Computer Weekly readers have their say
Accountants have had their outsourcing day
Sandy Lloyd, Lecturer, global & corporate finance, The City College
Mark Sukiennik states, "The fundamental reasons for outsourcing still hold - such as wanting to drive through efficiency, effectiveness and transformational changes." (Computer Weekly, 22 November). This is management speak for "financial savings".
Outsourcing is always done for financial savings and always with a resultant loss in quality of service, though not necessarily accountable efficiency. The "accountant" always had the last word.
However, others are beginning to realise that outsourcing may have been the buzzword for the 1990s but not for the 21st century. "Insourcing" is on the increase because we are becoming wiser. I do not agree that it is problematic - Cable & Wireless managed the switch painlessly.
Accountants have had their day and have not hung around to listen to complaints from "customers". For the past few years they have been waving business plans showing financial savings and then returning to their offices and hiding behind account books.
Whatever business we manage we have to consider the customer in a more beneficial manner.
Consider IT at the start of the merger road
Thorgeir Einarsson, Sendmail
Chris Digby highlights the need for IT to be higher up the agenda in company mergers (Computer Weekly, 22 November). But what is the good in being on the agenda if you are the final point?
If mergers and acquisitions are to be a success, the IT director must be on the executive committee and involved in every decision made throughout the process. The services and applications that come under the IT umbrella are an integral part of any company, and anyone thinking that two, potentially opposing, systems can operate in unison needs to reconsider their career. Merging two companies' e-mail systems is challenging, in particular, as this is now the most common and effective way to communicate.
IT has quickly become the lynchpin of merger and acquisition activity. Until executives realise this, businesses will continue to shoulder the burden of poor performance caused by failed mergers.
Post-merger IT revamps can lead to cost savings
Andrew McFadzen, Equant
It is true that IT staff should be more involved in merger and acquisition activity (Computer Weekly, 22 November), but most, from network managers to IT directors, still go in to the process with their eyes firmly closed and hoping for the best. In fact, mergers are an opportunity for IT departments to demonstrate their worth by revamping systems and increasing cost savings, rather than cobbling together old networks.
Instead of seeing IT as a problem to be dealt with on the checklist, IT directors should use the technology at their disposal to shed light on their chosen path. Despite the increasingly mission-critical nature of many business applications, most are unaware of the impact a merger could have on the applications running over their networks.
IT directors must treat transitions like mergers as an opportunity to show how technology can ease the path of decision makers.
Test teams add value to developments
Nick Langley's piece "Software tests may be automated, but the human element is crucial" (Computer Weekly, 22 November) does not recognise or give credit to organisations that already have a good quality approach to system development.
In fact, these companies carry out an integration verification validation and testing process which forms part of the product lifecycle, not just the development lifecycle.
Integration verification validation and testing covers more than testing - it identifies issues prior to test stage. You make it sound as if this is a new area. The companies that follow integration verification validation and testing are proof in themselves that this is not the case.
I do, however, agree that there are a lot of new, and some old, companies that have yet to accept the value added by a test team. They consider it to be an unnecessary, expensive activity that can be avoided.
Tools alone cannot solve app knowledge problems
Graham Perry, Amsphere
I wholeheartedly agree with Phil Murphy's point that applications developed just three years ago are beginning to look like legacy systems (Computer Weekly, 29 November). However, I disagree with his conclusion that newly available application portfolio management (APM) tools are the answer: they are only part of the answer.
Although the idea that an APM tool can provide a quick fix to the loss of application knowledge is appealing, it ignores the fact that process and business knowledge are equally important. The non-technical knowledge built up in a project team is equally as important as the knowledge of the application itself.
Organisations are beginning to appreciate that loss of application knowledge presents a risk to the business, but a thorough analysis of the scope of knowledge is required before mitigating the risk.
David Austin, whose cartoons graced our Letters page, has died at the age of 70.
From 1992, Computer Weekly readers enjoyed Austin's sharp wit and deft pen as he poked fun at the foibles of the IT industry. He also produced a daily front-page cartoon for The Guardian for 15 years, as well as bringing a laugh to readers of the Spectator, New Scientist and Daily Telegraph.
In what must be a record, Austin's Hom Sap strip, set in Ancient Rome, ran in Private Eye for 35 years.
Austin was a chemical analyst and a school teacher before turning to drawing full-time.