Before you share data, ensure it's high quality
I refer to your article, "Can it always be good to share?" (Computer Weekly, 13 March), which covered the move towards data sharing between government departments.
New technology enablers such as SOA and web services have allowed data to be integrated easily, and in the commercial world this has often lead to huge efficiencies and enhanced customer service - it is easy to see why the government has passed recent legislation.
However there have also been many disasters, with many projects overlooking the value of the base data. This was often the case when CRM and ERP software was purchased on a large scale in the early 1990s. Let's not have the same "garbage in, garbage out" again.
Poor quality data being replicated throughout government could simply automate the mistakes of the past, instead of providing a fuller picture of the citizen. Government officers could be left with a murky picture of individuals and base decisions on inaccurate information.
Colin Rickard, DataFlux
Mobiles will cure pain of hospital phone fees...
I am writing regarding your story about the government lifting the mobile phone ban in hospitals (Computerweekly.com, 15 March).
I believe the only reason that hospitals have clung to the myth that mobile phones present a threat to sensitive equipment is to force patients to use their overpriced bedside phone services, which can cost more than 30p a minute. I can only assume hospitals are using this to subsidise their budgets.
However, I do think there is a more practical reason for restricting the use of mobiles, and that is the thought of the cacophony of ring tones warbling through wards full of sick people.
Stephen Meredith, Webscreen Technology
...as long as they're used in the 'normal' fashion
The article on lifting the ban on mobile phones in hospitals says there is no problem with normal use of mobile phones in the hospital environment. Can someone tell me what "abnormal use" of a mobile phone might include?
User buy-in is crucial for effective CRM
Regarding "Think long-term on CRM, users told" (Computer Weekly, 13 March), companies will fail to obtain competitive advantage if they treat a CRM implementation as a pure software roll-out.
Firms continue to spend on CRM without first considering their business strategy or processes. CRM is not just about the software it is a complex process that is useful only if companies know which problems they are trying to solve.
While I agree that CRM is not just installing a box, Gartner analyst Scott Nelson misses an important point: businesses that implement CRM must work with users to drive the methodology. As the user rate increases, businesses will start to see CRM's real benefits.
Matthew Crook, SalesCentric
E-commerce sites only as good as value they add
Whatever solution retailers choose in the race to build better online offerings, ("Retailers rethink online platforms", Computer Weekly, 6 March), these cannot simply be bolted on to the existing business.
Going beyond the problems of systems integration, retailers must not forget the fundamental business challenge: how their online offer will add real value.
Customers are more savvy than ever, so if they see yet another featureless transactional website with badly managed customer touch points, they will shop elsewhere. This means the online offer has to integrate effectively with all business processes, such as the supply chain, catalogue management, product delivery, product returns and customer service.
This is not just a question of technology being joined up: it is about the business having an holistic multi-channel strategy. Ultimately, decision-makers need to know that if they sold the online division, customers would notice - otherwise, the site is not adding value to the business proposition.
Andy Morris, Egremont Group
Was that a rise in the fall or a fall in the rise?
Your report, "Getting better value with graduates" (Computer Weekly, 13 March), states that "the decline in the number of graduates choosing to study IT... has fallen, which has alarmed heads of IT".
Why are they alarmed? Shouldn't a fall in the decline be a cause for jubilation?
Or is this evidence of a falling rise in standards of English?
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