It was the second and final day of SOCITM 2012 yesterday and we were once again spoilt for choice on sessions to visit. We ended up setting up camp in track one, the Library sessions, and we weren’t disappointed. Here are some of the highlights from today (and click here for our day one wrap up).
The answer is fibre, what is the question?
David Pinnington, Head of Government for MLL Telecom, gave an interesting lightening talk on ‘The Path To Superfast Broadband Using Hybrid Solutions’.
He kicked off with the infamous line ‘the answer is fibre; what is the question?’ before going into realistic and possible hybrid solutions. These include radio, which mobile operators are using and achieving up to 1gb speed, and white space.
He also pointed out that we shouldn’t wait for the next big thing as it may be delayed; his solution was to jump on the best thing there is right now and plan for the next 3-5 years.
Making digital mandatory
In a deeply interesting master class, Thomas Jakobsen, Director of Citizen Services in the Municipality of Copenhagen, discussed ‘Digital Delivery: The Danish Way’.
He discussed how they have taken a hard line on digital services, with the government passing laws to make digital mail and digital self-service mandatory, with goals of 80 per cent of people using digital only. He pointed out that while for some people face-to-face is considered the best service, this is not applicable to the 80% of people who prefer digital channels.
It took £3.62 million investment, but continues to create savings of £2.52 million year on year.
Graham Williamson Challenge Award: last year’s winner
Last years winner of the Graham Williamson Challenge Award, Steve Grange, discussed what he did with the opportunity. Steve, who is Web Project Manager at Cambridge County Council, went to Vancouver to explore techniques being used for UCD and UX, to bring back and put to use in Cambridge.
Steve’s key points were that UCD and UX are significantly important; it enables channel shift and therefore cost savings, it keeps customers more positive when engaging with the council and it provides a service that the people actually want. The crux of UCD and UX, says Steve, is asking your customers what they want.
Your council is a website
Following on quite nicely from Steve’s talk was the final talk of the day, ‘Your Council Is A Website’, by Tom Steinberg, Founder and Director of mySociety. The main point here was that while the council really is more than just a website, its customers do not think that way.
For example, many consider Amazon a website, but there is much more behind the scenes – warehouses, deliveries, developers etc. It is the same for a council as the website is most people’s only experience of the council. Because of this, UCD and UX, as Steve Grange discussed, should be the top priority – if your website is poor, suggests Tom, then people will question your ability in all other areas (and vocally too).
We’ve had a great time at SOCITM 2012 and look forward to next year’s event. If you attended the event we hope you had a good time, why not share you thoughts in the comments below? If you didn’t get to go, hopefully our wrap up on both days (see day one blog post here) has given some insight.
By David Clare
Microsoft Public Sector Team