it becomes much easier to have a conversation about necessary training.

Charting a career development path

It’s possible that some of the country’s public sector technical professionals may feel as though their current IT environment doesn’t justify an investment in new skillsets. But tech pros on the fence about training should consider this: the less proactive the IT environment, the more proactive tech pros should be when it comes to personal development. To truly capitalise on the opportunities presented by emerging technologies—and to ultimately remain successful five years from now—tech pros must commit to the mindset of a lifelong learner by taking a more disciplined, proactive approach to skills and career development.

The most effective way to achieve this is to start small and set aside manageable, realistic amounts of time to invest in personal development. Learning can happen in short bursts of just five minutes; and five minutes twice a day adds up fast. By investing in learning as a lifestyle, common challenges such as finding time to sit down and complete a training module become easier to overcome.

Learning the language of business 

As technology becomes increasingly inseparable from business success, the IT department is more important than ever. There’s often a misperception amongst tech pros that more work can be accomplished on a command line rather than in PowerPoint, but the opposite is actually true: tech pros who can learn the language of business (and it is a language) will be able to successfully influence technology decisions and enhance their resumes.

The ability to translate the technological impact of a decision to business objectives will positively influence future innovation and decision-making. IT often gets asked to provide training, but they might need the training to provide training upfront. Tech pros should look for someone who can help teach them how to translate traditional IT jargon, whether it’s a technologist who has experience in business, or a business manager who can share insights and recommendations. 

This year’s survey builds on the results of the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2018: The Intersection of Hype and Performance, which revealed tech professionals’ struggle to overcome the barrier of inadequate training, and echoing the convergence of IT roles from several years ago (de-siloing roles like SysAdmins, NetAdmins, DBAs, etc.). This year’s survey continues to suggest that the lines between managed services—either by cloud providers or outsourced—and tools that were formerly considered cloud, DevOps, and traditional IT tools, respectively, are becoming increasingly blurred.

As a result, it’s more important than ever for tech pros to embrace collaboration and feel empowered to work with other teams as needed. This holds true when it comes to knowledge sharing as well. A portion of tech pros around the world prefer to receive training primarily from colleagues, and so it’s important to remember that knowledge gained could and should be knowledge shared with peers for the greater good.

[1] The statistics quoted in this article are taken from SolarWinds’ UK Tech Pro Survey, A Look at the IT Upskilling Needs of Tech Pros Today that Will Help Transition Them into the Tech Pros of Tomorrow. The survey was conducted in December 2018 by C White Consulting. It yielded responses from 61 technology practitioners, managers, and directors in the United Kingdom from public sector small, mid-size, and enterprise companies.