A Brief History of the UKCeB
The origins of UKCeB go back over 20 years and, as a not-for-profit membership organisation, it has evolved and developed to reflect changing member needs and advances in technologies.
UKCeB serves the needs of Team Defence - the combination of Industry and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Its mission is 'to transform secure information sharing for through life collaboration in defence acquisition and support'.
With ever-closer collaborative working in Team Defence, the role of UKCeB's in providing a forum for Industry and the MOD continues to be relevant and valued.
Summary of UKCeB Value Proposition today
In 1987, the US Department of Defense (DoD) introduced its strategy for the Computerisation of Acquisition and Logistics Support (CALS). A US CALS Industry Steering Group was set up with UK Industry participation. Within the UK, the Trade Associations set up the United Trade Associations CALS Committee and a year later the London Chamber of Commerce set up the UK CALS Industry Steering Group.
In 1991, UK groups met together under Lord Chalfont (Chairman Vickers Engineering & Shipbuilding) and gave birth to the UK CALS Industry Council (UKCIC).
Under its General Manager and later Director General, David Froome, UKCIC took a leading role the development of CALS, setting up the European CALS Industry Group, the International CALS Congress and the NATO Industry Advisory Group. It led Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) study tours of industrialists to the US in 1994 and Japan in 1996.
At home, in 1992, UKCIC adopted the annual Advanced Procurement and Logistic Support (APLS) conference as its own formal annual conference, at the QEII Conference Centre. Steering Committees and Working Groups were all established in the early years, and in 1997, the highly successful Industry Forums started providing CALS experience visits to companies. A CALS Awareness Course was run regularly in London at University College London (UCL), with well over 100 people attending the 5-day training.
Guidance papers, circulars and newsletters provided the main communication channels and in 1997 the UKCIC website was set up, which included a members' section.
Throughout all these early developmental years, UKCIC relied upon a band of enthusiastic and dedicated part time volunteers, coordinated, persuaded and cajoled by David Froome, the only staff member of UKCIC. The Mission in 1994 was for UKCIC to be the single co-ordinated focus for CALS in the UK to:
Most observers at the time judged it was extremely successful.
By 1999, the image of CALS - Computerisation of Acquisition and Logistics Support - was transforming. The UKCIC Council agreed to a change of name to the UK Council for Electronic Business (UKCeB) with its stated mission to 'encourage and assist UK industry to benefit from the adoption of full electronic business including CALS-like practices'.
Photo: Outside the Bungalow (left to right) - Patrick Curry (MOD), Sue Russell (UKCeB Secretariat), John Cole (AgustaWestland), Simon Dunford (Rolls-Royce), Andy King (MOD) and Robert Shields (BAE Systems).
The Bungalow was on the Rolls-Royce Filton site and was UKCeB's office for 2001 - 2007. As can be seen, it had a magnificent magnolia tree!
Throughout its life UKCeB (and UKCIC) has been linked with both industry and government, with a majority of initial funding coming from the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI). They sponsored the publication of 'The CALS Executive Guide' and 'The CALS Implementation Guide', authored by UKCIC members. Much of the content of these is as relevant today as when published in 1997. They also sponsored the development of the e-Business Assessment Tool (eBAT), started in 1997 and formally launched with a press conference in 2001.
The DTI support for UKCeB continued with the funding of the Practical eBusiness Leadership (PeBL) scheme which aimed to lead the way for organisations to improve their competitiveness using the eBAT suite of tools. A project office, collocated with UKCeB was set up and PeBL was launched by the Minister for Trade & Industry in 2002.
However, over time the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been the government department that UKCeB is most closely associated with. The origins are perhaps in early 1996 with a MoD and UKCIC combined top-level seminar on 'MoD and Industry in the Information Society', whose 33-star membership identified 6 key issues for resolution by a Joint Working Group.
At this time, regular meetings were initiated between the Chairman of UKCIC and the Chief of Defence Procurement to further CALS and e-Business. Meanwhile the Joint Working Group reported back in 1997 with the Industry & MoD Programme for the Acceleration of CALS Today (IMPACT). UKCIC and MoD agreed to implement the Programme with a Joint CALS Task Force (JCTF), resident in Abbey Wood, which was superseded 2 years later with the Joint Enterprise Integration Task Force (JEIT). With full-time members of Industry and MoD working together in one team, some real progress was made on electronic connectivity, sharing of defence databases and resolution of security issues.
In late 2001 the coincidence of the change of Director General and the dissolution of the JEIT gave an opportunity for the collation of a full-time team with the new UKCeB headquarters. This was achieved when Phil Cheesman occupied 'The Bungalow' on the Filton site of Rolls-Royce together with the five member strong UKCeB Task Force. It was home to a mature magnolia which had spectacular blossom in spring!
One of the main products of the Task Force was 'The DMZ Program' which spawned the publication of 'A Framework for Secure Collaboration' in 2003 and the establishment of the Transatlantic Secure Collaboration Program (TSCP). The work of TSCP was managed under separate governance and is worthy of its own history, being well-support by Industry on an international stage with involvement and support from MOD. (www.tscp.org)
John Cole took over as UKCeB Director General in 2002 and, recognizing the strong focus on defence and the demise of PeBL, introduced another shift in the UKCeB Strategy under a revised mission 'to accelerate secure information sharing to support collaboration in defence acquisition'. A new mission strap-line of 'Leadership in Collaboration' was used to underpin the UKCeB logo.
In 2005, Steve Shepherd became Executive Director. UKCeB continued to work at The Bungalow until it was bulldozed in 2007 as part of site improvements at Rolls-Royce Filton site and became a car park!
UKCEB photo (around 2005?) in the offices at the Bungalow (from left to right) - Steve Shepherd, Colin Jones (Rolls-Royce), Andy Voysey (BAE Systems), Robert Shields (BAE Systems) and Adrian Partridge (AgustaWestland).
UKCeB moved its current office (see photo below) within the Briarlands Office Park, Rudgeway, just off the A38 north of Bristol. This is convenient and accessible for Team Defence meetings.
A small magnolia has been planted close to the new UKCeB office at Briarlands in fond memory of the magnificent specimen at the Bungalow!
UKCeB continues to strive to serve its membership in a proactive and representative manner.
This article was initiated by Robert Shields a former Task Force Leader of UKCeB. Both Robert and current UKCeB staff would appreciate any feedback - please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.