Your shout: Train to check churn, the licensing cosh

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Public confidence? Now what would that be?

In your front page report (Computer Weekly, 9 January), you quote the Office of Government Commerce as saying that certain disclosures about the ID cards project "could damage public confidence."

How is it possible to damage something that does not exist?

Neil Harvey

 

Testing times could be result of poor discipline

It is good to hear that the Identity and Passport Service is strengthening its testing programme for IT projects (Computer Weekly, 16 January). But your article also says "The EPA2 system as delivered was considerably more complex than initially intended," and this innocent sentence may well cover a multitude of sins - in other projects as well as this one.

Without all the facts, one is tempted to ask whether this was because the system as originally planned did not do the job properly - in which case, the original systems analysis was at fault or was it perhaps that forces either within the agency or the supplier thought it would be good to take the opportunity to expand on the original specification while the system was in design?

In which case, the underlying problem is really a lack of self discipline, either in a corporate or a personal sense, depending on how and at what level the decisions to enhance were taken.

Inadequate testing is only the means of delivery of the problem - the root causes usually go further back.

Charlie Davies, Homeless International

 

Training is key element in cutting staff turnover

The joint Computer Weekly/Computer People survey (Computer Weekly, 9 January) raises some interesting challenges for business leaders in the IT sector.

It is clear, as your research suggests, that the idea of raising salaries to generate staff loyalty no longer works. Offering satisfying and challenging work is certainly one way to attract the best talent, but is it enough?

A number of research projects conducted over the past two years by the Chartered Management Institute support much of what your survey outlines, but they also demonstrate that how organisations treat their staff is crucial in retaining the best talent. Individuals within the IT industry are motivated by a sense of purpose in their work and the opportunity to develop a clear career path.

Our survey shows that employee turnover in the IT industry is almost 11% - more than double that of the retail and food and drink industries.

Unless organisations recognise this and offer support through training and qualification, or by providing a clear sense of direction, staff turnover will continue to increase.

Jo Causon, Chartered Management Institute

 

Why software licensing can feel like a migraine

I was heartened to read Cliff Saran's article on software licence management (Computer Weekly, 9 January). For years, companies have been under the thumb of their suppliers in the area of software licences.

While it is imperative that companies keep track of their software licences in both an economical and legal fashion, this becomes more of a problem the larger the organisation because of the large number of packages involved. When you include tracking updates to packages and the software that remote workers use, the headache turns into a migraine.

Every company should be able to create a breakdown of its software licences for legal, financial and organisational reasons. If companies have fewer licences than applications, this can result in legal and financial consequences. On the other hand, companies can often waste money by purchasing software licences for packages which are not used.

The impact of this over- or under-purchasing varies from package to package Microsoft Office, for example, has relatively inexpensive licences, but the cost of having unnecessary licences for Microsoft Project can be extortionate.

However, the article does not exactly make it clear how software as a service and managed application services will solve this problem.

New delivery methods and hosting technologies will make the day-to-day running of the applications easier, but I do not see how this negates the need for IT managers to hold licences for legal reasons, so I am sure that the headache will continue throughout 2007.

Stephan Glathe, enteo Software

 

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