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Match IT metrics to organisational goals
While Phil Cain's article, "Government measures" (Computer Weekly, 7 December), casts doubt on the appropriate use of the balanced scorecard among public sector organisations, and their ability to arrive at a meaningful measurement of IT, a very similar approach towards IT measurement has emerged in the private sector.
In a recent YouGov survey of 189 UK IT directors, worryingly, 33% of respondents said IT measurement was not important to their organisation. The survey also found that 57% of organisations lacked the ability to measure IT effectively, because they had not adopted appropriate measurement tools such as the balanced scorecard or quality of service monitoring tools. The message to both types of organisation is clear: if the IT infrastructure is not measured effectively, IT cannot be managed effectively.
As the article points out, the crux of the problem, for both the public and private sectors, is that "the measurements they make are not allied to organisational goals". Many organisations use operational metrics to measure IT performance, and are measuring at a component level. If you consider the many different components that make up an IT infrastructure, that approach cannot provide a holistic view of how IT is performing. Furthermore, operational metrics cannot be used to demonstrate how IT is contributing to organisations' objectives and service delivery.
Clearly, tools that match IT performance metrics to internal processes and organisational goals are needed. The balanced scorecard, and software capable of placing quality of service measures in an organisational context, will be key in helping the public and private sectors to overcome their governance and measurement challenges.
Sean Larner, European managing director, Managed Objects
Audit software needs to reduce licensing costs
Regardless of a company's size, and contrary to many people's expectations, software licensing costs can often be minimised or reduced once a company has assessed its needs.
The article on multi-core processing systems and the possible price hikes in licensing as a result (Computer Weekly, 30 November) highlighted the need for companies to look more carefully at how they licence software.
Ironically, research from analyst firm Gartner found that many companies are over-licensed by between 5% and 10% and recommended the outsourcing of software auditing to save money.
Software houses know that when it comes to licensing, particularly volume licensing, they need to do more to reduce the total cost of ownership or provide added business value through new offerings. As a result, they have been doing a lot of work to allow users to choose options that can, if intelligently used, reduce their costs.
With high-profile cases of blue-chip companies being punished for not having the correct software licences, it is clear that businesses are not addressing their regulatory licensing requirements.
Firms should be in constant contact with suppliers to ensure their software remains legal and their IT investment is maximised. Without a proper understanding of licensing requirements, businesses could be lumbered with an expensive piece of paper stored away in a drawer.
John Meakin, director, Equation
Competition could aid ID card goals
The government's attitude to the proposed ID cards is worrying on many fronts; civil liberties, security and unreliability being just three. I am opposed to the introduction of such a centrally controlled system.
It seems to me that the experts on identity are in the private sector - in the finance industry and particularly the credit agencies. This is how I prove my identity at the moment. Why not offer a choice of identity certification agencies? The government could either offer its own alternative or just set the authentication standards. Competition often brings down price and keeps up quality.
Richard Rothwell, head of computing, Handsworth Grammar School, Birmingham
Shirt and tie tip is no use to female IT workers
I was offended by one of the tips given in the article on being prepared for that crucial first interview (Computer Weekly, 30 November). The first of the 10 tips for successful interviews was, "Wear a suit and tie."
Are you suggesting that everyone should wear a tie or is this article aimed only at men?
I work in IT in an entirely female team and I can assure you none of us wore ties to any of our interviews.