Atos: Liquid IT most important mega trend for CxO's

29 October 2013 Consultancy.uk

Big Data, sustainability, talent management, upcoming markets or an outdated personnel-file, these are all trends that are of great strategic importance. Because of this, these themes are more and more on the agendas of CxO’s. A new research by Atos shows however that, out of five of the above mentioned trends, only one will have an impact on strategy and operational management. Yet, the trend with the biggest impact was not even mentioned: Liquid IT. By 2017, Liquid IT, according to Atos, will be the most important distinctive power.

In its latest 'Ascent' research series called 'Look out - Trends 2014+', advisory firm Atos presents an overview of 25 disruptive trends for CxO's. The 25 identified trends are plotted against the business impact and spread over time:

Atos Service-Business-Impact

Transformational trends

From Atos perspective, five trends can be dubbed as 'transformational', implying that they will radically change business models and the way the operational management is run. Business / IT alignment, Sustainability and Social Business are meanwhile well-known concepts, so little needs to be explained on their mega potential.

The abbreviation 'SoLoMo', which stands for 'Social-Local-Mobile', needs some explanation though. Atos believes that the combination of these three factors can lead to goldmines in terms of value:

- Social: leverage firms can use intelligence about social behaviors to expand the reach and popularity of services

- Local: location information (using GPS, Wi-Fi or Cell-ID) can be leveraged to increase proximity and relevance of services

- Mobile: mobile will soon be the primary channel for services, meaning that firms should integrate it into their propositions

Liquid IT

The most important trend is what Atos calls 'Liquid IT'. The basis of the concept centers on seamless integration between the business and IT. Yet the difference with 'standard' IT systems is that 'Liquid IT' provides the business with extreme customized services, flexibility speed and ease of use, and that in a manner that maximizes agility against minimal cost. Perhaps it sounds as a dream for all organizations anno 2013, yet by 2017 it will, according to advisors, be around and dominate the agendas of CxO's.

Atos Liquid-IT-Operating-Model

Overview of a Liquid IT Operating Model

So how will such a Liquid IT look like? Three main side conditions need to be in place. First of all, there needs to be a Liquid IT Operating Model (see above), complete transparency in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO) and a 'fluid' infrastructure (see below), which is built on a combination of PaaS and SaaS components.

Atos Liquid-IT-Infrastructure

Overview of a Liquid IT Infrastructure

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CGI to deliver vote counting e-solution for 2020 London elections

24 December 2018 Consultancy.uk

Global IT and business consulting services firm CGI has been awarded a new contract by the Greater London Authority to deliver end-to-end services, software and technical infrastructure for the electronic counting of votes in the 2020 London elections. Having previously delivered e-counting programmes in Scotland, CGI’s proven approach will facilitate the delivery of an accurate and transparent vote count.

The London Mayoral Election to be held on the 7th of May 2020 will see incumbent Mayor, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, fight to hold his position, having first been elected in 2016 with 44.2% of the vote in the first round. It is expected to be one of the last major tests of political opinion before the anticipated General Election of 2022, and as such, it has been judged as the perfect proving ground for new digital vote counting technology.

This has seen IT and business consulting firm CGI contracted to provide an electronic solution – developed in partnership with London-based elections technology company Smartmatic – for the accurate counting of voter marks on ballot papers and declaration of results for three elections taking place in May 2020: the Mayor of London, 14 Constituency Assembly Members, and 11 London-wide Assembly Members. The scheme will pilot with the counting of postal and in-person votes in the Alexandra Palace, Excel and Olympia districts of London.

The e-counting solution will assist with ballot papers being  scanned and processed quickly and accurately, with full auditability of results. In support of the project roll-out, CGI will also provide outreach and consultancy to key minority voting groups, offering full transparency around the vote counting process to help encourage voter participation.

CGI to deliver vote counting e-solution for 2020 London elections

Donna Kelly, Vice President, South Business Unit at CGI UK, explained, “The 2020 elections will still utilise traditional paper-based voting. CGI, partnering with Smartmatic, will provide an electronic solution for the accurate counting of marks which were registered by voters on ballot papers. CGI’s approach will facilitate the delivery of an accurate and transparent vote count.”

CGI was previously awarded a £6.5 million contract to deliver an e-counting solution for the Scottish Government to use in council elections. Following on from that project, CGI will continue to work with Rathmhor – a coaching, training and consultancy business – whose team of specialist facilitators designed and delivered the user training for the programme in Scotland in 2017. Leading provider Hamilton Rentals will meanwhile supply hardware and AV rental, while its engineers will build count centres and deploy the solution at the count venues.

Having rolled out a smart system at the Scottish Local Government elections is one thing, but London’s position as a major financial and political hub surely makes these elections more of a target for hackers or cyber criminals. Thus, while the voting is still carried out on a paper-based system and only the tallying is electronic, security of the processes and systems supporting the e-counting is still extremely important.

When asked what steps were being taken to ensure the integrity of the process, Kelly responded, “We take a holistic approach... It is not only about the technology itself, but also about making sure it is securely configured and rigorously tested from a security perspective before voting, that the correct procedures are followed during the event and that analysis is undertaken to ensure there are no indications of any issues during the vote counting. This approach looks to minimise risks associated with adversaries attempting to exploit system vulnerabilities to gain access to the systems and manipulate the counting undetected.”

To this end, CGI has a well-grounded reputation for delivering cyber security and assured governance to the public sector. Drawing on its partners’ combined elections experience and expertise, the company  will collaborate closely with the GLA and London Boroughs to undertake planning, testing and training ahead of the crunch election period.

Commenting on the choice of CGI for the contract, Mary Harpley, Greater London Returning Officer at the Greater London Authority said, “I would like to congratulate CGI on their success in being selected to deliver electronic counting for the next Mayoral and Assembly elections in 2020. Having worked closely with Transport for London and representatives from the London Boroughs to ensure a robust and transparent selection process, the GLA team is looking forward to working with CGI, Smartmatic and partners to deliver an effective and accurate e-count.”

Related: The HALO Scotland partners CGI for Kilmarnock regeneration.