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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Has RBS put the Information Society back 5 Years or saved us from worse?

As detail emerges to confirm the scalenature and source of the problems faced by RBS and the impact on its customers we an begin to ponder the consequences, including for HMG  aspirations to move its dealings with the most vulnerable in society not only on-line, but reliant on call centres and support staff based on the other side of the world.  

Cabinet Office is in the process of organising the frameworks under which the next generation of central government services will be procured. Some have been announced, others are just going out to tender. But what will be the effect on public confidence of last weeks public and small business experience, if the industry closes ranks professionally and says "it was just one of those things that happen in todays complex on-line world".   

Last week I agreed to help organise an exercise on the nature of trust in the on-line world. 

That exercise has just become a lot more urgent. It may also have, paradoxically, become  very much easier. This may be one of those moments, like the Tay Bridge Disaster, when an industry is forced to grow up. The failings of cast iron bridges had been shown over 30 years earlier when the Dee Bridge fell down  The basic disciplines of systems engineering for systems to support remote on-line transaction processing are also over 30 years old. That has not prevented each new generation of supposed "computer professionals" from having to relearn the mistakes of their predecessors. The mixing of executable code and data was a firing offence for my generation. It is now deemed "essential" to get the throughput needed.    

The enquiry into the Tay Bridge Disaster, when the Admirality Commissioner of Wrecks over-rode the excuses of the most eminent engineers of the day (including his assessors), changed professional attitudes for ever - albeit not necessarily for good.  

Is this a Tay Bridge moment? 

Probably not. Not enough people are dead - although if RBS has to be put down as its customers walk away and the rest of us go back to carrying cash reserves in case our Cards stop working ...  

Rooney didn't perform

Roy Hodgson admits Wayne Rooney failed to live up to expectations as England crashed out of Euro 2012 but insists the fitness of the striker was not an issue.
Head coach Hodgson was aware of the pressure on Rooney to perform at his best after returning from a two-match ban for his sending off against Montenegro in a qualifying game last October. But, after scoring the winner against Ukraine, Rooney was below par in the quarter-final defeat by Italy when England were beaten 4-2 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes.
Hodgson said: "I think we put a lot of expectations on Wayne. Wayne certainly tried very hard, but he didn't have his best game. I think he would admit that."
He added: "When he missed the first two games, we were all believing that what we needed to do was to get to the third game and Wayne Rooney will win us the championships.
"That maybe was too much to ask of him."
But Hodgson conceded it was natural for the onus to be on the top players to perform on the biggest stages.
He said: "Do we put too much expectation on Rooney? Well we do, but so do other teams with their players, don't they? I think had (Andrea) Pirlo played poorly, it might have affected the Italians' performance.
"I think in all top international teams, you're looking at one, two, possibly three individuals that everyone recognises as being exceptional world-class talents.
"When you get to the big stage, you're hoping those players perform and show they're world-class talents, like the Maradonas that win Argentina a World Cup with his performance."