Computer Weekly readers' give their views on the week's news
Let's reap the rewards of doing things differently
Cliff Moore, IT manager, Quadrant Connections
What an interesting news item your headline story, "Insurer saves £4m a month with SAP" (Computer Weekly, 12 September), was.
How many of us in the IT industry have developed systems that promised to greatly improve the way the organisation worked, only to come up against the barriers that Jon Taylor at CIS seems to have smashed his way through.
Such expressions as "tail wagging the dog" and "we are a unique industry that must have its established procedures followed" are typical of those used at user/management specification meetings to halt any major changes to the way the organisation works.
The cynical of us may complain this is because of narrow departmental self-interest or "politics". How many systems end up becoming just unwieldy copies of previous procedures, with most of the perceived benefits lost? For example, a new financial system ends up being little more than an electronic copy of a daybook.
Of course there are also plenty of examples of new systems being abandoned with large loss of time and money. CIS is to be congratulated on giving the appropriate level of authority to its project management team.
However, is it all plain sailing, clearing the project team to introduce only standard packages? Where will the company's unique selling points come from if all firms in the market operate alike? Will it be ease of software upgrade and system integration that dictates the future of the organisation, rather than management vision or customer choice?
This debate will go on and on - efficiency versus individuality, to reduce it to its bare bones. I know which side I will champion when I am suggesting a new system and I will be emboldened by Taylor's successful example.
Now I'm 'overqualified' how do I get the right job?
With reference to your article "Don't let them kick you out after 40" (Computer Weekly, 19 September), what about those of us who are trying to get back in ?
My position of IT manager was made redundant in 1999, when I was 45. After this, I obtained what I thought was a similar position but it turned out to be a short-term "get-us-through-the-millennium" post.
Since then I have gained several qualifications. Despite this, and the fact that my CV does not contain my age, I have been unable to gain a full-time permanent position since 2000. Even getting an interview seems to be nigh on impossible.
Most feedback I get is that I am overqualified and over-experienced. It seems a shame to waste all that experience in the industry when we keep on hearing about failed projects!
Clearing the air over Dell laptop safety
Josh Claman, vice-president & general manager, Dell UK
With regard to your story "Airline bans use of Dell and Apple laptops" (Computer Weekly, 12 September), Korean Air has not banned the use of Dell or Apple notebooks on its flights but has said they can be used with aircraft power - the batteries are not allowed in the cabin.
As to the points raised in Paul Ireland's letter (Computer Weekly, 12 September) regarding the bomb threat posed by laptop batteries, lithium ion batteries are safe when used properly, including on planes.
Lithium ion batteries have a well documented safety record and are used in cellular phones, portable music players and other electronic products, as well as in notebook computers. Additionally, all Dell systems meet all applicable safety standards, and Dell's qualification standards far exceed agency and industry safety standards.
The batteries we recently recalled impact approximately 16% of Dell notebook batteries shipped between January 2004 and July 2006.
We place the highest priority on the safety of our customers and operation of our products and we are working hard to make it as easy as possible for people to return affected batteries and get replacements quickly.
In the meantime, it is safe for customers with affected batteries to use their notebooks on AC power with the battery removed.
Do semiconductors have secret superpowers?
In "Hybrids give sluggish PCs the boot" (Computer Weekly, 19 September), Danny Bradbury states, "The problem is hard drives are mechanical, and while companies have had great success at driving efficiencies into semiconductors, mechanical devices are still bound largely by the laws of physics."
I am wondering at which point semiconductor technology stopped being subject to the laws of physics?
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This was first published in September 2006