Sunday, 24 November 2013

My Govtech 2013 Review

My Govtech 2013 Review

This morning I found myself reminiscing about some of the biggest events that were on the ICT calendar in 2013.  One of the events that I attended was the annual government ICT pilgrimage, viz; Govtech 2013 which was held on 21 – 23 October 2013 in Cape Town.

I was trying to remember as to how this year’s Govtech fared compared to the previous years.

What went well?
Marketing:  I believe SITA’s marketing unit did well this year. The event was well marketed with newspapers and TV ads, social media and web presence.

Trevor Manuel speech:  The keynote address by Minister Trevor Manuel was one of the highlights, with him outlining what he saw as focus areas for government.  From his speech he indicated that we need to tackle the following challenges:-

e-government, education systems, bandwidth challenges, identity management and security, health care systems, billing challenges, use of GIS, matters of dignity and rights as well as most importantly, open source software.

Attendance:  Without knowing the numbers, at face value, it looked like we had more attendance this year than the previous year.  Impressing was also the attendance of sessions by candidates.  Perhaps the unfriendly Cape Town weather had something to do with it.

The cultural programme:  Govtech will no be Govtech without entertainment.  Whereas parties were in short supply this year, Dimension Data and Vodacom had the geeks occupied until the early hours of the morning.

What went wrong?
The programme:  there was last minute shifting of the dates of the conference. This created confusion as even private sector candidates attended the Techniclick workshop which precedes the official conference every year. Techniclick is only reserved for government employees.

No show by the premier and MPSA for the opening:  I still don’t know the reasons for failure to show up as per the programme to open the conference, but I believe this was very disappointing to the candidates.

Minimal role played by the GITOC on the main plenary programme:  Seeing that Govtech is a collaborative effort between GITOC, SITA and the DPSA, I feel the GITOC Chairperson should have been given a chance to address the conference at the main plenary, outlining our achievements since the last Govtech and also setting the scene for our plans going forward.

What can be improved?
Entertainment lineup: We must acknowledge that most candidates attend Govtech to have fun, distress and network.  Perhaps the lineup of artists that will be performing at Govtech should also be advertised as part of the marketing strategy.

An African ICT Programme:  The next conference should perhaps have speaks predominantly from the African continent.  There are plenty of great ICT case studies that we can learn from.

I am sure there are other brilliant suggestions from other attendants, and if SITA calls for them, then we will have a better Govtech next year.