It’s official, CJ Ritchie (Associate Deputy Minister and Government Chief Information Officer for British Columbia) has just signed an amendment to the agreement that governs the province’s use of Microsoft Cloud solutions (Office 365, Azure, Dynamics and Power BI). More specifically, this has been done to address the immediate need for government workers to be able to work remotely as a result of the global pandemic.
So what does this mean? From the announcement, it would appear that this is intended to be a short term measure because it says that it is conditional on the fact that “personal information is removed from the tools as soon as possible when this time period is concluded.”
Like many organizations around the world, the government is struggling to keep its workforce productive while we are observing social distancing. Cloud solutions are a very obvious way to enable productive work to occur while everyone is physically disconnected.
What it means for service providers like ourselves is that the government is going to need help with adopting these technologies. It is not as simple as flipping a switch and now everyone is able to work remotely; changes in behaviour and how people work are also needed. The organizational change management is definitely the hardest part, but for short term situations (which is hopefully what we’re currently in), this quick fix approach may work.
What I believe is going to happen is that these government workers will get used to the new modern toolset and won’t want to go back to the old way of doing things. This will put greater pressure on the OCIO to keep these rules loosened in order to enable the government to work in a modern fashion. Don’t laugh, it may be possible, or maybe I’m a dreamer :).
Regardless, I want to applaud CJ Ritchie in making this move during these tough times. It is definitely the right thing to do as long as the guardrails are in place to ensure that the tools are used in a safe and secure fashion.