Emphasise creativity in drive to attract women
Robert Chapman, co-founder, The Training Camp
The news that British young women associate IT with secretarial duties (Computer Weekly, 19 July) proves that the true nature of a career in IT remains shrouded in mystery for many people.
While those involved in the sector are au fait with the importance of programming and development, many outside it continue to associate computing with filling in spreadsheets.
Addressing this miseducation is particularly important when it comes to women, whose skills would undoubtedly enrich the IT market. We need to reassure women that the skills for which they are prized in so many other areas of employment - people management, creativity and communication - will not go to waste in IT.
Research carried out among female graduates earlier this year found that 88% would not even consider a career in this field. An overwhelming majority of this number believed that only technical knowledge would be rewarded and sought careers demanding teamwork, strategic thinking and creativity.
IT can offer all of these things, but to really tap into the female market we need to see creativity and personal skills at the forefront of the recruitment drive.
Compliance is normal - so why all the fuss?
Graeme Blundell, senior consultant , Altair Technologies
The reaction of Callum McCarthy, chair of the Financial Services Authority, in your article "EU slammed over IT cost of regulatory compliance" (ComputerWeekly, 26 July) is also typical of IT managers who suddenly have to work in a compliant framework.
Compliance in IT is not a new thing. It has been practised in other areas such as the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years. If McCarthy would care to look up the EU and US legislation for IT compliance in the pharmaceutical industry, he may be very surprised to find that we have been using compliance to improve efficiency and quality standards, which in itself has made the cost of IT far more effective.
Why the fuss? The Market in Financial Instruments Directive is there for a reason and follows the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US. It was inevitable and is simply making European financial organisations more accountable.
The FSA would do well to look to its peers in other industries to understand how to make compliance effective. It would also be worth remembering that the impact is Europe-wide and not simply within the UK.
IT leaders must act now to meet waste deadline
Adrian Palmer, managing director, Ontrack Data Recovery
Mark O'Conor is wise to flag an early warning for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive becoming law in August (Computer Weekly, 19 July). IT directors need to start putting procedures in place now to avoid a rushed job to meet the deadline.
The compliance issues of the WEEE Directive are too serious to ignore and shortcuts for recovering and recycling expired PCs can have devastating effects on an organisation.
Remember the unwiped corporate data that ended up on old PCs on eBay and the MoD security plans recovered from hard drives sent to the scrapheap?
With the WEEE Directive coming into force, PC recycling must be regarded as a positive trend and one that IT directors should embrace. Data erasure needs to be at the forefront of the process to ensure private information remains private.
Real-time business intelligence challenge
Peter Lusty, Strategix
I read your article on operational business intelligence (Computer Weekly, 26 July) with great interest. The real challenge is how to marry real-time business intelligence reporting with operational software applications without the need for constant reprogramming.
By definition, operational applications process transactions in a strictly procedural manner, whereas business intelligence systems, by their nature, aggregate, sort and sift through data to find information of relevance. The answer therefore would appear to lie in having an architecture that facilitates the easy connection of business intelligence data to operational applications, with the result that business intelligence data is delivered in real-time and in context with what the user is doing at any time within the operational application.
In this way, the decision as to what data is provided to which user in any particular context can be kept separate from the operational application itself. As rules external to the application determine these choices, a huge degree of flexibility can be achieved in delivering real-time business intelligence in context - without the need to reprogram the operational application itself.
CISM is business oriented qualification
David Simpson, chair, CISM Certification Board, Isaca
Isaca is glad Nick Langley included the CISM (certified information security manager) certification in his article "A security qualification is a must but make sure it fits your field" (Computer Weekly, 22 July), but we would like to make a clarification.
The article states that CISM is targeted to audit managers, but that is not the case. CISM is a business-oriented designation for professionals who manage an organisation's information security and possess the knowledge to set up, implement and direct a security structure to manage risk effectively.
The CISM certification, introduced in 2002, has already been earned by more than 5,200 security professionals, and was recognised in a recent study by Foote Partners LLC as a "hot certification to watch for the next 12 months".
Registration for the June 2005 CISM exam reached a record 125% increase from the previous year, prompting the first ever addition of a second exam in one year.