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PROFILE

JOHN IVINSON

COLUMN FOR THE RECORD
POLITICS & POLICY 1- LOCAL BODIES CONVENTION
2-
PAK-INDONESIA RELATIONS
 
JOHN IVINSON



Dec 22 - 28, 2003
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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 Standard.

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 Technology.

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 Scheme.

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

KALPOINT: Plz 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.

KALPOINT: Is 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.

KALPOINT: How 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.

KALPOINT: How 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.

KALPOINT: How was your experience working with different well-reputed national and international organizations? What major difference did you find between their workings?

JOHN IVINSON: 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.

KALPOINT: We 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.

 

 

KALPOINT: Which 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.

KALPOINT: Any message for the Youth of Pakistan and the World?

JOHN IVINSON: You have to get as many qualifications as you possibly can.