ICT professionals should be positioning themselves as leaders in promoting digital services. So says Socitm, the Society of Information Technology Management, in its latest briefing. We have to hope that Socitim members understand that in practice this means allowing ordinary members of the workforce to do simple things like participate in a Ning discussion forum, watch a video or add a ‘read later’ button to their browser.
We also have to hope this report has more impact than the 2010 briefing on why ICT managers should take the lead on social media. As noted frequently in this blog, ICT professionals do not seem to have taken much heed of this earlier rallying call. If they don’t take the lead, warns Socitm, ‘the risk is much greater that others will decide the future direction of ICT in their organisation‘. Which would be a shame because ICT managers are, or should be, well placed to support others. They do have the skills and knowledge to help identify and therefore avoid real risks.
For example, Aberdeen City Council is the subject of an investigation by the Information Commissioner following the alleged loss of data after an employee in the social work department allegedly used an unsecure computer network when working from home. Correctly this is a matter of concern but we must differentiate between this kind of risk and the imagined risks of adding a ‘read later’ button to a browser or joining a Ning-hosted community (both of which activities are currently disallowed by default in certain public bodies).
User education will help minimise risk. Blocking won’t. Instead, as Socitm warns, it will lead to ICT policies being developed without the valued input from ICT professionals.
If you are affected by restrictive ICT polices why not join Scotland’s Digital Dialogue, a discussion forum hosted by the Scottish Government with the aim of raising the level of digital participation, which is ‘essential to ensure everyone is able to benefit from the digital age‘?