Global Dispatches

Australian IT Group Urges Quality Push

SYDNEY -- The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has called for the widespread adoption of software quality assurance methodologies and professional standards to enhance Australia's status as an offshoring destination and reduce the risk that faulty software will be developed.

Speaking at the Software Industry Action Group's conference in Melbourne last week, ACS President Edward Mandla said Australia's federal government should push local vendors to use internationally recognized standards when developing and supplying software. Mandla also urged the government to require that employees of IT vendors become members of professional associations that can ensure they are suitably qualified, subscribe to a code of ethics and are subject to sanctions for breaches of professional standards.

"Australia is a world-class software developer, but we face increasing competition from offshore," Mandla said. "If we are to remain competitive and secure our place in the global market, we must be able to demonstrate our professional standards and credentials."

• Siobhan McBride, Computerworld Today (Australia)

Cisco Offers IT Skills to U.K. Prisoners

LONDON -- Cisco Systems Inc. is working with the U.K. government on a pilot program to establish academies that will teach IT skills to inmates, initially at 11 prisons, a spokesman for the country's Home Office said last week. The Home Office, which oversees the U.K.'s justice and immigration system, views the training program as a way to prepare prisoners for getting jobs after they finish serving their sentences and re-enter the community at large, the spokesman said.

The program currently has 900 students, who take part in twice-a-week classes over six-month sessions, the spokesman said. Cisco is the only company involved in the program at this point, he added. The project is a philanthropic offshoot of Cisco's Networking Academy Program, said Cisco spokeswoman Perveen Akhtar.

• Laura Rohde, IDG News Service

Italians Not Fond of Online Banking

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Italy's banks are missing out on online opportunities because Italian consumers are far more reluctant to use online banking than other Europeans are, according to a recent report by Forrester Research Inc. Italian consumers have a special fondness for cash and don't see the appeal of banking online, the report said, adding that Italy's banks haven't produced compelling online services.

Forrester analysts Elena Giovannini and Benjamin Ensor suggested that banks might boost participation by providing free trials of online banking, service guarantees, and better prices and interest rates for online users.

Compiled by Mitch Betts.

Briefly Noted

Research In Motion Ltd. is now offering its BlackBerry wireless service in India, through a partnership with Delhi-based Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd., the companies announced last week.

• John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

Groupe Steria SCA, an IT services company based in Paris, is negotiating to acquire Mummert Consulting AG in Hamburg, Germany, in hopes of expanding into the German IT services market.

• Peter Sayer, IDG News Service

African Sky, Africa's first specialized computer waste disposal and recycling company, was launched last week in Johannesburg. CEO Allan Werth said that less than 2% of computer waste in South Africa is recycled and that most obsolete equipment ends up in dumps.

• Samantha Perry, Computing South Africa

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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