Why does UK add pain with ECDL time limit?
With the widespread adoption of the computer skills certification programme, the European computer driving licence (ECDL), in the public sector and the global aspirations of the brand in the form of the international computer driving licence (ICDL), there is evidence of one British disease.
This is where we demonstrate our enthusiasm for a concept by embellishing it in a way that adds complexity or inflicts pain, while ignoring the bemused expressions of our more enlightened foreign friends.
While browsing ICDL websites, I could not find any reference to a time constraint associated with the achievement of the ECDL. On contacting the Dublin offices of ECDL I was told that the "norm" in Europe is not to have a time constraint.
Why then does the British Computer Society feel a time constraint is necessary? Is it of the opinion that UK students will gain moral standing from the extra rigour?
Does it not feel that this constitutes a form of discrimination? Is there a commercial motive behind the imposition of the stricture? Does it feel these public bodies can easily cope with any resourcing impact as a result of the constraint? Does it feel that students from other countries need more leniency?
Phil Collins, IHC readiness PM, NHS
Why do IT workers have to wear a suit and tie?
In response to Emma Wilson's letter "Shirt and tie tip is no use to female IT workers" (Computer Weekly, 11 January), I hate wearing a suit and tie whether it is for a job interview, at work, or anywhere. That is not to say go to an interview in scruffy clothes - be smart, clean and tidy.
Why should IT workers, male or female, be made or strongly encouraged to wear a suit and tie, especially when it comes to IT work such as server builds/ relocation, tracing cabling or moving equipment. Obviously be smart when visiting clients.
Within an IT environment it should be "smart but casual", ie casual jeans or trousers, jumper or t-shirt and dark trainers or smart shoes.
Government failing to manage documents
In response to the article "Socitm warns that councils' IT systems are not ready for Freedom of Information Act", (Computer Weekly, 11 January), absolutely right! Most local authorities do not have the appropriate systems in place to meet all the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. Sadly, they are not the only ones.
As reported in the national press in December, the Cabinet Office has conducted a mass e-mail purge, instructing civil servants to delete any e-mails over three months old and is shredding more paper-based documents than ever before. It does make you wonder at the astonishing lack of planning. Or is it a full-scale cover-up?
All public sector bodies affected by the act have had four years to prepare for it, yet they have clearly failed to appreciate the role that technology could play in the battle to manage hard- and soft-copy documents.
The government is criticised for spending millions on ineffective technology projects, but it consistently fails to invest in systems that will automate time-consuming manual processes. Where is the logic?
Liz Maloney, UK managing director, Hummingbird
Integration does not have to be expensive
I read with interest the article on computerweekly.com headlined "IT integration projects 'a challenge', says study". This stated that companies are prepared to invest in integration technologies but are unable to find a satisfactory way to integrate legacy systems with new online developments.
Integration is not just an issue in the private sector. The government is aiming to have all local councils provide their services electronically by the end of 2005. We recently surveyed almost 250 of the 442 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales and the results clearly showed that after resistance to cultural change (47%), the biggest barrier to achieving e-government targets is integration with existing systems (24%).
Many councils which have installed customer relationship management packages to facilitate contact centres or online services admitted they had not integrated their systems with the back office, thereby not providing genuine CRM functionality and information.
The technology exists to overcome integration issues. We need to ensure organisations are not unnecessarily forced into purchasing expensive new systems or application program interfaces.
Iain Pickering, NDL
This was first published in January 2005