Public Funds in the UK: Open Source for Document and Content Management? – London 07/01/10 1

Is Open Source a viable way for the public sector to contain its IT costs?  Government policy is gradually becoming more favourable to open source (  Many commentators identify open source as a way to contain spiralling project costs (e.g.  Yet much of this discussion is driven by underlying agendas: it contains as much disinformation as realistic appraisal of the capabilities of open source software.

The BCS Open Source Specialist Group is organising an event to look at the reality behind the rhetoric.  Responding to the challenge in the above Guardian article, we aim to bring together a group of information management practitioners and vendors to discuss their experience of web and document management in the public sector.  The event will consist of a series of talks, panel sessions and open discussion of the challenges of web and document management in the public sector, and the ways in which open source software might be suitable for addressing these challenges.

The event will be held at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA ( on Thursday 7th January, 2010, from 10.00 to 17.30.

There will be no fee to participate in this event and a free buffet and refreshments will be available during the day.

To book a place to attend this event please contact Mark Elkins via


10.00     Introduction

10.15     Mike Davis (Ovum)

10.45     Matt Hamilton (Netsight)

11.15     break

11.30    John Newton (Alfresco)

12.00    Mike Grafham (Deloitte)

12.30    Jon Marks (LBi)

13.00    lunch

13.45    Danny Budzak (Newham case study)

14.15    John Lindsay (Kingston University)

14.45    Francois Mounier (Camden case study)

15.15    break

15.30    Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer (Hippo)

16.00    Janus Boye (J.Boye)

16.30    break

16.45    Panel Session (all speakers)


Mike Davis is a Senior Analyst with Ovum covering the breadth of Information Management technologies, with a particular focus on information discovery and access.  As a consultant, researcher and accomplished speaker, Mike’s analysis and strategic advice is highly respected in both blue chip businesses and large public sector organisations across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Since joining Ovum Mike has established himself as a key influencer and commentator in the areas of Content Management and Information Access, through reports, speaking and consultancy.  Before Ovum, he worked at Butler Group for six years leading the Knowledge Management and Public Sector practices, developing particular expertise in the areas of Enterprise Portals, Business Intelligence, Compliance, and Records Management.

Mike’s career prior to becoming an analyst was principally in the UK National Health Service, but he also spent periods as an IT consultant and as the IT Manager for an International Chartered Institute.  During his seventeen years in the NHS, Mike was both an operational manager for community health care services, and latterly an Information Services Director, acting as a key advisor on regional and national initiatives.

Mike is frequent speaker at conferences and Master Classes across Europe and in Asia Pacific, and provides comments for both mainstream media such as the Financial Times and CNBC, and the specialist computing press.  Mike gained an MBA in 1998; he describes himself as a strategist with a passion for management, and flair for information.

Matt Hamilton is Technical Director of Netsight Internet Solutions a Plone development company based in Bristol, UK.  He is generally involved in Plone consulting on scalability, authentication and integration of Plone in the enterprise.  He organised the Plone performance sprint in Bristol in 2008.  Matt served on the founding board of the Plone Foundation, and is currently serving in his third term on the board.

John Newton is CTO and Chairman of Alfresco, an open source content management system founded in 2005 and now the largest private open source company.  John has spent the last 25 years building information management software, including co-founding Documentum, the enterprise content management company in 1990.  John started his career as one of the original engineers at Ingres and ultimately ran the database group.  John was also one of the first entrepreneurs in residence in Europe at Benchmark Capital.  John graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley.

Mike Grafham has worked in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry since 2001, and is currently a Manager in Deloitte’s ECM consultancy practice.  He has experienced a wide range of ECM engagements in both the public and private sectors, using both commercial and open source products.  Most recently, Mike has been working on an open source WCMS implementation with one client, alongside a commercial WCMS implementation with another, and will be able to provide his views from this unique perspective.

Jon Marks has been working in the Web industry since 1995.  He has been directly involved in over 50 CMS implementations including systems such as Vignette, Interwoven, Tridion, MOSS, Fatwire, MediaSurface and EPiServer, as well as many search engines and analytics suites.  He is particularly interested in the vendor selection and partner selection process, and how to build a long and trusting relationship between the parties involved.  Jon is currently Head of Development for LBi UK (

Danny Budzak has been working with technologies since they were ‘new’. He started by building community information databases across a library network in east London using videotext.  He then became one of the country’s first local authority web editors and won a New Statesmen New Media award in 1999.  For the past six years he’s been working as an independent consultant in information management and governance. He helped to build an open source community history site –

This is using the Drupal content management system and enables people to publish stories, photographs and comments about local history.  The site has been live for 18 months and has over 400 users.  Users can tag their content using either a controlled vocabulary, or can add their own tags.  The use of tagging enables content to be collated around time, place and subject and helps the users see new patterns in the information.  Within the Drupal system, the tagging is also supporting the overall information architecture of the site, helping to create dynamic a-z lists and directories to further enhance search and retrieval.

He is now working on a second project, North East Stories – – a local history project in the north east of England. Danny continues to be fascinated and infuriated by technologies, people and systems in equal measure and records his thoughts at

John Lindsay is Reader in Information Systems Design at Kingston University.  He has been following the adventures of public sector development of electronic governance for about thirty years and has continually been puzzled by the sorts of decisions which are taken by a broad range of interested parties, particularly those with a professional obligation as well as those of a political, economic, social and technological bent.

Part of the story might be told in the introductory paragraph for the meeting, “containing IT costs”? Is this really what is driving thinking?  If we are trying to make sense of technology and its social application to government, what sort of concepts and methods do we need? Open source is one of these, which is not the same as open access, nor does it mean free. Instead what we might have is a fundamental change in the obligations of citizenship?

Francois Mounier. As Integration and development manager at London borough of Camden, Francois is the technical lead on many of the transformation agenda programmes within Camden including e-channel and integration strands.  He has been evangelising the use of open standards within Camden as one of the critical success factors of current and future developments. He started his career as a developer with a background in web analytics.

Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer co-founded Hippo with Arjé Cahn & Jeroen Verberg.  He founded Hippo in 1999 to help organizations & governments leverage open source Content Management and Portal technologies to manage and access information, protect sensitive data, share knowledge, optimize collaboration and reduce operational costs.  Hippo was recognized by Deloitte in its Fast 500 for 2007, 2008 and 2009.  To keep up with the rapid expansion, Hippo now has over 50 employees located in its European headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and North American headquarters in San Francisco, California.  Travelling between between the Hippo offices & conferences around the globe, you can always find Tjeerd carrying around his kite-surfing gear to try & find new undiscovered spots with lots of wind.

Janus Boye is founder and managing director of J.Boye (  He is a busy and productive author, covering topics such as intranet, CMS, and web strategy, and has contributed to several CMS Watch reports, including The Web CMS Report, Enterprise Portals Report and Enterprise Social Software and Collaboration Report.  Janus is a frequent speaker at industry events and the chairman of the internationally recognised J.Boye Conferences held each year in Aarhus, Denmark, and Philadelphia, US.

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