Computer Weekly readers have their say
Scrap IR35 legislation to avert a skills crisis
I read Bill Goodwin’s article on the projected skills shortage (Computer Weekly, 11 April), with interest.
The fact of the matter is that this situation will continue to deteriorate until we have no software industry left. The problem is that the government has slapped the IR35 intermediaries legislation on contractors, thus killing off the seed corn from which experienced IT managers grow.
We are now four years or so down the line, during which time good IT personnel have gone abroad or just stayed in their positions in which the entrepreneurial flame is quenched. This situation will continue indefinitely, since the government is determined to continue to put the screws on the contractor market.
Training tax breaks will not be efficient in sorting this mess out. The only thing that is needed is experience, which is very costly to acquire. For instance, who will take the risk of being a contractor with the government feeding off the good times and giving nothing back in the bad times?
It is going to cost the government dear in the long term, to the tune of many billions of pounds. But by then the Conservatives will be back in power and the Labour leeches will be able to blame the Conservatives for the demise of our IT industry, since all the jobs will be exported to India, which by then will have raised its rates to match those of Europe or the US.
What the government ought to do is abolish IR35 and slap massive tax disincentives on the export of IT jobs. With the resurrection of the UK IT industry – with all the tax and other revenues that it will generate, the reduction of social security payments to out-of-work IT personnel and the funds raised from import taxes – the government will have far more money to spend on its pet projects.
Rupert Stanley, Ross Systems International
Compliance challenges can put IT in the limelight
The security aspect of compliance poses a very real challenge to IT directors, as outlined in your article (“Compliance quandary”, Computer Weekly, 25 April).
Equally, it obliges them to become proficient in some elements of the law, as highlighted with the BCS’ new foundation certificate in IT law.
Regulatory mandates such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel 2 have brought increased demands on data protection efforts and non-compliance exposes firms to financial penalties and litigation.
Many companies are unsure how to store data and exactly what they should keep in order to comply. The IT department is under pressure from the business to reduce the cost per gigabyte of stored data, while still having to ensure near 100% recoverability.
With the explosion in volume of data, the implementation of service level agreements and the requirements of new regulations, the role of the IT professional has become even more challenging. But we should welcome these challenges as they affirm the position of the IT professional in the boardroom and ultimately make the job more satisfying.
Drake Pruitt, Bocada
Firms must stop keeping up with the Joneses
How many organisations really have any idea of the true cost of ownership of new technologies that they implement? (“A third of firms ‘unable to calculate’ the cost of IT systems”, Computer Weekly, 25 April).
And just how much technology is being implemented without either a clear requirement or objective for return on investment?
Investing in technology on a “me too” basis makes no commercial sense. And yet it is becoming commonplace.
Technology underpins every facet of business today, with downtime or poor performance fundamentally compromising profitability. Yet despite the apparent maturity of the industry few companies have achieved any real understanding of how best to exploit IT to deliver business success.
Instead, organisations lurch from one technology implementation to another, with decisions based on a number of spurious demands with no one at any level prepared to take any real responsibility for ensuring the delivery of a tangible return on investment.
And once aboard this IT carousel it is near impossible to step off; organisations must consider how many “must have” investments will compromise rather than enable business; and at what cost.
In a technology-dependent economy, IT professionals must be prepared to undertake a vital role that combines technology innovation with business understanding. In short, isn’t it time to regain control over IT to achieve real business value?
Richard Barker, Sovereign Business Integration
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