by Mark Chillingworth

A look back at the CIO’s June 2011

Jul 07, 20117 mins
IT Strategy

June 1st

Nokia warnedthat its second-quarter sales and operating margins would be “substantially” below previous guidance after sales and prices fell. The mobile handset maker, Europe’s largest technology firm, saw its stock market value dive by 18 per cent following the announcement. The company is now valued at its lowest for 13 years. Stephen Elop, Nokia’s chief executive, said 2011 was “going to be a difficult year to get through”. Nokia said it would be around “break-even” point at the end of the quarter, much lower than its six-to-nine per cent margin target.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced plans to hire ‘hundreds’ of cyber security experts in order to fully embed cyber capabilities in the UK’s defences. It follows defence minister Nick Harvey’s acknowledgment that the UK is building a ‘toolbox’ of cyber weapons that will form an “integral part of the country’s armoury”.  “Our forces depend on computer networks, both in the UK and on operations around the world,” the MoD said in a statement. “But our adversaries present an advanced and rapidly developing threat to these networks. Future conflict will see cyber operations conducted in parallel with more conventional actions in the sea, land and air operations. Therefore we must plan, train, exercise and operate in a way which integrates our activities in both cyber and physical space.”


The UK government centralised the procurement of common goods and services following the recommendations outlined in Sir Philip Green’s efficiency review. The review, published in October 2010, highlighted stark differences in the costs that different government departments and agencies were paying for the same products. For example, departments were paying between £350 and £2000 for the same laptop, and between £85 and £240 for the same printer cartridges from the same supplier. As part of its changes to procurement processes, the government has created a central team, Government Procurement, which will contract for products and services at a single, “better” price. The Cabinet Office believes that the measures will help the government save £3bn a year by 2015. “It is bonkers for different parts of government to be paying vastly different prices for exactly the same goods. We are putting a stop to this madness,” said Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.


The Open Data Center Alliance, an organisation formed by large IT companies in 2010, unveiled its first deliverable: user-driven cloud usage “models” and datacentre requirements for use in RFIs and RFPs. The documents include eight usage models or guidelines that address what the organisation believes are the most urgent issues involving cloud adoption today. They also represent the first documented customer requirements for cloud, ODCA officials say. But those officials stressed that the models are also a guideline, not a mandate.


Severn Trent Water denied accusationsfrom a trade union that the water shortage in the Midlands were caused by the implementation of its SAP computer systems. Trade union GMB said that the introduction of a £70m SAP system in June 2010 “had led to complete confusion in the scheduling of repair work and dealing with leaks” which led to “massive losses of water from the reservoirs”. It warned that certain areas in the Midlands, including Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire, could face a hosepipe ban.


The consumerisation of technologyin the workplace, where users bring in their own devices and even sign up to their own choice of cloud systems, is drastically changing the role of the IT department, according to analyst house IDC, which warned IT managers to be ahead of the change. “The new world of mobility changes the IT philosophy. It’s no longer highly controlled,” said Nick McQuire, research director at IDC. Many businesses were striving to allow in some devices and self-provisioned systems, but while retaining central control, he added. “It’s a balancing act. You don’t want to completely lock down your systems, but you do need security and the right policies.”

The Co-operative Groupretailer opened a £9m Apprenticeship Academy to offer opportunities in all areas of the business, including corporate IT. The academy aims to provide 2000 jobs over the next three years, and its mission is in line with the government’s agenda to boost the number of apprenticeships in IT across different industries. In addition to IT, the Co-operative will also provide the UK’s first-ever funeral industry apprenticeships, while placements will also be available in business areas such as food, farming, pharmacy and financial services.


Tesco has revealedthat it is in the final stages of re-platforming its banking business. “Tesco Bank continues to make good progress and is now in the final stages of the transition to its own systems and infrastructure,” the company said in its 2011 Q1 management statement. “Most of our existing products in insurance and banking have now been migrated across to Tesco successfully.” Tesco Bank said that its savings and loan platforms have now started operating for new customers, and that it would be migrating existing accounts “imminently”.


Nearly half (48 percent) of women working in IT feel that they need to act like men in order to be successful, a survey has found. Forty per cent of women also believe that young females are put off pursuing a career in the technology industry because of its geeky image, according to the ‘Women’s Careers in IT’ survey conducted by career and recruitment site Women in Technology and industry trade association Intellect. The findings back up research from sector skills body e-skills, which found that female students are put off by IT careers because they see the sector as male-dominated, geeky and complex.


Christine Connelly, CIO at the Department for Health, is set to resign at the end of the month. The news may mark a crisis for the failing £11.4 billion National Programme for IT, which has lost two of its lead suppliers, Accenture and Fujitsu, and has been heavily criticised over renegotiated, multibillion pound delayed work with remaining providers BT and CSC. The programme, centred around digital patient records, has also been unpopular among a number of doctors and patients. Connelly was recently subjected to a tough grilling in parliament by the Public Accounts Committee, in which she gave most of the technical and financial answers to angry MPs. She sat alongside the National Programme’s senior responsible owner, NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson, who was not immediately able to define how


Supermarket Sainsbury’shas appointed the former head of retail at Ocado, Jon Rudoe, as its new director of online. In addition, the supermarket has promoted its current director of direct channels, Tanya Lawler, to the role of Sainsbury’s director of digital. Lawler was previously responsible for all the channels, including online, but the new appointments represent the creation of two roles. Reporting into Mike Coupe, the group’s commercial director, Rudoe will join Sainsbury’s on 11 July from online grocery retailer Ocado, where he was responsible for marketing, the website and products. Prior to this, he worked in venture capital and in consulting for Bain.


Businesses are “clearly not” able to use the public cloud for all of their enterprise requirements, according to UBS bank’s security CTO.

It is more likely that there will be a growth in industry-specific clouds, said Chris Swan. “There is a level of assurance that I don’t think the public cloud at the moment can provide,” he told The 451 Group’s Hosting and Cloud Transformation Summit in London. “We will see more and more industry cloud provision.”