VSJ – Feb 2006 – Work in Progress

This month, we’re previewing the Annual Symposium (see Notice Board). As usual, the speakers are experts in their fields and their chosen topics fascinating and current, as you’ll see from the résumés below. Trinity House is a beautiful venue, as the photograph suggests, but it isn’t huge. So make your reservations fast!

Designing and Building Business Driven IS Architectures: Allen Woods

Increasingly, in a standards driven information world, organisations have to report progress towards business objectives using performance indicators. Organisations are also expected to prove compliance with an increasing number of management best practice standards like ISO 9000 and the European Foundation for Quality Model (EFQM). It is often the case that the standards chosen are done for ‘tick the box’ purposes, with little or no joined-up thinking applied. Using case studies and tools developed by JIT Software it will be demonstrated how, by combining a number of standard management planning techniques, any organisation can design and structure an information systems architecture that is founded on its key information needs. Using the approach described can go some way to eliminate one of the perennial problems of IT, the communications gap between the systems designer and the business user.

Allen Woods CISP, MBCS, MIAP, Managing Director of JIT Software Limited, has been writing software systems for a variety of national and international organisations for the last 20 years. Specialising in developing management reporting systems designed to support performance management techniques including the Balanced Scorecard, Allen has developed a number of management planning tools designed to support a systemic approach to organisation design and structuring. Currently Allen is assisting the UK MoD Defence Supply Chain and the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture to implement ‘joined-up’ strategic planning tools.

e-Crime—Down to Business: Ian Walker

e-Crime is an issue that can affect us all, whether we’re software developers, hardware engineers, computer users and even if you don’t use a computer at all. Somewhere, at any one time, everyone’s personal information is stored on more than one computer. Ian will expand on the themes of his series of articles in VSJ. He’ll look at some of the issues we must address – not just as an Industry, not just as computer users, but as a society – if we are to continue to reap the benefits that IT has to offer.

Ian J. A. Walker, FIAP has been in the IT profession since the early 1980s, working in the railway and, latterly, construction industry before forming his own consultancy business in Wales in early 2005. Snowdonia Design & IT Services couples traditional IT consultancy with a graphic design business and, in conjunction with partners, supplies consultancy, software and hardware to the film and TV industry. It is also looking towards building on a successful track record in Data Recovery, expanding into IT Security and combating e-Crime. Snowdonia has recently launched an online IT e-Shop, IT 4 Wales (www.it4wales.co.uk). Ian has been a wheelchair user since a car crash 14 years ago.

Linux: Kevin Groves

Linux provides power and platform scaleability previously unavailable in such a neat little package – and for so little cost. Kevin will outline the Linux/GNU project, then explain why it is better (or not) than other platforms. Being privy to a range of projects/products in his role as Chair of the Kent Linux User Group and a part-time Linux consultant, he will be able to give some real world examples from the point of view of a developer. Points covered will include Web and server side development and Open Source projects such as the Karoshi school project in which he is involved.

Kevin Groves, MIAP is IT Supervisor for a Kent-based pharmaceutical company, managing and developing internal systems. In his spare time he runs a Linux consultancy serving the county of Kent. He has been Chair of the Kent Linux User Group since it was reformed five years ago. Personally, and through the LUG, Kevin is working to promote the use of Linux in business, charities and the home. His consultancy kSoft Creative Projects produces custom applications based on mini-ITX hardware and, of course, Linux.

Managing the Needs of an Offshore Client Base: Tim Benest

Tim will explain the challenges of servicing a client base that is both geographically and culturally disbursed. It is not just about technology but about managing the needs of the people who will use the software and solutions that analysts and programmers have developed. Tim will describe some of the techniques he uses to support his client base remotely, both from Jersey and from hotel rooms around the globe. Communication is key – understanding clients’ needs and being able to put yourself in their shoes.

Tim Benest, MIAP formed Taskforce Systems Limited about 15 years ago having previously worked in the financial sector as a programmer/analyst. His wealth management software, designed for the offshore finance community, is now used by major banks and private wealth management organisations in the Channel Islands, the Caribbean, Switzerland and Singapore.

The Institute of Continuing Professional Development: Jonathan Harris

A qualification is like food – it goes off after a few years! Many professions are imposing on their members a requirement to keep up-to-date. Continuing professional development is the systematic maintenance and improvement of knowledge, skills, competence and enhancement of learning, undertaken by professionals throughout their working lives. CPD and the wider concept of lifelong learning are vital in our increasingly networked world, where the growth of information and communications technologies dissolves distances. But to motivate busy people to really take CPD seriously is not easy – hence the founding of the Institute of Continuing Professional Development. The Institute promotes the values of lifelong learning and encouraging networking and partnership among individual professionals and the groups with which they are associated.  It also provides a real reward to those who take CPD seriously with a Fellowship of the Institute and a right to display the distinguishing letters FInstCPD after their names.

Jonathan Harris, CBE has long been an active member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He was instrumental in formulating the policy and driving its change from a UK based profession to a global one. He was its Millennium President (2000/01). Outside the RICS, he has a long-standing commitment to education. He was a Governor of the University of Westminster and was a member of the Professional Working Group of the Council for Excellence in Management and Leadership, set up by HMG. He is a Trustee of, and has chaired, Business Dynamics. 25 years ago he formed the Continuing Professional Development Foundation (an educational charitable trust that provides wide-reaching and economical CPD to busy professionals). More recently he established the Institute of Continuing Professional Development.

[Interesting project or development? Let us know at eo@iap.org.uk!]

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