UCISA 2013 Pt 5

After a break for drinks and chats with exhibitors, Thursday morning (that’s right, it’s still Thursday!) continued with a pitch from Gareth Cahill of the BCS (not the British Computer Society anymore apparently), talking about their SFIAplus skills framework (presentation here).

Along with others I was expecting a sales pitch – and wasn’t disappointed – so I only managed to pick a few choice bits out.

Text overload! (click through for full presentation)

Text overload! (click through for full presentation)

1. A key issue for anyone managing staff is the battle between the cost professional development  and the risk that valuable member of staff may leave (effectively taking your “investment” away) – although this is balanced by the risk associated with not developing someone and then being stuck with them.

2. I’ve said before, I love a good framework, but I felt that SFIAplus looked like a potentially dangerous tick box exercise.

3. Every time someone produces a PowerPoint slide rammed full of text, a tiny kitten dies.

Overall the talk failed to live up to its billing – “Maximise the capability of your greatest resource”. Really the only thing I learned was how not to put together presentations.

I’ve been a member of the BCS for quite a while now, but have always had mixed feelings about it, particularly after the crisis of confidence (and perhaps leadership) it went through a few years ago. I remain a member because I feel I should be one, but otherwise I don’t feel I get anything back from it.

Next, a timely warning:

Albert Ellis’ talk on “Transforming leadership of your IT Service – from IT Director to CIO” (presentation here) offered an interesting preview (at the time) of the Harvey Nash CIO Survey 2012.

Far more graceful. Click through for the full presentation

Far more graceful. Click through for the full presentation

The contrast between this presentation and the previous one was quite shocking – Albert’s style was far more engaging, his slides far less likely to kill kittens…

It was difficult to tell if the results being presented had any kind of US bias – the survey covered 20 countries, but it wasn’t clear if there was any weighting or if we were just seeing UK results – but it was interesting none the less. Fundamentally, the challenges facing IT are pretty much what we already know: Social Media, BYOD, resourcing, mobile technology and budgets (i.e. resourcing again – worth it being there twice!).

Compared to 2000, the 2012 CIO is expected to be much less of a technical/operational manager and more of a leader with an emphasis on influencing and innovation. Unsurprisingly, given the growth of ITSM as a subject over the last decade, CIOs are expected to be significantly more business facing (an 82% change since 2006). Innovation, entrepreneurial and cost conscious – three linked skills, to my mind – are also in demand. Unfortunately they’re not as happy or well paid… Maybe time to change careers and be a plumber after all.

Where's the sunshine gone?

Where’s the sunshine gone?

Lunch presented the opportunity to eat, drink and get more practice with my swag-grabbing skills. I’ve never been particularly skilled in this fine art – I lack the confidence to just roll up to a stand and demand freebies , something I witnessed on more than one occasion by the same duo – must be something about working in Manchester 😉

What changed it for me were the bright orange umbrellas that Bomgar were giving out. Eventually I managed to reconcile the conflict between “something for nothing” and the feeling that I should give them something back… and in return for 15 minutes of my time I left the stall burdened by a t-shirt, pens, some case-study material, an introduction to James Davies at UCA… and an umbrella! Which did not make me popular on the way home the next day:

In the end I had some interesting conversations during the conference – with Desire2Learn about integrating lecture capture into our VLE, Sonic Foundry about video and data management, Stone and Lenovo about client kit (in both cases beaten to the punch by gadget obsessed colleague James) and A10 Networks.

Alas, the t-shirt remains un-claimed by my staff in the office’s conference-swag pile. And apparently it *is* possible to have too many pens, memory sticks and boxes of mints…

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