MR. JOHN IVINSON was
born in 1944 and graduated from the University of Keele in 1967 where he
read Geography and American Studies. He joined IBM and later Philips
where he progressed from Trainee Programmer to Senior Analyst.
He became a consultant with Arthur Andersen &
Co., then with Altergo Ltd., before becoming an independent consultant
in 1984, trading from his own company. His principal skills are in
systems development, computer audit and computer project management and
he lectures in these three fields. More recently he has specialized in
the Year 2000 issue and EMU.
He has worked both nationally and internationally for
a large number of clients in a wide range of industries, including Ford,
Woolworth, ARAMCO (in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia for two years), The Post
Office, CSFB, BAA, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Blue Circle
Industries, Comp teach International Ltd., PA, MANWEB, BZW. DTI, DfEE,
IT NTO and Action 2000 Ltd.
He joined the British Computer Society (BCS) in 1967,
was made a Fellow in 1982 and has held a number of offices, including
Chairman of the London Branch, Member of Council, Chairman of Technical
Board, Chairman of Royal Charter Committee and Chairman of the
International Policy Committee. He was the founding President of the
London Chapter of the EDP Auditors Association (now renamed ISACA) and
is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (1989). He sat on DTI Working
Party to create an Accredited Certification Scheme for BS7799
(Information Security Management) and sits on the BSI Committee for the
Year 2000 Activities — He was appointed by PPAB to
be the BCS Spokesperson on the Millennium Date Change Issue. He was the
Chairman of the Society's Year 2000 Working Party, which has produced
four BCS Guides on the subject. He has been appointed as Specialist
Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and
Following a request from the Bank of England, he was
also appointed to be the BCS Spokesperson on the EURO and to produce the
BCS Guide "Preparing for the EURO".
He was also Joint Director of the DfEE Bug Busters
His leisure interests include food and wine and he is
an active member of the International Food & Wine Society where he
was Honorary International Treasurer and a Member of Council. He has
recently been awarded the Society's Silver Medal.
INTERVIEW WITH KALPOINT.COM
tell us what is the work domain of British Computer Society and how far
have you been successful in attaining your Aims & Objectives?
JOHN IVINSON: We
have a comprehensive web site, which contains large information about
British Computer Society. It is www.bcs.org.uk. The aim of the society
is quite simple that is to collect IT professionals. The major objective
of the society is to educate people in the world of computing and
development of computers. To do that we have people who are interested
in all aspects of computing and we have what we call special interest
groups. So if you are interested in a web site, then we have a group of
people who come together to meet and discuss about the development of
web sites. There are 50 different special interest groups. We have a
very highly regarded academic channel called The Computer Channel which
is published once a week and quarter. It is very advanced and has lots
of information from papers Published bi-academic all around the world.
There's also some more stuff, which I do not understand because it has
very advanced physics and mathematics. We have a monthly bulletin. We
conduct geographic meetings. We are in link with the British Government,
so when a new legislation comes in, we are to assist the Government. We
are being consulted by the Government that actually meets our objective
that is to educate the Government and British population because we are
computer experts. We are an IT chartered body. So we have the power to
control and look after quality.
there any joint venture between Pakistan and British Computer Society?
Any plans in the pipeline?
JOHN IVINSON: Yes,
hopefully we are going to have a conversation during my visit. We are
very keen on working with the Computer Society of Pakistan (CSP). We are
interested in providing info about our examination, our qualification
and our publications that would be of any assistance to CSP. I am
looking forward to that.
did you find Pakistani IT professionals and do you think they are
competitive enough to survive the international software competition?
JOHN IVINSON: I
have neither employed any one from Pakistan as yet and nor I have worked
in conjunction with Pakistani IT society. But I have some people who
have taken our exams. They do have high IT qualification. I have no
doubts about that in my mind. One thing, which I would like to talk
about, is outsourcing. From USA to Mexico, from Germany to Poland and
France to Algeria, outsourcing is taking place but there has never been
any mentioning of Pakistan and it seems pretty strange to me. Pakistan
was missing from a list of countries which have outsourcing
arrangements. I have seen high standard of education and people have
very good command on English in Pakistan. It is really strange why we
are not using Pakistani IT professionals for outsourcing purposes. I am
very enthusiastic to talk about these professionals. If you demonstrate
that Pakistani IT professionals are qualified, have got experience and
understand that practice then I think very good opportunities are
waiting for them.
do you see the future of IT worldwide in the long term?
JOHN IVINSON: When
the computer industry started in 1950-51, everyone was amazed what those
computers could do. They started saying that we don't need more because
these computers can perfectly do all we require but as you can see that
those computers can't be used today. Now people have taken computers in
their every day fact of life. We are treating computers like telephone
or television. So the amazement about computers has disappeared. It is
up to the individual's imagination how he applies it. Computers are also
being used in the medical world, they are instrumental in advanced
research in to the development of new drugs and new cures. You must know
about the Geno project, mapping of Genes & identification of all
those functions. This is a vast field where they are going to do all
these research and as a result of these researches we can identify the
solutions and people may live longer. We will require computers to
develop those solutions. Computers are also a tremendous source of
entertainment. Many retired people are now using computers and Internet
to spend their time. And we still have to travel in space; we still have
to crack time barrier and travel in time. I am sure that the more
development is going to happen which will involve computers as a source
of building projects. Now we are moving towards the application. So it
is a vast field and much more remains to happen in it.
was your experience working with different well-reputed national and
international organizations? What major difference did you find between
We (BCS) are a chartered professional body whereas other organizations
around the world like ACM are learned societies. They are not very
concerned with the individual's qualification; they are more concerned
about the research and development in a particular field. It's difficult
for me to make comparison between the body that is a very learned
society and one, which is a professional body. I have spoken with
Chinese computer society & Hong Kong institute of Engineers etc.
They all have different levels of developments. Chinese have got a huge
membership of 30 thousands people but they don't do any thing because
they don't practice prescription & don't hold meetings etc. On the
other side of the spectrum British Computer Society is the oldest
professional computer society in the world. We started in 1957. We have
got much more experience and are intensely ahead in maturity. If we can
share our experiences for the benefit of other countries then we would
be so happy to do so.
would like to have your comments on work done by Kalia Group to endorse
the field of Information Technology in the country.
JOHN IVINSON: I
have seen very good office and tremendous development environment here.
I have not yet seen the entire project. A superb demonstration was
presented to me. It is the first piece of work of its kind that I have
seen. If I were 25 or 30 years old, I would probably have wanted to join
your esteemed organization but I am so close to retirement now
(laughingly). I am highly impressed by the work I have seen so far.
category of KalPoint.com did you like most and why?
JOHN IVINSON: All
those categories, which were demonstrated to me, were of great value.
Well, I would be more interested in Kids category. There should be an
interactive site for kids where they can interact with each other and
different competitions would take place.
message for the Youth of Pakistan and the World?
JOHN IVINSON: You
have to get as many qualifications as you possibly can.