The Open Source, the Cloud and your Business Conference held in Brighton the 18th of November 2014 has surely been an exciting and satisfying experience for both the organisers and the delegates.
The event had the objective of presenting some of the opportunities presented by Cloud services, but also the risks and the costs involved, and the Open Source alternatives available to "legacy" solutions that may help in reducing costs and complexity of in-house deployments. The point was to provide show participants that there are valid alternatives to what "mainstream" IT providers are offering and allow them to ask the right questions when offered IT products and services.
We planned to organise a simple, half a day local event just about 3 weeks before the due date but while talking with local and less local partners the interest grew so much that we had to extend it to a full day event and stop accepting entries to avoid speakers overcrowding.
Getting interest also from delegates has been a lot easier than expected, it seemed like many were just waiting for an event like our to happen to join in.
Reading articles in the IT media seems like everybody is just queuing to move their businesses on the "Cloud" but the reality that comes out from our event is that many don't understand what Cloud really is while other start looking more at Open Source based solutions as they are often more cost effective than Cloud and allows better control on data.
Do we need a more ethical IT?
The various speakers, that also collectively sponsored and organised the event with a good Open Source ethos, presented some of the areas covered by Cloud and Open Source based solutions that can satisfied the requirements of many types of organisation in the Private, Public and Education sector. Many delegates may have discovered for the first time that Cloud and Open Source are already powering many of the devices and solutions they are already using but that their IT providers haven't provided any information that could have allowed them to choose solution that could have made their organisation more agile at a much lower cost than with proprietary software.
Getting the Public Sector involved
Delegates also appreciated John Jackson's presence and speech. John is the CIO of Camden Council and he is seen by many as leading figure in Local Government innovation. He explained some of the complexities involved in procuring and managing IT infrastructures in the public sector but also of his plans of using more Open Source and sharing tools and experiences with other Councils through the upcoming Open Systems Alliance.
John's also appreciated and learned a lot from a QA session where delegates (formed by a good mix of consultants, lawyers, business owners and representatives of the IT industry) asked questions that may have not been asked in large conferences where mentalities would have been aligned with those of the few "traditional" vendors.
That is surely one of the experiences we want to repeat and extend during our next #OpenBrighton event.
I'll be back!
A lot has been said and done but there is still plenty to do. We've learned from #OpenBrighon that businesses and public sector organisation want to learn more and want to meet the people that can offer them new and more ethical ways of doing IT.
We will organise another similar event in the future so if you would like to participate let us know.
You can submit your proposals or as to create a session for a specific requirement that can be satisfied by Cloud and/or Open Source solutions by writing to:
Were you at #OpenBrighton? Do you have more/better photos? Send them in.
(we know, we are very good with Open Source but not professional photographers)
The Cloud and your business - Omnis Systems
Advice Cloud - What is GCloud
Catalyst - Open Source software development
Giuseppe Paternò - SecurePass - Identity and access management
John Jackson - Camden Council - Open Source and Public Sector
Irinie White Open Source Consortium
Marco Welter Zarafa
Tim Eyles LibreOffice from Collabora
Andrew Mann Syncromedia
Note: During the presentations and in some slides Brighton & Hove City Council, Warwickshire County Council, Socitm, Janet and LocalGovDigital have been mentioned. Invitation to participate have been sent out to their respective representatives to allow them to express their point of view but have been ignored or declined. Our view is that Public Sector organisations and those funded with public money should share with the public their choices to show that their operations and the way they take decisions is fully transparent.