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ACS Week in Review: 30 August 2013

Friday, 30 Aug 2013

There is still time to tell the ACS and the Federal Government what an Australian Consumer cloud protocol should look like.  Over 160 people attended our Melbourne Cloud workshop and we are looking at the same numbers in Sydney today. The ACS Australian Cloud Protocol discussion paper is available here.

You can also attend Cloud Protocol Workshops in Brisbane and Canberra. These discussions will be facilitated by the ACS and will encourage frank and open consideration of the 8 questions raised in the discussion paper. Representatives from the DBCDE and the ACS Cloud Special Interest Groups will also be in attendance to answer your questions. 

Brisbane – September 4 – Register Here
Canberra – September 5 – Register Here

ICAC seeks ACS Input

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has sought the guidance of the Australian Computer Society regarding the increasing use of IT contractors on major projects.

The ACS was approached as the peak representative body for the technology workforce, and with a membership of over 22,000 are well positioned to provide unique insight into the challenges facing IT contractors and project managers alike.

Specific challenges identified by ICAC include the overstatement of qualifications by contractors, managing risk associated with scope creep and project delay and strategies for ongoing management of contractors to encourage collaborative and successful project completions.

The ACS is pleased to be able to provide expert advice to ICAC and is looking forward to working with the various stakeholders who will be able to help address what are critical issues affecting the digital economy. We outlined these issues in our successful ACS OAMPS insurance workshops for the SME sector.

Cloud providers urged to collaborate

Australian cloud computing providers are under pressure to collaborate more as an industry and even consider "country of storage" labelling, following a call for greater transparency in Europe.

It comes in the wake of high profile outages suffered by Google, Apple and Microsoft Outlook users last week, and several recent calls in Australia for co-operation and regulation in the data centre and cloud computing industries.

Last week European Data Centre Alliance spokesman Phil Turtle suggested the lack of global cooperation between cloud players was an indication of the immaturity of the industry. "Currently the industry exhibits too many knowledge silos and an unnecessary fear of working together with competitors to share best-practice. That's something mature industries find highly beneficial."

The Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) welcomed the DCA's call, with a spokesman saying that risk management and staff training for data centres should be given the same treatment as other infrastructure essential for national and international security.

Lies, damned lies and conceptual leaps – Coal and IT

There’s been a fair bit of commentary the last couple of weeks about a provocative report on the electricity consumption of the IT industry.

Mark Mills, head of an organisation calling itself the ’Digital Power Group’, has written a report called ‘The Cloud Begins with Coal’. Its long subtitle is: ‘Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure and Big Power: An Overview of the Electricity used by the Global Digital Ecosystem’.

Notice the ‘Coal’ bit. The report was sponsored by the US coal industry – The National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy. Credibility alert!

We work in IT, there are half a million of us, and we vote!

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has called on the major political parties to address five key issues that it says are holding back the Australian economy. It points out that the digital economy contributes more to GDP than mining, and employs more than 550,000 Australians.

ACS president, Dr Nick Tate, said: “For too long Australia has believed the myth that mining and agriculture are the only paths that can continue to grow our economy. Like our regional partners, we need to recognise that the digital economy has become the key component of the economy, and we need Government to support this vital growth area.”

The ACS has identified the five key issues as being: support for ICT skills; improving digital literacy; developing a means of providing quality advice on IT to the government; getting better data on the digital economy; and more open access to government data.

The ACS says there is an urgent need to reverse the decline of people choosing to study ICT. “This will require a mix of changing the misconceptions and attitudes as to what a career as an ICT professional can offer, plus greater collaboration between the training and education sectors, employers and the professional body to ensure our ICT skills base matches economy needs.”

Optus offshores 130 IT jobs

ZDnet reports today that Optus has confirmed 130 IT jobs will be offshored. The ACS will write to Optus asking what kind of roles these are.  While it is naïve to suggest that no IT job should ever be offshored, the ACS is concerned that students are being sent a not so subtle message that IT is not a career worth pursuing particularly at a time when Australia faces real and pressing IT skills challenges – both in the number of new graduates available to industry and in the barriers to employment, re-employment and ICT training faced by older workers and women.  Were these roles the kind of entry level roles a new IT graduate would be hoping to land to get valuable industry experience? What is the Optus view on encouraging a more positive focus on IT?