Closed minds are holding back IT
Sadly, contributors miss the point when addressing the problem of adopting any piece of IT kit (Letters, 12 November).
If a given individual has been weaned on the plethora of DOS-based systems when playing games, and has never been exposed to other operating systems or environments, such as Unix, Linux or Mac, then whenever they decide to buy a new piece of kit, they will invest in a PC.
Although the debate over PC versus Mac has moved on, with Intel underpinning both PC and Mac now, the key issue to address for IT departments is whether they wish to become perpetually locked in to a closed system, such as Windows, or migrate to open-source environments such as Linux.
If they decide against the latter option, they will continue to be locked in to an increasingly expensive option that offers no scope for systems administrator to create as robust and secure a system as might otherwise be possible.
Benefits of virtualisation
Gartner’s Ken McGee and other analysts have concluded in recent weeks that the looming threat of recession may force some IT chiefs to cut their budgets for 2008 (Gartner advises IT leaders to prepare two IT budgets for 2008, 7 November). But considering the correlation between innovation, growth initiatives and the technology that fosters them, this option can prove unfeasible for many organisations.
Eliminating outdated or under-utilised IT assets may offer immediate cost relief but then how do businesses support growth? Any limit on resources will not only inhibit an IT director’s ability to implement and/or expand programmes, but put them at a disadvantage in investing in and utilising new technologies.
The ideal is to be able to do more with existing resources, and this is where application virtualisation is hotly tipped as the next big thing for IT infrastructure in 2008. By providing the tools to create a flexible, on-demand infrastructure that intelligently provisions processing power as and when it is required across the entire organisation, application virtualisation quite simply enables IT chiefs to do more with less.
Alun Baker, DataSynapse
The saddest people in IT
In response to recent comments on this letters page about giving allegiance to a PC or a Mac, perhaps the true saddos within IT are those techies who grew up playing games on their PC console and have yet to properly grow up and learn the difference between a brand and a franchise (Letters, 12 November).
Within IT, whereas Dell and other manufacturers have established brand identity, the closest thing the PC market has to a brand is that of “Intel Inside”.
IBM still trails in analytics
Like the SAP-Business Objects acquisition announced last month, IBM’s move to acquire Cognos underscores what has been evident for some time, that business intelligence (BI) – particularly BI query and reporting tools – has become a commodity (Cognos falls to IBM as BI shakeout continues, 19 November). What is key to companies now is the importance of “enterprise intelligence”, which elevates knowledge and decision-making capabilities from the departmental level to the executive suite.
With Cognos, IBM has continued its move into the software business, and will offer BI reporting tools to go along with its middleware and database software, and strong services arm. Yet in this deal, neither IBM nor Cognos delivers the goods in analytics.
Companies need to see around corners and know what will happen next, and they need to make decisions in the context of the issues most relevant to their industry. Analytics – data mining, forecasting and optimisation – are key to business success.
Richard Kellett, SAS
No such thing as an eco-friendly printer
As both a Wiccan and an IT professional, I strongly agree with Alistair Dabbs (Firms should tone down green rhetoric, 5 November). It is unconscionable that any printing company would present themselves as eco-friendly.
Printer manufacturers may have taken steps to reduce waste, pollutants and so on, but by its very nature the industry of printing is detrimental to the environment. This is why I have spearheaded an effort at our organisation to combat excessive printing.
We are now including a small graphic in our email signatures along with the words “Think before you print”. It reminds the recipient to consider the environment before needlessly printing the contents of the email. It also keeps people sensitive to information security. If the contents of the email should not be left lying around in a hard copy, it probably should not be printed.
Lucas Burke, CISSP,
Let women shine in IT
I have been running our IT department for the past 10 years in an organisation that is dominated by females (Strength through diversity, 17 September). Among the first five staff I employed were two females. All the new staff were fresh graduates and new to the IT work environment.
They all received equal treatment and training opportunities, but the female members of the team never scaled the same heights as their male colleagues.
Despite a lot of support and training, the two females eventually moved on. This was five years ago. Since then, we have had difficulty attracting female IT staff. All responses to adverts we put out during that time were male – until this year.
This year, we got quite a number of female applicants and we now have two new female staff. They are both very bright, hardworking and dedicated and are doing just as well as everyone else. They have brought with them such a colourful diversity of ideas and creativity to the team that there really is no argument for not actively promoting female IT staff among the workforce.
Patrick Anigbo, head of IT, Adepta
Green IT has to be profitable
It is good to see people making money from green products (Money talks loudest in Green IT Zone, 29 October). This is the only way green ideas will really solidify into actual practices – if someone can make a living from them.
No matter how idealistic people are, they need to be able to support themselves too, which is why it is great to see people being green just for the money. It is more sustainable that way.
Kyocera is on right track
Printing is not a green activity, nor could it really ever be dressed up as such (Firms should tone down green rhetoric, 5 November).
Like so many business activities, the manufacture and use of printers has an inherently negative impact on the environment, which is something that printer manufacturers have long known.
I also agree that trumpeting compliance with standards that are actually becoming the industry norm does little to inform the consumer of the greenness of a company. Some printer companies proudly advertise the fact that they will collect your used printer when you buy one of theirs, conveniently forgetting that this is a requirement under the WEEE directive in any case. Plus, any printer manufacturer worth its salt will have a cartridge return and recycling programme in place – if only from the selfish point of view of keeping used cartridges out of the hands of remanufacturers.
At Kyocera we have never claimed that our printers are environmentally friendly. We do, however, believe that they have less environmental impact than the conventional technology alternative.
Helen Hopper, Kyocera
Blind allegiance to an IT brand is sad
In his strident advocacy for OS X and all things Mac (Letters, 5 November), Thomas Barta is guilty of making the same mistake that mindless enthusiasts always do on both sides of the rather boring PC versus Mac so-called debate.
Barta’s attempt at dismissing the PC environment as “1980s technology” without having the honesty to admit that the very same term can be used to describe the Mac’s origins removes any and all credibility from his argument.
I just wish the misguided fools on both sides of the Mac/PC fence would grow up and admit that people should be allowed to choose whatever platform best suits their individual or corporate needs.
Getting hot under the collar about what is essentially a piece of office equipment betrays a life that is empty of more interesting things.
Paul Harper, ICI
Women are keen on IT
Martin Davies works in a strange world – or I do (Letters, 29 October). I have been an IT professional for more than 25 years. From my very first class, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of women students.
Subsequently, I have found the female sex to be well represented in the IT industry. On more than one occasion I have worked for a female IT manager.
So to say that women “just do not want to do IT” is fatuous, to say the least.