Your shout: IT governance, utilities, staff, maps

Readers' views on the week's news


Computer Weekly readers' give their views

Governance must be able to roll with the changes

Twenty-first century management struggles to grasp the nature of IT governance. This can be seen in the collapse, abandonment or delay of major IT projects and is inherent in the opinion expressed by Margaret Smith (Computer Weekly, 6 June).

We need to move on from old ideas which see IT governance as just another name for IT standards or methodology. Rather, we must embrace the language and insights of complexity. Those at the sharp end of major project delivery already know this language.

It speaks of scope creep, changing requirements, dynamic systems, non-linear development and massive unforeseen effects brought about by small initial changes.

Old-fashioned, top-down, remote, hierarchical governance does not work for this environment. It is too slow, cumbersome and reactive.

Instead, governance must recognise itself as being part of the system it is looking at, and be responsible for the consequences of intervention. It too must become dynamic and sensitive to change. It too must have tolerance for uncertainty and a commitment to continuous learning.

Those who implement decisions and deliver results must be part of the decision-making process. That way we can create successful, self-governing and self-healing systems.

Nicholas Moore, TSR International


Utilities start to look for ways to reduce IT costs

Your article covering IT expenditure for utilities (Computer Weekly, 6 June) contains some interesting assertions. The article notes that IT services expenditure is substantially higher in utilities than other sectors, and makes a direct link with outsourcing and offshoring, particularly in key billing areas.

The statement that “billing and payment processing is a core IT function that few have retained in-house” in our experience is only now coming true. Utilities have been under increasing competitive and regulatory pressures to reduce cost to serve, while coping with the increased complexity of customer processes in the competitive market, and most are now considering some form of outsourcing and offshoring.

Today, however, many have billing in-house, with the increased expenditure on IT services often due to the need to bring in external assistance to support legacy, bespoke billing systems.

With the trend to outsourcing, together with the integration of IT and business process outsourcing and the move of processes from core to non-core, I fully anticipate a relative reduction in IT services expenditure over the coming year.

Carl Haigney, Xansa Utilities


New staff transfer rules cause much confusion

Jimmy Desai’s article (Computer Weekly, 30 May) raises the puzzling question of how the new staff transfer regulations will work. Are supplier’s staff bound to you as to a third-party customer? And how is this to affect any outsourced supplies of goods or services?

As an independent company, you source goods and services externally, either for your own consumption or as part of added-value supplies to third parties. If there are three main parties to a typical transaction, how do the staff transfer regulations impinge on this? What is actually outsourced, what responsibilities and obligations are acquired and what is the status of each party’s staff?

It is like a lot of EU directives and regulations in that it takes something basically simple and well tried and adds complexity, uncertainty and confusion. In fact, what is transferred and to whom? Is this a case of the UK gold plating a directive to death?

Am I alone in my confusion? And exactly whose staff and workers am I directly or indirectly responsible for? Who is responsible for me?

Greville Warwick


Get with the modern age and ditch the printed map

With regard to the letter (Computer Weekly, 16 May), about printed maps being better than sat nav, there are 24 GPS satellites orbiting 11,500 miles above the earth at 2,000mph. We simply enter the postcode of where we want to go and in most cases receive precise instructions on how to get there.

This is a wonder of the modern world. A bit like print heads on inkjet printers – we know how they work but it is still amazing. Yes, occasionally due to a lack of local knowledge sat navs do not choose the best route and an HGV lorry gets sent down a narrow road – but how is a printed map any better?

Last time I checked, road widths were not shown on maps. I cannot begin to calculate how many hours my sat nav has saved me and I am sure the majority of sat nav users agree you save vastly more time than you waste. Luddites!

David Lightfoot

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