Your shout: CRB mistakes, outsourcing faults, World Cup fouls

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Computer Weekly readers' give their views on this week's news

Be careful who you are calling a criminal...

In your editorial comment “Standards for new age of IT” (Computer Weekly, 30 May), you report the Home Office claims that there were no mistakes in the Criminal Records Bureau’s disclosures because the affected individuals’ details were “similar or even identical” to criminals’ data. This is equivalent to saying that I am a potential mass murderer as I have the same surname and eye colour as someone that was convicted of that crime.

The Home Office also proudly pointed out that only 0.03% of the cases were affected. This is of little consolation if you happen to be one of the three in 10,000 that has been affected by one of the mistakes. I am certain that if one of the not-so-civil servants at the Home Office were affected, they would have a very different take on the matter.

Tony Sutcliffe


Outsourcing is like a car with two engines

In response to “The changing face of outsourcing” by Robert Morgan and Jean-Louis Bravard (Computer Weekly, 30 May), I have been in IT for over 15 years and have experienced first hand all the different forms of outsourcing. In every case that I have seen outsourcing simply has not worked.

The basic problem is you have two organisations that are diametrically opposed in their objectives, like a car with two engines and two gearboxes. One wants to maximise profit while the other wants to minimise cost. But unless the operation is totally outsourced to a much cheaper country it cannot be done cheaper, especially when you include the outsourcing supplier’s profit margin.

People with certain skills cost a certain amount of money, whether they work directly or indirectly for the customer. If cheaper people are employed, quality will go down.

Among the difficulties you end up with through outsourcing are:

  • What should be minor staff issues having to be escalated to senior management
  • Lack of incentive to do things more efficiently or improve processes
  • Lack of cooperation, eg. “Oh I wish I could do that but it is not in our contract”.

Outsourcing is only logical when you are doing it with a part-time function or moving an operation offshore so that cost differences are so huge they can be passed on – as long as quality is not reduced.

Alan Trup


Don’t let the World Cup wreck your business

The news that the BBC will be streaming World Cup matches live through its website seems to have been met with a collective cheer from desk-jockeys up and down the country. However, as you pointed out in your article, (Computer Weekly, 6 June), this is going to have a significant impact on the network, and IT departments need to be aware. 

This kind of online traffic requires a hefty amount of bandwidth and can seriously impact the performance of other critical business applications running on the network, such as enterprise resource planning or voice over IP.

Being able to watch the World Cup online is great, but businesses cannot afford for it to result in problems such as delay, jitter, or loss of data for business-critical applications.

Aside from sending the entire staff to the pub for the afternoon (probably the most popular move) or banning any online access to matches (certainly the most unpopular move), businesses need to find a way of dealing with the increased bandwidth demands resulting from employees watching matches online. At the same time, companies need to guarantee business-critical applications when they occur. 

The network needs to be managed in such a way that business-critical traffic is given priority. This would mean that the streaming of matches would not have any negative impact on the other applications that are needed by the business, but will still be able to run as long as there is enough network capacity. 

Mike Bailey, Ipanema Technologies


Switch your screen off and help save the world

Many people will have watched the recent David Attenborough television programme “Are we Changing Planet Earth?” on BBC1 with growing concern as to the global warming legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren – and then will have gone to bed leaving the TV, VCR
etc on standby.

Whilst there is probably no silver bullet solution to this problem, collective action will have some effect, but the first step must be to change people’s attitudes – to make them more aware of their energy consuming activities.

You only have to walk around an office late at night with all the PCs and screens still on to realise the waste of resources – turn off the screens at least.

David Kerr


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