ICT Principles 2 of 8: Reuse

1

April 11, 2012 by Kate Sahota

This is the second of eight blog posts which will describe our general principles for ICT; these are the major ideas that underpin our formal strategy documents and will influence our decision making in the coming years. For a list of all of the principles see this previous post.

“Reuse: ICT will be made up of components that can be used in many different situations, rather than each problem or requirement being addressed individually.”

First, a little story….

“Welcome to Warwickshire County Council, Joanna Matthews. In order to get you set up, first of all we need to enter your details into our HR system so that you can get paid. Now we need to take your photograph and store that in our ID badge system so that you can gain access to our buildings. Let’s create you in the People Finder directory, along with your phone number, so people know how to contact you. We’d better put an entry in the property database so we know where you’re sitting. Finally, let’s get you set up in our ICT support system so that you can log support calls.”

That’s a grand total of 5 separate databases, with a different entry in each one of them for Joanna, before we’ve even reached lunchtime. After a few months, Joanna should also have an entry in the Appraisals system, the timesheet system, the Workstation Assessment system and the financial systems, if not more.

WHAT IS IT?

This clever little diagram should explain more clearly what we are trying to achieve.

By focusing on building key datasets used across the organisation, such as staff, customers, properties and businesses, we can reuse the necessary components whenever the business has a need for a new system.

WHY DO WE WANT TO DO THIS?

  • Development of key, corporate sources of data: Achieving a “Single Source of the Truth” for our corporate data is not an overnight event. However, this principle will be considered each time we look to redevelop an existing system or develop/procure a new system.
  • Reduce development time: By ensuring our corporate sources of data are open and available for use by other systems, developers can concentrate on developing core business functionality without the need to develop datasets that already exist elsewhere.
  • Remove duplication of functions and data: Reusing corporate data sources will reduce the need for separate silos of data across the authority. As well as rationalised datasets, we will also create standard functions and methods to enable systems to access the data held within.
  • Increase accuracy of information: Maintaining a single data source for our corporate data will ensure each system is accessing the latest, most accurate information.
  • Increase reliability of data and systems: By using well designed and maintained corporate data sources to underpin our systems, we can have greater confidence in the reliability of the  data and the systems.

The third principle we will be writing about is “Single Identity”.

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One thought on “ICT Principles 2 of 8: Reuse

  1. Ian Litton says:

    A single source of truth for customers would also allow us, for the first time, to really understand who our customers are, where they are, which services they are receiving from us, and how we should best deliver those services. Good data about customers underpins effective customer insight.

    We also need to get better at reusing systems and functions as well as data but adopting more generic solutions.

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