Users will benefit from CIO-Connect acquisition

The acquisition this month of user organisation CIO-Connect by the National Computing Centre completed a major stage in the NCC's...

The acquisition this month of user organisation CIO-Connect by the National Computing Centre completed a major stage in the NCC's plan to breathe new life into UK IT.

The drawing together of CIO-Connect, its sister user group IT-Connect, Certus and the NCC has united the ITuser community for larger UK organisations, taking the total NCC membership to 1,000 organisations.

NCC group chief executive Michael Gough said he is also working with the British Chambers of Commerce to link with IT users in small and medium-sized companies.

His aim is to improve the quality of leadership, management and project development, and highlight home-grown innovation to help the UK regain a leading position in the global IT market.

Freed from the three-year restrictions imposed by the sale of the NCC's consultancy arm in 1999, the NCC is now well on the way to achieving that aim.

The NCC recently bought the Institute of IT Training and set up Advanced Dynamic Programme Management, a new methodology for IT development.

Gough said the NCC's 1,000 members represent 80% of the total IT spend in the UK.

"IT people have a unique position in companies; they see everything that goes on and have the skills to make change happen," he said. "However, IT people in the UK are much maligned. Only 20% of UK companies have IT directors on their main board.

"The NCC is independent and not for profit. It helps its members do the best they can in IT and also helps them to be the best IT directors and chief information officers. We can help our members make a real difference in their organisations.

"The NCC does this through research, networking and information services. The NCC is a secure and well-funded organ-isation and is here for the long run. It has been around for nearly 40 years and its membership is drawn from end-users, although it does work with suppliers. It is here to support its members, which are the user community."

CIO-Connect chief executive John Handby said, "The tie-up with the NCC provides us with more management bandwidth and more opportunities to invest in new things. For example, it is helping us expand an international Euro-CIO group in association with Cigref in France and CIO-Forum in Germany.

"CIO-Connect is complementary to the NCC. The NCC has a wide involvement with the user community, although this is skewed towards the public sector. CIO-Connect occupies a strong position with the most senior corporate users."

NCC/CIO-Connect is taking a low-key approach to lobbying. "We are not a lobbying body but as there are 1,000 members, we can provide a unique consultation forum for policy setting," said Gough. "We do not specifically go out there to change policy but we are there to be consulted."

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