What is the scope of "IT" to be made good for society?

The question:

With blurring lines between IT, IoT and OT (Operational Technology), does the BCS have a clear strategy for establishing its place amongst other engineering and professional bodies and a strong voice in influencing government (NCSC, DCMS), public bodies (Police, MoD) and industry alike?

The context:

The digitalisation and cyber security markets are still immature, lacking recognised structure, capability roadmaps, common skill set definition and clear industrial exploitation routes. This is largely due to the dynamic (and exciting) nature of the market and the constantly evolving requirements posed on customers and suppliers alike.

Rather than expect to be able to plan and deliver a traditional response through structure, panels, committees, mature qualifications and thoroughly derisked investment plans, the market requires innovation across people, processes and technological development. This doesn't negate the need for such disciplines as secure by design, but the time and budget required to reproduce the kind of product and service certification enjoyed for so many years by such organisations as the MoD is not available.

By definition therefore, there is no 'answer' but there needs to be an approach which is collegial, constantly learning, organically motivated and that has a confidence level achieved through collaborative agreement and contribution.

The friendly challenge:

Is this an area that BCS can contribute to? if so how? does it do it on its own or does it need to form new collaborations with such organisations as the cyber clusters and the police's cyber specials and cyber volunteers? Can it continue to attract the individuals that understand that IT is now just a sub-sector? Can it compete with the IET, the Royal Academy of Engineering, or even industry groups for attracting members and satisfying members' continuous professional development requirements?

Do we do "IT" any more? or do we do digitalisation?

Posted by Mark Smyth-Roberts on 20th Mar 2018
Login to join the conversation

Comments (1)

David Vaughan Bowen

04 August 2018

A good challenge. Yes, BCS needs to contribute to the whole range of "IT" (automation, AI, big data...) and we need to do this by collaborating with other organisations (both large and small, both competitors and those who feel threatened by the size and scope of the BCS). I guess the answer to your final question is that we do both and neither. There certainly continues to be "IT", and there continues to be "digitalisation" (which I did before there was really much IT), but even more we do automation and we respond to the automated systems that other people have built. This is probably where we need to contribute to meet our goal of making "IT Good for Society": by thinking about how to best design the interfaces between people and systems so that the trend of the computer knowing best does not dis-empower or frustrate the user. And so that systems are transparent (or have windows into their workings).