SBA advises on Global IT Strategy

CABI is a not-for-profit organization established by a United Nations treaty-level agreement between 46 member countries. Headquartered in the UK, CABI operates in over 70 countries, helping to develop agricultural biosciences and enhance global food security. It is one of the world's largest publishers of agricultural bioscience research, holds a globally important collection of fungi, is a world authority on crucial issues such as plant health and invasive species, and delivers information and research capabilities into rural areas all over the world.

As such CABI has some very unusual requirements of IT, both to manage millions of published research summaries, and to enable its people working in some of the most rural and remote locations in developing nations. CABI's IT needs are a far cry from the everyday needs of most businesses, and meeting those needs is a significant challenge which must be addressed to help CABI deliver better agricultural and plant knowledge around the world, in rural offices, fields and marketplaces, particularly in places where food shortages and hunger are a day to day reality.

It may come as a surprise then to learn that the IT consultancy appointed to help CABI meet its global technology challenges is based not in New York or London, but in the sleepy hamlet of Surby, just outside Port Erin, Isle of Man. SBA Ltd is developing an Information Management and IT Strategy for CABI to better enable its global workforce and exploit its information assets.

SBA's Steve Burrows says "it's really exciting for us to get involved in a project of this nature; whilst part of CABI operates as a publishing business, with a strong focus on digital publishing, they have a very widely dispersed workforce. This, and the specialist scientific work they perform, means that this assignment has meant devising strategy which is quite different from that needed for most commercial businesses".

“We chose to work with SBA Ltd because they very quickly understood our needs as a complex and diverse organisation, and were able to bring many years of relevant strategic IT experience to the project.   The strong focus on collaborative working and remote user enablement was a key draw for us, given the geographic spread of our staff, and we are looking forward to working more efficiently and effectively with the technology that best meets our needs, “ commented Andrea Powell, CABI’s Executive Director for Publishing.

Steve Burrows is SBA's principal consultant. As one of only a handful of people worldwide qualified both as a Chartered Director and a Chartered IT Professional he is one of Britain's leading authorities on the exploitation of IT in Business.