London Calling - London 2015 Tech Week

  • Wednesday, 16 September 2015 11:25
  • Written by  Alan Williams

Having just experienced London Technology Week for the first time in the varied roles of delegate, key note presenter and award winner, I have a strong recommendation.... If you're a technology leader or influencer of any sort, don't miss an opportunity to visit London Technology Week sometime over the next few years. It should inspire you and fuel your thoughts about how we in Australia could be much more effective at embracing technology into our businesses and our economy.

London has, for a while now, been building its credentials as one of the world's technology hot spots. The UK political leadership at both a national and local level has been engaging closely with the scientific and technological communities. Ensuring that the country is at the forefront of thought leadership in areas such as educational reform to support a technology-led economy, the evolution of smart cities and the nurturing of innovation. In the words of Ellen Burbage of Passion Capital, a venture capital provider, "...why it excels over any other tech hubs of the world is that it combines the technology and digital innovation of Silicon Valley with the Wall Street financing heritage of New York and the policy making of Washington DC - all in one phenomenal city."

Putting this enthusiasm, confidence and excitement on full show is what London Technology Week is all about. Only in it's second year this remarkable festival encourages companies, research institutions, expert bodies, venture capital providers, educationalists and thought leaders of all sorts to run lectures, seminars, meet-ups, workshops, book launches and more, during the one week. All at the same time that some of the biggest technology shows are running at the ExCel exhibition centres. In all, almost 250 events were run this year at 140 venues, and it's now a permanent 'must do' in my calendar.

Personally, I had a pretty frenzied time at InterOp, TechUK CIO Summit, Cloud World Forum and Enterprise Apps World plus numerous other individual events and workshops.

My favourite presentation?
Zvezdan Schoppmann, Groupwide Head of Technology Innovation Management for Deutsche Post/DHL told Enterprise Apps World attendees how a business of 490,000 employees is going about using mobility to improve business processes in his presentation, "Apps are Only the Peak of the Iceberg". DHL have taken the position not to limit the creativity and innovation of their many divisions, yet they have to make sure there isn't anarchy in app delivery. To do this they strictly maintain their overall app framework but give a lot of freedom provided the apps meet the guidelines. They focus on ensuring all apps and implementations conform in terms of:

  • Mobile Device Management (making sure devices and data are safe),
  • App Discovery and Provisioning (how do I find useful apps for me and how do I get them running),
  • App Operations, (particularly the security framework),
  • App Development (guidelines on what I can and can't use to develop apps), and
  • App Integration (particularly API management),
  • all surrounded by a Mobile Strategy and
  • Mobile Governance Policy.

They know there isn't a 'one-size-fits-all' way to do app development or to apply off-the-shelf apps, and they recognise that individual groups need to have the freedom to innovate. By concentrating on ensuring that apps developed fit into a general architectural framework, they get innovation happening around the company that can also be leveraged elsewhere with relative ease.

What made this my favourite presentation? Schoppmann spoke with great authority stemming from real world experience, and confirmed to me that BlinkMobile needs to continue to make sure our product set fits into this structured thinking. Adding value by allowing organisations smaller than DHL to be creative in harnessing the power of mobile but doing so from a consistent, supportable architectural standpoint.

What was the best single piece of advice to a CIO?
At the TechUK CIO Summit an eminent panel of Gerry Pennell, CIO 2012 London Olympics, Martin Kelly, CIO Citrix and Susan Cooklin, Group CIO Network Rail ALL made the point that app development was the "relatively easy part". They each gave their own perspective on why the most important thing was, putting in place an integration architecture and well managed business-level APIs that you'll harness from all manner of new apps.

So, (and it's an old story made more urgent by the imminent flood of new mobile apps) if you're a CIO/CTO, don't start down an Enterprise Mobility journey without thinking about how you're going to expose business APIs that can be used by any future front-end app. This will give you the freedom to change and adapt the front-end apps without messing with your back-end systems. Also, avoid the 'quick fix' of hard-baking the integrations into the app because you'll be stuck with maintaining them there for ever.

Ask your BlinkMobile Partner about our new Envoy orchestration services as a smart way of creating those APIs that can be harnessed by many applications.

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