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Digital transformation can be everyone's cup of tea

Digital transformation can be everyone’s cup of tea

Businesses are losing momentum with digital transformation, having focused on only part of the bigger picture. The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way.

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer: Technology’s role in declining trust and its turnaround potential

| Jen Rodvold

Communications firm Edelman released its annual Trust Barometer report last week to coincide with the gathering of world leaders at Davos.  As the most influential, powerful and wealthy were...

Photo of a bed, duvets and pillows

Why it’s time to ditch the duvet with a great employee experience

I’m not one to ‘throw a sickie’. I enjoy getting out of bed and heading in to work each day. But can you say the same about your employees?

Graphic for the Gender bias in GPT-2 blog article

Gender bias in GPT-2

A man and his son are in a terrible accident and are rushed to the hospital for critical care. The doctor looks at the boy and exclaims “I can’t operate on this boy, he’s my son!”. How could this be?

Photo of people wearing virtual reality (VR) headsets

Why Digital Skills should be top of the class in today’s schools

What will the jobs market be like in 5 years’ time (or even in 1 years’ time) – given the rapid changes that are going on right now?

ELATT Grad Meeting

Sopra Steria Welcomes ELATT

Sopra Steria Graduates will take part in a Tech for Good hackathon for our London charity partner, ELATT.

Banner photo for the ELATT Hackathon, including some Junior Consultants

Solving organisational challenges in partnership

On Monday 14 January, I and seven colleagues spanning all areas of our delivery – from the training room to the web team and the data team – attended a Tech for Good Hackathon with some fifty Sopra Steria graduates and mentors.

Photo of a police car

Sopra Steria is proud to announce our founding partnership of the inaugural World Class Policing Awards taking place this Autumn.

The World Class Policing Awards will celebrate and acknowledge the best in all aspects of 21st century policing.

A photo of Lauren Boys, a Junior Consultant

My Journey as a Woman in STEM

International Women’s Day has been and gone, but it’s important to think about what the day means. It’s a celebration of women who more often than not don’t get enough recognition for doing what they do – but it isn’t solely about celebrating.

Interns in Edinburgh

It’s been emotional

CareerReady 2019 – in the words of the interns.
Here’s the story of 5 Career Ready interns and their 4 week internship in the Sopra Steria Edinburgh DigiLab…..

Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month is a celebration and annual commemoration of the history, achievements & contributions of Black people in US history. It was originally introduced by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. The origins of the event were initially introduced as ‘Negro History Week’; but it was later decided that it wasn’t long enough. Civil right movements & the Black power movements pushed the event to become the Black History month in 1969. Since 1976, every U.S President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

Hearty Welcome to Sopra Steria

Not Just IT

Words and pictures are not enough to describe today, I have been privileged to witness something very special indeed.

John and Kim at the airport

An early start for an experience of a lifetime

On Wednesday Kim and I had an early start; our taxi took us to the airport at 5am, so we were both up at 4am – 11.30pm UK time!

Volunteers at one of the schools supported by Sopra Steria

Our first day – One we’ll both never forget.

Today was a very emotional day for both Kim and myself; we visited the Shri Ghanshyam Sharma Memorial High School, Uttar Pradesh. One of the schools supported by Sopra Steria.

Police officer looking forward at fellow police officers

Merseyside Police sign contract for STORM Command and Control system

Sopra Steria is proud to announce the recent signing of a two year contract with Merseyside Police for the provision of the STORM Command and Control system.

Photo of Kim

Discovering the benefits of giving

Three years ago in January, I felt that my children were all grown up and I was not needed as much for them so I decided to start some volunteering work.

Photo of John

My thoughts on the Sopra Steria India Foundation and the volunteering work we do to make a difference

This year I was lucky enough to be nominated for an award for my voluntary work and was selected as one of the Sopra Steria Volunteers of the Year for 2018 where I won an all-expenses-paid trip to India, to see the amazing work of the Sopra Steria India Foundation (SSIF), I leave for this exciting trip in a weeks’ time.

Skyline of London

Sopra Steria to deliver world-leading software set for Transport for London to keep the capital’s roads moving

Sopra Steria has been awarded a contract by new client Transport for London (TfL) to develop a new control room system to tackle some of the biggest issues facing the capital, such as congestion and road danger.

Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme Bronze Award

Corporate Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme Bronze Award – setting our course for excellence in Armed Forces community engagement

At the end of July Prime Minister Boris Johnston announced the opening of a new Office for Veterans’ Affairs, a hub established to coordinate and drive Government policy on veterans’ mental and physical health, education and employment.

Police officers observing a crowd

How the Public Make Contact with the Police

Today making the best use of technology is high on the agenda in UK policing. Senior officials are continually looking at ways in improving their use of technology, in order to keep more officers on the streets, aid in their investigations as well as making it easier for the public to report incidents and crime.

Police car

How Technology Helps Incident Room Call Handlers

In an emergency situation police control room call handlers need effective technology solutions to help them respond and deploy the appropriate help to, in many cases, life or death situations.

Police Officers

Technology and the fight against child abuse

Technology has a critical role to play in the fight against the abuse of children and minors.
It enables law enforcement in identifying offenders online and assisting in the investigation of criminality relating to child abuse.

Police officer

Policing on the frontline – observations from an evening on patrol

There is no denying that as a society we face many issues, at a macro level we are tackling issues around immigration, organised crime and drugs. Locally, our police forces find themselves dealing with petty criminals, knife crime, drug misuse and domestic violence. Police officers find themselves trying to operate in the face of increasing bureaucracy, stiffer scrutiny, decreasing funding and dwindling officer numbers.

Photo of the London DigiLab

Keeping clients one step ahead – the DigiLab story (Part #3)

So how do we connect up all these rich pools of learning? DigiLabs is the Sopra Steria hothouse for innovation, uniquely straddling our global spheres of expertise. The way we’re structured helps us bring together insight from across our eco-system to answer the critical challenges faced by our customers, with unrivaled vision and leadership.

Police officers at a Christmas market

ICT in Policing – Insight Into User Perspectives

The Police ICT User Perspectives survey results were released at the end of last year by CoPaCC as a finger on the pulse on police and employees’ perspectives on their ICT infrastructure. It was the second instalment in the series, with the next due out in the coming months. 

Email graphic

Project IRIS framework contract awarded for SMARTi3

Project Iris is a Police Transformation Fund (PTF) supported project, coordinated by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Internet Intelligence and Investigations (III) Lead.

Photo of the opening of The Ben Kinsella Trust’s second anti- knife crime exhibition in the prestigious National Justice Museum in Nottingham.

The Ben Kinsella Trust and Sopra Steria – steps forward in the fight against knife crime

It was a day to mark the opening of The Ben Kinsella Trust’s second anti- knife crime exhibition in the UK, as well as Sopra Steria proudly announcing their strategic partnership with the charity, along with their joint ventures Shared Services Connected Ltd and NHS Shared Business Services. 

Photo of a large landfill

Four steps to an environmentally-sustainable business

At Sopra Steria we are proud of our exemplary approach to sustainability, and, in the section below, share four practical actions that businesses can take to address their environmental impact.

DigiLab

Keeping clients one step ahead – the DigiLab story (Part #2)

Digital transformation projects are often mission-critical, and therefore usually urgent. There’s a need to quickly unearth and interrogate challenges, sift the solution options and get things into test and development.

Armed Forces Family

The Armed Forces community and the corporate world; transferable skills to add business value

As an Armed Forces Corporate Covenant signatory Sopra Steria encouraged employees to support their local events, in order to acknowledge the community who protect our nation with honour and courage. 

Sopra Steria employees playing Mario Kart in the London DigiLab

ESG Charity Week: Raising money for The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust

Last week our Emergency Services sector hosted a charity week in the Holborn office to support the UK Police Arboretum Memorial Trust. We want to show our continued support for the Police Forces by raising awareness during this week.

Eric Maman on his phone on a scooter in the Edinburgh DigiLab

Keeping clients one step ahead – the DigiLab story (Part #1)

Sopra Steria is lucky to work with some the world’s most exciting companies. It’s our job to help them transform digitally, across sectors as diverse as education, hospitality and aerospace. That means our organization is packed with know-how, experience and progressive thinking.

Photo of HourGlass, Transparent Time Keeping

Hourglass: Transparent Timekeeping

How a simple conversation with a client about time-keeping led to some late nights, reflection on project tracking & a simple progressive web app…

Police officers at a Christmas market

Digital transformation and organised crime: how Sopra Steria’s expertise could equip Police Forces to reduce offences

Vern Davis, Head of Aerospace, Defence and Security at Sopra Steria, has been featured in the latest issue of ADS Advance to outline how adoption of technological best practices could equip the UK’s Police Force to address the rise in serious and organised crime (SOC).

A rocket bound for space takes off in the starry sky.

Bringing together the UK Space Sector

In April, we brought together space leaders and experts across the private, public and academic worlds for ‘Event Horizon – a UK Space Symposium’. 

Photo of the European Union (EU) flag being held open by people

‘Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI’ Summarised

On the 8th of April 2019, the EU’s High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on AI released their Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI, building on over 500 recommendations received on the ‘Draft Ethics Guidelines’ released in December 2018.

What I learned using GPT-2 to write a novel

On February the 14th 2019 Open AI posted their peculiar love-letter to the AI community. They shared a 21-minute long blog talking about their new language model named GPT-2, examples of the text it had generated, and a slight warning. The blog ends with a series of possible policy implications and a release strategy.

Durham constabulary  Police

Durham Constabulary chooses STORM Command and Control to deliver effective and efficient public safety services

Sopra Steria is proud to announce the recent signing of a three year contract to provide its STORM Command and Control system to Durham Constabulary.

Photo of a member of the Armed Forces' uniform with a poppy pinned to it

Sopra Steria is proud to re-affirm its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant

In 2013, Steria Ltd pledged to support the armed forces community through the signing of the covenant. It is a pledge that recognises the need to treat those who have served in the armed forces, and their families, with respect and fairness.

Image of a person holding DevOps to illustrate the methodology

Is DevOps dead?

In certain circles, DevOps has become a dirty word – an outdated, ‘of the minute’ trend that was banded about in the tech world without anyone having a solid idea of what it means. It’s very easy to say you’re doing DevOps, but often, everyone is on a different page.

Photo of someone sketching a design

Looking Ahead to Customer Experience Design in 2019

As we get into the new year here’s a look ahead at some things I hope to see more of in Customer Experience Design during 2019.

Photo of attendees at a conference

A more caring conference: ITSMF 2018

The key themes at this year’s ITSMF conference were about ensuring the ongoing relevance of IT Service Management (ITSM) and the importance of the people that work in the profession. These themes were constant throughout the various sessions be they digital transformation of the year or the debate on the future ethics of AI.

Sopra Steria employees teaching young people digital skills

Learning happens best when organisations reach out to new partnership, test their knowledge and challenge their assumptions

Through the techUK Women into IT Group I was fortunate enough to meet Jen Rodvold from Sopra Steria, who alongside a number of passionate colleagues was intent on doing just that. My organisation, ELATT, is a digital skills charity based in Hackney, East London, and works with a group of talented, but often over-looked group of young people and adults, many with special needs and a background of disadvantage. Together with Sopra Steria we are now developing a programme that can help our students become not just confident in themselves but also the diverse and inclusive workforce of tomorrow that tech so desperately needs.

Photo of a traveler in an airport

From East to West – the changing dynamics in retail

Have you come across Zozotown yet? It’s an example of a retail phenomenon that is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in omni-commerce – the dedicated online shopping channel. The business model behind Zozotown – known as Zozo to many of its users – represents a shift towards true unified commerce.

Photo of Sopra Steria employees Shehzad Nagi and Caitlin Toner in front of the Sopra Steria DevOps 2018 Hackathon logo

Sopra Steria collaborates with The Scottish Government for a DevOps Hackathon

Today we are welcoming The Scottish Government Department of Agriculture and the Rural Economy (ARE) to our Edinburgh DigiLab for a DevOps Hackathon.

People rush through a shopping centre with bags of goods bough in retail stores

A customer is for life; not just for the sales

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Pre-Christmas & January sales. The cold, winter months are enlivened in the world of retail with a shopping bonanza for the savvy consumer. These high-profile sales see shoppers in a frenzy as they seek out the best bargains, both online and on the high street.

Photo of public, private and share button's

Five significant public sector trends

We are told that government is transforming itself. The public sector is changing into a ‘public purpose’ sector. More of the service outcomes we expect should be co-produced, across complex delivery chains, which are more connected and collaborative. Success often depends on nudging the behaviours of citizens, communities and businesses.

Photo of the front of a bank, established in 1836

Financial Inclusion, Digital Inclusion and Tech Displacement

In 1999 I worked at a major High Street Bank with the teams who developed Mobile Banking Via SMS  Who would have thought that as a consequence to us thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be cool to get you balance on your mobile phone’ that it would contribute to the decline of the High Street?

Photo of the launch of Smart i3

Sopra Steria Launch Smart i3

This week Sopra Steria launched a new open source intelligence gathering platform, Smart i3, at the Internet Intelligence and Investigations Conference held by the National Police Chiefs Council. As platinum sponsors of the event, which brings together around 350 law enforcement and Government officials, the team hosted a workshop, delivered a key note speech and conducted live demonstrations on the exhibition stand.

Photo of adults using desktop computers

Sopra Steria gets involved in National Get Online Week

Sopra Steria employee volunteers have been at libraries in the London Borough of Harrow this week to help library users learn how to use the internet and technology in their everyday lives, all in support of National Get Online Week, a UK-wide campaign to raise awareness of and take practical action on digital exclusion.

Photo of Sopra Steria employees at Scotsoft 2018

Scotsoft 2018. Smart people, community and trees

Last week I was proud to continue the tradition of Sopra Steria’s support of the Young Software Engineer of the year award, since its inception 20 years ago.

Photo of the Harrow's Heroes logo

Harrow’s Heroes – A look into a brilliant evening

A splendid evening with around 250 people in attendance enjoyed a night of celebration of the volunteering community in the borough of Harrow.  Ray Baker and myself were fortunate enough to share a table with the Leader of the council, Cllr Graham Henson and his wife, and fellow councillor Maxine Henson, amongst others.

BB8 Journey

Journey of BB8 (Part 1)

We all have dreamt of flying, fighting with a lightsabre, and controlling objects with our mind. I was lucky enough to make one of my dreams come true when DigiLab UK went on an exploration journey of brain-computer interfaces.

Photo of two people pushing together a 'Fin' jigsaw piece and a 'Tech' jigsaw piece

FinTech Bites!

On the 19th of September we had our first ‘Fintech Bites’ meetup, hosted at the premises of The IDco, a great new Fintech and Sopra Steria partner that focuses on Open Banking. The main theme was Digital Identities in Financial and Public Sectors. This was a soft launch event, with over 30 Financial Services professionals in attendance, including a number of representatives responsible for Fintech and Innovation from RBS, Lloyds and HSBC.

Photo of the Harrow's Heroes logo

Sopra Steria sponsors Harrow’s Heroes, celebrating the fantastic work of community volunteers

“Harrow’s Heroes” celebrates the hard work, dedication and commitment of local volunteers who make Harrow a special place to live and work. We are delighted to be involved in recognising the hundreds of unsung heroes that are doing so much in their communities and are looking forward to presenting the ‘Volunteer of the year award’ at tonight’s event and we want to wish the best of luck to everyone shortlisted.

Photo of the Arc de Triomphe

The UK Consulting team attend Sopra Steria Consulting University 2018

Last week’s annual Consulting University in Paris was a huge success, with over 1500 Consultants from across Europe in attendance to hear from Executives about our vision for the future. Amongst the UK Consulting community were 20 Junior Consultants from our Graduate Programme. We recognise that our graduates are vital to the future success and the culture of Sopra Steria and we invest in providing them with experiences and networking opportunities that contribute to professional development.

India Foundation

Hope, ambition, dedication. My eye-opening look into the Sopra Steria India Foundation

In late July and early August, my colleague, Jen Rodvold, and I, had the opportunity to visit India for the purpose of seeing first-hand what the Sopra Steria India foundation does.

School students stand in lines in India

How Sustainable Community Impact Projects are Creating Generational Impact: My Week in India

Recently my colleague, Max Barker, and I spent some time in India to visit and film the schools and educational centres Sopra Steria supports, and meet some of the students, teachers, volunteers and recipients of our scholarships.  What I saw was transformational – demonstrable positive impact.

Sandpit

Got a great idea? Come and play in the sandbox!

Today, Industry sandboxes offer a new way forward.  FinTech’s can now develop, test and prove ideas, producing a robust Proof of Concept using an industry sandbox. 

2018 Hackathon

Sopra Steria to host 2 internal hackathons in Edinburgh and Glasgow!

Sopra Steria are hosting 2 internal hackathons this week across our Edinburgh and Glasgow offices where participants will be making use of DevOps tooling.

Photo of a finger pressing the Digital Transformation button

Successful public service transformation – what works and why?

Everyday governments face the question – evolve or transform? Focus on well-defined shifts in ways of working within one department. Or radically transform government through new technology enabled business models.

Photo of an Ipad on a bed of lemons

From Farm to Fork: How Blockchain Will Revolutionize the Way We Eat

When we think of potentially hazardous foods, chicken, pork or perhaps eggs might come to mind- but not lettuce.  Yet just last month in America, this supposedly harmless vegetable left 5 people dead and just under 200 seriously ill. The culprit? Contamination with the deadly E-coli bacteria at some point in the lettuce’s supply chain that, two months on, authorities have still been unable to identify.

Image recreation of large blocks of data

How telcos are turning data into a true business asset

The good news – we have more data than ever. The bad news – we have more data than ever.

Photo of a digital world.

Why telcos are getting smart with their process automation

If you’re a telecoms operator providing services into consumer and business markets, you will know how important customer experience is to your business. Whether you’re providing connectivity (fixed, mobile, converged), unified communications and IT services into Enterprises, or quad-play offerings to consumers, you will know the importance of an increasingly digital experience and efficient and effective processes.

Computer generated light trails to represent fibre optics

3 tips for accelerating digital transformation in telecoms

The telecoms industry is no stranger to change. After all, the leading players in this sector have delivered network connectivity and devices that sit behind many of the world’s game-changing digital innovations.

Photo of a clothes rack in a store

Confronting the M&S challenge – why data is the solution

The impact of digital on the retail sector hit home at the end of May when M&S announced that it was accelerating its digital transformation following plunging profits. That one of the UK’s best-known retail brands had clearly failed to keep up with digital consumer trends may have come as a shock to many. I wasn’t surprised, however. I’ve recently written a paper on this very topic. In ‘Why data is the new retail battleground’ I look at one of the key reasons why traditional retailers are struggling to compete with their digital competitors – data.

Hands in

Community Matters Week at Sopra Steria is here: here’s how (and why) we’re doing it

Each year hundreds of Sopra Steria people support their local communities and local, national and international charities by volunteering and raising money for them. 

Computer generated image of a dashboard

The Promise of Platforms – Joined up outcomes and better value

One of the often-quoted benefits of digital transformation is the improvement in the ways government departments interact with citizens and business. Departments aim to use the same systems and shared data to avoid time consuming and repetitive tasks. But the reality often falls short of expectations. So, in this blog I take a look at why cross-cutting activity is rare and how digital platforms might help.

Image of an AI talking to a human

AI – The control problem

When designing a system to be more intelligent, faster or even responsible for activities which we would traditionally give to a human, we need to establish rules and control mechanisms to ensure that the AI is safe and does what we intend for it to do.

Colin Carmichael

Bridging the gap: how Fintechs and ‘big business’ can work together

Everyone’s talking about Fintechs – but what does ‘Fintech’ really mean?  It’s a generic term that loosely groups a number of innovative technical organisations within Financial Services.

Photo of an AI and human call handler

Google Dupe-lex

Google unveiled an interesting new feature at their I/O conference last week – Duplex.  The concept is this: want to use your Google assistant to make bookings for you but the retailer doesn’t have an online booking system?  Looks like your going to be stuck making a phone call yourself.

Sustainability

Going waste-free

This weekend is Earth Day – a time to highlight global support for improving environmental sustainability and bring together millions of people, cities, and organisations across the world.

Image of Olivia Green's guide to: Computers Powerful Enough to Process all the Information in the Universe and their Real World Potential

Quantum Computers: A Beginner’s Guide

What if you could make a computer powerful enough to process all the information in the universe?

This might seem like something torn straight from fiction, and up until recently, it was. However with the arrival of quantum computing, we are about to make it reality.

Spotlight

Our Apprentices Answer

In an ongoing series, we hear from both our current and past apprentices about their experiences.

Advance  AI

How to keep AI alive when death is inevitable

No matter how safe or fool proof a plan may seem there will always be at least a tiny possibility of error.  AI can’t solve this, but it might be able to do a better job than us. 

Greetings Human

The Geek Shall Inherit

AI has the potential to be the greatest ever invention for humanity.  And it should be for the benefit of all humanity equally, but instead we’re heading towards a particular group, the geeks, who will benefit most from AI.

Sopra Steria Employees with beneficiaries of the Sopra Steria India Foundation (SSIF)

Start with the basics

Tyler is one of Sopra Steria UK’s Volunteers of the Year. As Volunteer of the Year 2017, he travelled to India to visit our international award-winning Community programmes run by our India CSR team.

London

Still making difficult decisions – the Spring Statement

There is an urgent need for a more transparent and robust way of measuring the quality of services provided by the public and private sector.

Jen Rodvold's quote for International Women's day 2018

Gender, AI and automation: How will the next part of the digital revolution affect women?

Automation and AI are already changing the way we work, and there is no shortage of concern expressed in the media, businesses, governments, labour organisations and many others about the resulting displacement of millions of jobs over the next decade.

Talent who can bring new ideas

Why Apprenticeships?

Sopra Steria had been recruiting apprentices since 2012 so the introduction of this levy only enabled us to grow and continue to offer apprenticeships to anyone at any level

A look back at my apprenticeship

I started my apprenticeship at Sopra Steria on March 2016 and looking back on my time, it has been amazing to see where my career path has developed and how I have become more involved in a role I enjoy and am now skilled at.

Employee Experience

Taking a weather check on employee experience

Deciding what technology and process transformation to invest in to enhance the employee experience must go beyond being purely an HR decision.

Image of a quote from Richard Hands on containers.

Containers: Power & Scale

In my last blog post, we looked at the background of Containers. In this piece, we will explore what they can do and their power to deliver modern microservices.

Graphic reading "Forgetting the Unforgettable: The Future of Blockchain in a post GDPR World"

Blockchain in a post GDPR World

Blockchain’s explosive growth has had businesses all over the globe scrambling to invest. But with GDPR fast approaching, how will an unchangeable database cope with the right to be forgotten?

Employee Experience case

Making the case for a better employee experience

A happy employee is a productive employee: one likely to stay with you for the long term. I think we can all agree with that sentiment. But what does it take to make your employees happy?

Quote from Tyler Bennet that reads "Starting this journey, I did not realise the sheer volume of good we are achieving..."

Trip of a lifetime

Tyler is one of Sopra Steria UK’s Volunteers of the Year. As Volunteer of the Year 2017, he will travel to India to visit our international award-winning Community programmes run by our India CSR team. Each year, Sopra Steria India CSR programmes puts around 70,000 children through school, while also providing free lunches, access to drinking water and toilet facilities, and a huge number of other educational and social benefits.

People partaking in a hothouse in one of Sopra Steria's DigiLabs

A sneak peek inside a hothouse sprint week extravaganza

Most public and private sector leaders are acutely aware that they are supposed to be living and breathing digital: working smarter, serving people better, collaborating more intuitively. So why do front line realities so often make achieving a state of digital nirvana feel like just that: an achievable dream? The world is much messier and more complex for most organisations than they dare to admit, even internally. Achieving meaningfully digital transformation, with my staff/ customers/ deadlines/ management structure/ budgets? It’s just not realistic.

Containers

Containers: Why the hype?

Now you might be wondering ‘why all the hype’ about containers?  The truth is you probably got to this blog from a container without even knowing it.

Graphic with a quote from Robert McLaughlan that reads "My volunteer work encourages students to learn more about science and technology subjects."

Volunteer of the Year

Robert is one of Sopra Steria UK’s Volunteers of the Year. As Volunteer of the Year 2017, he will travel to India next week to visit our international award-winning Community programmes run by our India CSR team. Each year, Sopra Steria India CSR programmes puts around 70,000 children through school, while also providing free lunches, access to drinking water and toilet facilities, and a huge number of other educational and social benefits.

Lean Tea – A new Agile Retrospective meeting format

Many of our readers and subscribers – especially those involved in Agile software development – will be familiar with Lean Coffee ™ meetings where participants get together, add potential agenda items to a Kanban board, and then discuss these items in turn, starting with the one with most votes. This is a great meeting format but if you have a ready-made batch of discussion points or important issues that need dealt with then why not cut to the chase? To that end I devised the ‘Lean Coffee with Cream’; but the introduction of cream – i.e. pre-prepared agenda items – breaks the trademarked Lean Coffee model, and I’m a typically British tea drinker, too, so I’ve decided to rename it the Lean Tea meeting.

two AI

Programmed Perspective; Empathy > Emotion for Digital Assistants

When we talk about personal assistants, we want them to know when we need pure expediency from a conversation, when we want expansion on details, and the different way each one of us likes to be spoken to.

Photo of a group of people with their arms around each other, stood in a line

How the Equality Act 2010 affects you

Most of us use online services such as banking, travel and social media everyday with little thought as to how we can access or use them. However, this isn’t the case for many users, including employees.

Graphic of a diverse group of people

Accessible Innovation

Innovation is a word that cannot be missed in any part of our lives today. Technological advancement has touched the lives of people in the most remote parts of the world – we are all better connected, better aware and better resourced. Who could have imagined touch-based devices could become every day commodities in practically every corner of the globe! Innovation has the power of true societal transformation. Accessibility is one topic which has been affected directly by such trends in technology. For example, hand-held devices have heralded as a game changer for disabilities including visual impairment. The rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) gives more hope to disabled users to be empowered by technology.

Photo of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster in London at night

Shifting from analogue to digital public services – citizens want joined up public services

I highlighted the positive view citizens have about digital public services in my last blog. And their appetite for more. I now want to address some of their concerns and why doubt the ability of government to continue to deliver.

Graphic of a human telling an AI they cannot play

The Apple of my AI – GDPR for Good

Our common perception of machine learning and AI is that it needs an immense amount of data to work. That data is collected and annotated by humans or IoT type sensors to ensure the AI has access to all the vast information it needs to make the correct decisions. With new regulations to protect stored personal data like GDPR, does this mean AI will be at a disadvantage from the headache on restrictions for IoT and data collection? Maybe not!

Photo of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London

Citizens can feel the benefits of digital public services but are concerned about the ability of government to keep pace with their needs

As companies have transformed themselves with digital technologies, citizens are calling on governments to follow suit.

By digitising, the public sector can provide services that meet the evolving needs of citizens, even in a period of tight budgets and complex challenges.

Graphic of a hand over a holographic image of cubes with the International Symbol of Access (ISA), also known as the (International) Wheelchair Symbol, on them

Make way for accessibility

I recently came across this fascinating report on the help extended by a computer scientist for a little girl with severe memory loss. It is an extraordinary example of the efforts of an individual in addressing an accessibility problem very effectively. Close on the heels of this story, there was the big announcement of a new Microsoft app being released for public use called “Seeing AI”. This app is perhaps one of the most intuitive tools out there for people with visual impairment and has been built with a lot of thought. I remember following this project a couple of years ago and wondering if only such large scale developments can bring about a change, or is it a good idea to keep working  on humble ideas, while not holding our breath for one big change to improve our lives. In reality, we need both just now – big technical corporations investing heavily in researching on ground breaking solutions, as well as small measures from individuals giving their best shot in ensuring someone feels comfortable in their everyday life.

Photo of people going over data generated reports

Data, consumers and trust: the quiet crisis

Building trust-based relationships with clients has always been important for successful business practice.  As the global data pool grows and consumer fears over personal privacy increase, it may become make-or-break. Digilab’s Olivia Green investigates.

Photo of people sat around a table using digital technologies

In pursuit of frictionless digital engagement with HR

What do I mean by frictionless engagement? And why is it relevant to today’s HR function? People like to book their holidays, make doctors’ appointments, shop and bank online. There’s no real need to talk with a travel agent, a GP’s receptionist, a shop assistant or a busy bank cashier – unless you want to, that is. This is the sort of ‘frictionless’ world that a large proportion of the modern workforce is used to – where everything is automated, clever and personalised.

Photo of a chef

Ready Steady Cook

Two from our February 2017 Graduates cohort discuss their recent Graduate Project using Chef Technology to solve the problem of setting up a machine (laptop) adhering to company standards. Their aim was to introduce a working example of DevOps and learn more about that sphere. This post talks about the problem they sought to address using Chef, what DevOps is and the experience they have gained from their Graduate Project.

Morgan Korchi and Ben Gilburt attend Web Summit 2017

AI, VR and the societal impact of technology: our takeaways from Web Summit 2017

Together with my Digital Innovation colleague Morgan Korchia, I was lucky enough to go to Web Summit 2017 in Lisbon – getting together with 60,000 other nerds, inventors, investors, writers and more. Now that a few weeks have passed, we’ve had time to collect our thoughts and reflect on what turned out to be a truly brilliant week.

Photo of the Live Hive Inspect and Connect logo

Have you heard the latest buzz from our DigiLab Hackathon winners?

The innovative LiveHive project was crowned winner of the Sopra Steria UK “Hack the Thing” competition which took place last month.

Sopra Steria DigiLab hosts quarterly Hackathons with a specific challenge, the most recent named – Hack the Thing. Whilst the aim of the hack was sensor and IoT focused, the solution had to address a known sustainability issue. The LiveHive team chose to focus their efforts on monitoring and improving honey bee health, husbandry and supporting new beekeepers.

Graphic of people's digital selves in the internet

A Digital Future for Joined Up Local Services

We now view the world through a digital lens, with social media, smartphones and the internet creating a complex future that we must all embrace to survive. We see disruptive technologies, not just changing, but in many instances totally replacing the previous world order. For councils this is leading not only to an immediate need to adapt the way essential services are delivered, but it also raises additional questions about how councils provide community leadership, local democracy, economic growth and cultural change in a constantly and rapidly changing environment.

Line of people linking arms looking at digital

Are your HR processes truly fit for purpose?

As digital transformation programmes begin to make an impact, new IT service delivery models, such as cloud, will increasingly be the norm. Yet while employees themselves enjoy a highly connected life outside work, too often their expectations for a connected digital experience in the workplace are not being met.

Photo of a group of people using mobile technologies, including iPhone and iPad

Relevant or obsolete? The role of HR in the 21st century

The workplace is changing rapidly. Digital is transforming both how employees work and the way in which they expect to engage with their employers’ HR services. At Sopra Steria, we’ve recently partnered with Management Today on a survey that looked at the extent to which companies are using digital (data analytics, artificial intelligence, automation) to deliver a more consumer-like employee experience. And the findings don’t bode particularly well for the future of the HR function.

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Using digital technologies to address complex problems – what can we learn from other governments?

It goes without saying that governments face incredibly complex challenges. Sustaining cohesive communities in the face of demographic, economic, security and other challenges will test the ingenuity of politicians and civil servants.

Graphic of a school of fish swimming in the shape of a shark

Are we truly working together?

Government wants to work smarter with citizens and deliver high quality end-user services that provide transparency to the end user through omni-channel and cross-organisational working.

Graphic of a manufacturing assembly line that utilises robot and human workers

Don’t fear the RPA!

The Digital Revolution is upon us and the reality is that it will bring change we simply cannot afford to ignore. Humankind has constantly striven to find new, better ways of living and working.

Photo of the British Police Symphony Orchestra (BPSO) performing at Symphony Hall, Birmingham for the annual Proms Night Spectacular concert.

How many French Horn players does it take to change a light bulb?

I’m getting used to this kind of orchestral humour…!

It’s been ten years since I started working with the British Police Symphony Orchestra (BPSO) and twice that time that Sopra Steria has been sponsoring their annual Proms Night Spectacular concert. On Saturday 2 December, we’ll be at Symphony Hall, Birmingham again supporting this incredible amateur orchestra and enjoying a fantastic evening.

Photo of a Sopra Steria employee helping an elderly lady at the digital skills surgery

Digital Inclusion: You hold the keys to IT literacy

During Sopra Steria’s Community Matters Week, held every October, my colleagues and I used our company volunteering time to provide an IT Gadget Surgery at Pinner Library in the London Borough of Harrow. The objective was to share basic IT skills with members of the local community. When we arrived at the library we were greeted with open arms by the library staff – some of whom had already brought in their own laptops so we could help them – as well as regular library users!

Photo of the DigiInventorsChallenge judging panel

The #DigiInventorsChallenge finalists face the Dragons: rather than breathing fire, we were blown away!

In a Scottish competition, The #DigiInventorsChallenge in association with Andy Murray and the Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI), sponsored by Sopra Steria , six teams involving more than 30 teenagers across Scotland were shortlisted to compete in the final of the #DigiInventorsChallenge 2017.

Photo of the 31 teenagers who took part in the #DigiInventorsBootcamp at CitizenM in Glasgow

Game, set, match!

Off we go… 3 workshops, 31 teenagers, 100 post-its, 60 Sharpies, bundles of energy, and ideas and innovation to bounce off the wall.

Wow, it was a great day at #DigiInventorsBootcamp at CitizenM in Glasgow, the final stage in the #DigiInventorsChallenge, in association with Andy Murray and the Digital Health & Care Institute, to create a new digital health innovation.

A photo of a microphone on stage

How Queen can teach us about Customer Expectations in the Digital Age

“I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now!”.

Little did Freddie Mercury realise back in 1989 how prophetic his lyrics would be in describing the future of customer expectations. Although it’s likely that this subject wasn’t at the forefront of his thinking as Brian May penned the track, it did touch on the themes of ambition and social upheaval, both of which are highly relevant in today’s complex and constantly changing service landscape.

Photo of an unused path onto an empty beach

Accessibility: The path less trodden

“Diversity is the world’s biggest asset and inclusivity is our biggest challenge.”

These are the words of the renowned design researcher Jutta Treviranus, and this powerful thought was shared at the recent Accessibility Scotland 2017 conference in Edinburgh. The event was a brilliant congregation of accessibility experts, enthusiasts and advocates. The topics ranged from the fantastic new innovations from the likes of Microsoft, to accessible ideas in gaming technology. Many insightful thoughts were exchanged in great spirit, making it a highly engaging event.

Concept graphic of a hand using a smartphone with waves of blue light flowing over it

When fast gets very fast: the dizzying pace of technology in the private sector and what this means for the public sector

In recent blogs I described why I think organisations are compelled to introduce new business models due to intense competition. And this competition is accelerating because of global markets and the introduction of new technology.

Graphic of a hand holding a computer, phone and tablet

Developing a digital culture to meet citizen expectations in Local Government services

A recent conversation with a Local Government IT manager led me to consider again what ‘digital’ means and what digital transformation means to the way that we deliver local services.

Photo of a police officer looking out over a crowd

If you’re not assessing you’re guessing: the value of an evidence based approach to strategic resource allocation

There are signs at my gym, that say ‘If you’re not assessing you’re guessing’. It’s something that is easy to ignore in your personal life, but in a business context measurement is becoming mission critical. At the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales (PSAEW) Annual Conference last week, there’s been considerable talk about stretched resources – starting with the opening speech from the President of the Association, Gareth Thomas.

Photo of people walking over a road crossing.

Reinventing business models: what can the public sector learn from digital disruption of business?

In my last blog I wrote about how government is challenged by technological change and globalisation. I now want to explore what governments might learn from the experience of the private sector.

Photo of Big ben and houses of parliament in London, UK

The world is still flat: how economic change is straining our ability to remake public services

I want to talk to you about what is arguably the greatest domestic policy challenge facing governments over the next decade.

How to create the conditions for a sustained transformation in our public services in a way consistent with the fundamental values that underpinned their creation.

Photo of a person sat down with their laptop on their lap

Regulation and compliance: the new certainties in life

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that ‘in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes’. But in these more modern times, especially for financial services organisations – we should perhaps add ‘regulation and compliance’ to the list. In 2018, a wave of new regulation is being introduced – and one of the most far reaching is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Photo of 3 Sopra Steria employees using comic foregrounds

Everything is connected. Don’t innovate in isolation

…These are the words Alberta Soranzo left the audience with as she drew the final keynote speech of this year’s UX Scotland conference to a close.

Graphic of a hand using chalk to draw light bulbs on a chalkboard

Finding 10,000 ways that don’t work: what government can learn from business

Failure is not something to be embarrassed about. As Thomas Edison said about his many attempts at creating a lightbulb, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work”. Then, of course, he found a way that did work and that is all anyone remembers.

Graphic of a desktop pc, laptop, smartphone and tablet on a desk

The value of consistency in design

At Sopra Steria, the core of my role is to make everything that’s designed more consistent.

All our outputs are designed in some way, whether it’s research, documentation, bids, UI designs, diagrams, presentations or social media. Everything that’s seen by other people is part of our brand, all holding a consistent type of messaging (written or otherwise). This is especially important to consider when we are presenting to a large audience, within key sales or when we’re working with our client’s brands.

Happy kid playing with toy robot at home. Innovation technology and success concept

STEAM not just STEM: how can we encourage more creativity?

Creative ideas take time. They are often generated after an initial period of thinking deeply about the problem, considering different ways to frame the problem, and exploring different possible solutions. Sir James Dyson developed over 5,000 prototypes before he patented his vacuum cleaner. And Walt Disney animated cartoons for nearly two decades before his first big success, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Concept graphic of chaotic shapes and colours

Information Chaos: the next big business challenge

Most organisations now recognise that managing their information assets is just as important as managing their physical, human, and financial assets. So why are so many still drowning in a flood of unmanaged content and information chaos?

Multiple bees working on a honeycomb

I’m a beekeeper – what’s your super power?

On Friday 23rd of June I used my Sopra Steria Volunteering Day to support the Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA) at the Royal Highland Show. The SBA was setup in 1912 as the national beekeeping body in Scotland. Sopra Steria provides me with one day’s paid volunteering, as part of our Community commitments, so with the SBA being a charity I decided to use my volunteering day to help.

Photo of Big Ben and Houses of parliament at dusk, London, UK

Digital in Government: the next step is true transformation

Have you recently tried to access a government service and wondered why it can’t be as simple and easy as Amazon? Were you frustrated, like me, when required to print, complete and return a physical form rather than fill in a pre-populated online one?

Graphic for the Digital Health & Care Institute, and Sopra Steria

Judging the young Inventors for #DigiInventorsChallenge in association with Andy Murray and the Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI)

There has been huge excitement in the Sopra Steria Scotland camp recently as we eagerly opened the entries sent to myself, Emily Walters and Graeme Harvey who were picked to be part of the judging panel for the Inaugural Digital Health and Care Challenge 2017.

Photo of London, UK. Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

Government needs to invest and build digital skills across government – the view of civil servants

Having the right skills and capacities to hand is pivotal to the effective digital transformation of government. For the past three years, we have asked civil servants to tell us how government is adapting to changing digital skills needs as part of our Government Digital Trends Survey.

Concept graphic of a retail store embedded with technology

2020: Retail as a Service?

Digital disruption is typically seen as a form of “waterfall innovation” – where a new entrant unseats legacy players by adopting a radical new approach to service delivery using technology (like Amazon leveraging its own cloud based e-commerce platform capabilities to beat incumbent Retailers on convenience and price). Yet a challenge to this view is that such disruptors are actually applying a form of “agile innovation”, where through incrementally developing their own live services they gradually transform and re-shape a market – a detailed look at Amazon finds its approach to customer service improvement is not disruptive but iterative; where over the last ten to fifteen years it’s used its own net revenues for R&D activities (not for short-term profit) to continually drive massive grow.

Graphic of 3 years of government digital trends

The journey towards government digital transformation: three years of data highlight the scale of change

Digital transformation is the buzz phrase of the moment – the only way to stay relevant in 2017. In January 2013, the government gave itself 400 days to transform 25 major services, making them simpler, clearer and faster to use. Fast forward to February 2017 and the priority is even more ambitious – to change the culture and ways of working of the public sector. With technology as an enabler.