News - BCS Shropshire Branch - Chartered Institute for IT

Does Size Matter?

11 May 2016

 

Shropshire BCS Branch meeting was held on 11 May 2016 at TCAT, in Wellington. Treasurer, Chris Pallett, opened the meeting by introducing himself and the other key note speakers.

 

With over 50 years of experience in successful large and small enterprises Ian Howles and Chris Pallett were well placed to discuss this question. Exploring the differences and similarities in the way IT is organised and monitored in big and small organisations.

 

Ian Howles said: “One of the biggest challenges to business success occurs when a small business grows.”

 

By skilfully interacting with their audience of IT professionals Ian and Chris successfully teased out answers to the key questions that businesses need to address as they grow.

 

Questions explored included:

  • When does small become big?
  • What scenarios do all businesses face?
  • How does size factor?
  • The effect of consumerism and the consumer mind-set
  • Attitude to risk
  • Does big mean better?

After a lively and well facilitated discussion, those attending agreed that there needs to be a direct contextual relationship between the size and complexity of the business and IT support costs, monitoring and governance. Business expansion must be accompanied with the controls and support costs that ensure quality is maintained or enhanced.

 

Ian Howles closed the meeting, thanking Chris and commented that it was great to see such a good turnout and if any branch members have any ideas for future sessions or speakers to please get in touch.

Making IT Good for Society

24 March 2016

Shropshire BCS Branch meeting was held last week at TCAT, in Wellington. Chair, Hollie Whittles, opened the meeting by introducing the two key note speakers.

The first speaker, David Evans, Director for Policy and Community, of the British Computer Society gave a talk on BCS vision of Making IT good for society.   With an eclectic career incorporating experience in marketing communications and policy as well as IT, David was well placed to describe how BCS is at the forefront of making IT assessable and socially useful. 

Beginning by explaining that the BCS branch and its members are key in delivering the vision, David described that personal data, capability, health and care and education are the 4 key IT issues which affect society. David then described how BCS will be working with its existing members, the IT industry and stakeholder groups to ensure that future IT development better meet the needs of society and its users.

The second presentation by Ian Bryant, Technical Director of Trustworthy Software Initiative (TSI) posed the question “Can we make software better”. Ian described how our lives are increasingly reliant on technology incorporating software. If that software fails it causes us problems. There is a pressing need to address the quality and robustness of our software.  No software can be proved to be error free, but Ian emphasised the importance of ensuring that it can be trusted to perform as it should.

The Trustworthy Software Framework (TSF), has been launched by TSI to address these issues. By collating existing guidance, standards and good practice in one framework, it seeks to provide a user friendly source of information for all those who need to build, procure or work with trustworthy software.
The concepts principles and techniques of the framework have been formalised in a British Standards Institution Publically Available Specification PAS754:2014.

Both presentations generated a lively question and answer session.

Hollie Whittles closed the meeting, thanking speakers and commented that it was great to see such a good turnout and if any branch members have any ideas for future sessions or speakers to please get in touch.

BCS Shropshire and the Raspberry Pi

15 September 2015

The AGM of the Shropshire BCS Branch was held last week at the Pheasant Inn, Admaston. Chair, Hollie Whittles, reaffirmed the aims of the branch to run events of interest to members and to encourage local networking. Thanks were given to retiring members of the committee for their contributions and the new committee was then elected.

Following the meeting, guest speaker, Kevin Wincott gave a keynote talk on the Raspberry Pi. With a background in big data, networking and IT security, Kevin was ideally placed to speak about the history and potential future of the Raspberry Pi, a credit card–sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools.

Beginning by explaining the key components and features of the Raspberry Pi, Kevin then described the many ways the device can be used. This generated a lot of interest and at the end of the talk, he answered questions from the audience.

Kevin said: “It was a privilege to speak at the BCS event for me. As well as allowing me to share my passion for both open source technology and the Raspberry Pi, it was a great opportunity to connect with fellow IT users in Shropshire and the wider community and to share my knowledge.”
 
Hollie Whittles also commented “Raspberry Pi is a great way to learn about hardware hacking and coding. We wanted to hold a BCS Shropshire event that appealed to all generations and the attendee response to this idea was excellent. It was fantastic to see good local networking going on and we look forward to arranging more events in the future.”

Telford businesses and students learn about big data

16 February 2015
Big data is transforming organisations and Shropshire BCS members recently had the opportunity to hear about how HMRC is becoming a data-driven organisation.


Hollie Whittles, BCS Shropshire Chair, says: “Big Data is important to the ever changing digital landscape, from cloud through to mobile to social media and gaming. It’s not just about storing continually increasing volumes of data, it’s also about how we analyse it and use it.”


Speaking at the group's January meeting held at Telford College of Arts and Technology, Chief Digital & Information Officer Mark Dearnley explained how HMRC relies on world-class analytics to bring in £500bn a year in revenue that funds UK public services.


Dearnley went on to speak about how the Department is moving all its data into a new single data hub so it can take its analytics even further. This comes with some big challenges - not least around security. Dearnley stressed the importance of data security to HMRC and set out how it's developing cutting edge solutions to help protect customer data.


According to Dearnley, all of this will enable HMRC to offer a range of new digital services, tailored to the needs of the Department's 41m individual and 5m business customers.


Says Dearnley: "Doing much more with the data we hold is key to unlocking HMRC's digital future. We'll give all our customers their own online tax account, bringing all the information they need into one place to make it easier for them to manage their tax affairs. This is an exciting time to be in technology in the public sector and it was great to be able to share some of HMRC's journey with an enthusiastic audience of IT professionals and local students."


Sue Burke, Head of School for Computing, Accounting and Professional Studies at the Colleges, said: “It was wonderful to see so many people at the event. This is not the first time Telford College of Arts and Technology have hosted an event for BCS and this provides a valuable opportunity for our computing students to attend. The students thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening especially Mark Dearnley’s insight into “big data”.


Photo shows from left to right: Simon Ing, Dianne Kidd, Hollie Whittles, Mark Dearnley, Cheryl Coleing Wale, Chris Pallett