Your shout: Shared services, ID cards, modernisation

Readers' views on the week's news

Focus on shared services successes, not failures

Stephen Butcher, chief executive Eduserv

Although many public sector organisations are not embracing shared services as quickly as hoped (Computer Weekly, 23 January), we must not forget those beacons of best practice that have.

In the higher education sector, institutions have been successful in adopting shared services to give millions of students access to essential online materials from hundreds of publishers. Those that have embarked on shared services have realised substantial, tangible savings.

Perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves is not, "Why are so many councils failing?" but rather, "What can they learn from sectors that are succeeding?"

Often, the real success stories come from organisations that realise the risks associated with developing a service directly with a like-minded organisation, and instead work with a third-party service provider, limiting collaboration with other organisations to the management of their relationships with these parties.

The best approach to shared services will depend largely on the organisation in question, but it is important that the public sector is educated about the different choices available, in order to choose the best one to help meet savings targets.

It is time for serious opposition to ID cards

Greville Warwick, MCS

I refer to Bill Goodwin's article (Computer Weekly, 23 January) that pointed to the £5.4bn cost for ID cards. What is so disturbing is the casual way that this government tosses out funding estimates. £5,400,000,000 is the number we must fix in our minds to grasp how we must sacrifice economic opportunity and personal spending power for the government to issue its 65 million citizens with a duff means of identity that they uniquely among the world's 6.5 billion people will possess.

We have an increasingly mobile world population, among which only British people will have special terrorist security and personal protection. Believe this and we are ready to believe anything. It is time for serious opposition to political irresponsibility and plain madness. Exactly what qualifications and experience do safe-seat, part-time politicians have to nod this nonsense through?

Rip and replace is not only answer to modernisation

Julian Dobbins, director, product management, Micro Focus

It is no surprise to hear that many insurers are struggling with their legacy IT investments. These systems, often developed 30 years ago, sit at the heart of a company's critical business processes, and yet have become in time increasingly complex and disconnected.

While it is tempting to "rip and replace" these systems, there is now more choice than ever for modernisation, giving insurers the chance to realise the value in their IT infrastructures. SOA is hugely relevant to these systems, and means companies that have retained legacy applications can improve operational efficiency and business agility, without risking the loss of vital business data and competitive advantage.

It is time to put pressure on broadband suppliers

Sarah Ednay, Optical Technology Training

I was struck by your recent Big Question (Computer Weekly, 30 January), with Jason Ripper lamenting that he has been waiting for his home broadband service to be activated since Christmas. I know how he feels.

Isn't it time you did a far-reaching survey to find out how many IT managers are affected by "too far from the exchange" syndrome, and put some serious pressure on providers. I could turn my home into a retreat for over-stressed IT managers to escape any connection with the world - but I would much rather have broadband.

IT industry is responsible for shortage of graduates

Lawrie Fernee, project manager, WM-data

Having read Justin Richards' article on the shortage of IT graduates (Computer Weekly, 23 January), it seems to me that we may be overlooking another significant issue. Over the past couple of years so many IT jobs have been reported as transferred "offshore" that even medium-term job prospects in the UK appear very shaky.

The threat this poses to our job security is a concern to many of us, and I would not be at all surprised if it is a fact seriously considered by those considering IT for a career.

Perhaps the UK IT industry is reaping what it has sown.

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