On public cloud troubles, race equality and #JamFirst
In our private lives we use public cloud services such as Facebook or Netflix without giving them much thought. The companies running these services are improving them all the time but it is almost a Law of Nature that these systems contain defects which can impact a few, or occasionally all, of their users. Overall, these systems are much more reliable and economical than the alternatives but it is still frustrating when things go wrong.
We use a public cloud service for our finance and workforce systems to get similar performance and cost benefits. Occasionally, we also come across similar, frustrating defects. This week I spent quite a lot of time trying to manage one of these.
If you can’t watch a movie when you want it is probably just an inconvenience. Our systems handle things like payments and compliance with regulations so the impact of problems is much greater. If this affects payments to a small business or a low-income family then even a short interruption can be really harmful. Along with our supplier, we put a lot of effort into checking and testing changes and this week’s problem was spotted during some of these tests.
Spotting the problem early is good as it gives us a chance to take steps to fix the problem or to mitigate the impact. In this case, the supplier needs to make further changes to remove the problem and we will have to ask our busy operational teams to work around it for a week or two.
This week also included:
- a team tea break with scones, jam and cream - in that order, please!1
- another instalment of the digital services course I am piloting and a catch up with the cross-government team that developed the course
- a couple of agile coaching sessions with someone at Dorset Council as part of our experiment with swapping skills
- a fascinating show-and-tell session focused on geographic information systems and IS work to support the Council’s property estate.
I really enjoyed our staff race forum this week. We’ve got a few new members and swapped ideas about how to put some of the forum’s ideas into action. The Council facilitated a public race equality event2 earlier this month and it was great to hear such positive feedback. There is a lot more to do to create the sort of fair and welcoming Cornwall we want and we aren’t changing quickly enough. Perhaps these visible signs of our ambition and commitment will give people some hope.