The London 2012 Olympics is going to be the highest profile IT project in the UK next year.
The IT team at the London Organising Committee (Locog) are at the heart of the project – ably assisted by the Games’ key suppliers – and are responsible for setting up and supporting the entire IT infrastructure. This is no ordinary IT implementation – budgets cannot be over-spent, and the Olympics opening ceremony can’t be put back if the technology isn’t quite ready on time.
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“You learn how much you can do in a short space of time if you have the right focus,” says London 2012 CIO Gerry Pennell. He cites the challenge of “managing resources against the fixed amount of time we have left” as the one thing that might keep him awake at night between now and next summer.
You need a strong team of people to make that happen – 300 of them in fact, at the head of an IT organisation that will number 5,000 during the Games itself, when you include supplier staff and 2,500 volunteers. Not only will they have helped to build and manage the servers, PCs, networks, and applications required to run the Olympics – but they will have to decommission most of them and switch them all off afterwards. It’s a huge, challenging and unique task.
Doesn’t that sound like the sort of profile and experience that would fit well into your IT department?
Well, those 300 IT professionals are going to be looking for a job once the Games are over.
Pennell says that his team has particular skills in project management, commercial supplier management, technical architecture and operational service management (they leave the coding to the suppliers – sound familiar?).
A formal job assistance scheme is being put in place by Locog – called Beyond 2012 – which is going to talk to organisations like London’s Tech City start-ups, UK Trade & Investment, and future sporting events such as the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, in the hope of finding roles for some of those 300 people.
But surely the UK IT community can help? The list of skills cited by Pennell include many of those that come up on every list of skills shortages – they’re part of the modern, multi-sourced IT team, comfortable managing resources both in-house and externally, conversant in IT architecture and service delivery.
If you think you’re likely to have job opportunities later next year, let me know and I can put you in touch with the people at London 2012 IT to see what you, and they, have to offer.
The Olympics IT team has plenty of challenges between now and the Games – their last challenge will be finding a new job. How about having an Olympian IT professional in your midst?