Planning for business continuity
Stories by Divina Paredes
The 2005 winners, chosen by major venture capital and technology companies, includ-ed companies working on anti-terrorism software and treatments for cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
The WEF believes these pioneers have focused on four major trends: Global demographic shifts, an impending energy crunch, mobile devices and greater security concerns.
April Walker, Southern Cross: We are at one of the early stages of considering our strategic direction in telecommunications technology for voice over IP. We're in the process of looking at what we've got, where we might be going in the future, and what we're likely to need. Obviously VOIP has cropped up as a potential direction for us so it's something that we're looking at and considering. Previously one of our call centres was operating on VOIP technology but we disestablished it. We moved the call centre. We merged it back into the main call centre.
Catherine Rusby, IAG: I'm just reviewing the final paper that's going to be submitted to our board in a couple of weeks to say, 'You won't hear from us again because we're done [with our project].'
Nailing the basics of IT governance has been a key step in the development of every world class IT organisation (ITO), notes a recent Meta Group report.
However, the analyst firm points out, for many organisations, governance is a "nebulous" term. "The typical ITO's view of governance is a tactical prioritisation committee incorrectly termed the 'IT steering committee'."
There is also a lot of mistrust and rivalry between co-workers regarding flexible working, and those who work away from the office are subject to criticism and corridor gossip from colleagues, says a new report.
According to the report Mobility and Mistrust commissioned by Toshiba and conducted by Sweeney Research, only 35 per cent of New Zealand organisations currently have flexible workplaces. Yet, 39 per cent of personnel in non-flexible workplaces have jobs that can be undertaken flexibly.
The result is a constant game of catch-up, with companies investing in technology to support new business investments and then discovering they have to plug the security holes the new investments created.
A recent AMR Research survey of 220 IT and security professionals shows 56 per cent of companies will increase their security budgets by an average of 7.4 per cent, while only 2 per cent plan to decrease them.
Corporate data is no different from iron ore, says Mike Evertzen of Telecom.The latter is just rock in the ground and becomes of value only if extracted.
"It is the same thing with data," he says. "It is meaningless if it sits in its raw form."
After 18 months of trying to streamline corporate reporting through a data warehouse integration, Redeal opted for a fresh approach that is now paying dividends.
Multiple legacy systems were the challenge for group IT manager Peter Jameson. When it came time to produce reports for either the local operation or the company’s Paris head office, data had to be extracted from four servers and, depending on complexity, the process would take half a day or longer. Then, if a combined result was required for the entire organisation, these reports had to be merged using Excel. The process was “time consuming and prone to error”, says Jameson.
The Asia-Pacific region is seeing repeated attacks launched from fraudulent email and “that is just the beginning,” Brightmail’s Garry Sexton warns.
Authorities need to attack the people behind the “criminal side of spam”, as these could adversely affect business communications – particularly those of networked enterprises, says Sexton, vice president Asia-Pacific of the anti-spam software and services firm.
Two years ago, Port of Napier (PoN) allowed internal users and clients to access data online and reduced their dependence on fax machines and phone calls to confirm transactions.
This was part of a major systems upgrade that put the enterprise ahead of the competition in e-commerce functionality and the provision of real-time data.
When Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) deployed a new budget forecast, planning and analysis platform, users were prepared for a steep learning curve.
The migration followed a period of revenue growth and devolution of fiscal responsibility to the 24 heads of school. The university’s focus was not on cost cutting, but driving profitability. Heads of schools and units were made accountable by being provided with a target.
During a meeting in Wellington for industry training organisations (ITOs), Ian Hogg and Ashley Perera from Forestry Industry Training discussed their common concerns about their Microsoft Access database system.
“We were dissatisfied with the system and wanted to move onto a SQL-based system,” says Hogg, financial controller of the Electro-Technology Industry Training Organisation (ETITO).
Bill Gates is “half right” in believing spam could be eradicated in two years through technology and electronic stamps. That is the opinion of Forrester senior analyst James Nail, who reckons the spam problem may be solved in maybe three, not two, years.
As for charging the spammer, Nail says there have to be fundamental changes in email infrastructure for ‘postage’ to work as a deterrent. “Right now, no one agrees on the specifications for those changes, and there are active dialogues around a number of different systems. It will take time for the industry to come to consensus, and then the standard must be broadly adopted before it will have any impact.”
Locally, however, the uptake for the examinations leading to the licence is higher among those in school than those already in the workplace, according to Charles Wedd, New Zealand Computer Society Northern branch manager.
Wedd says more New Zealand employers should be aware of the benefits of ICDL. “It is a slow process getting employers to seek the benefits of more computer literate and competent staff.”
Concerns regarding corporate data also emerged. As Dennis Robinson, winery services manager points out, “When Montana took over Corbans, there was a huge number of people who had stuff in their PC. Basically, staff may have left and had important research work sitting on one PC or a local server.”
There was always the possibility employees could be duplicating works unknowingly, or important research was not being distributed. And when employees left the organisation, their research findings might easily have been lost, he says.