Dark places, white spaces and soft skills in IT
This past week we’ve had a good mix of comments from our readers who, as always, made us think a little harder about the Canadian IT topics we write about.

One of our stories looked at how research has shown that employees are not particularly well-informed about whether their organization is using cloud technology. But one commenter felt that the study had simply demonstrated the obvious: that many employees aren’t interested in their companies’ internal workings.

Commenter Sythica wrote that this shouldn’t be a big concern, however:
“Am I motivated by or informed about my IT department’s KPI’s? Of course not. The computer is simply a tool I use to provide a service or good to a customer. You might as well do a survey asking if the average employee is aware if their company is going to switch from pens to pencils.
“The same work still needs to be done with either tool. If the new tool is not user friendly, it will (and should) be rejected.”
Norman Sung, senior product manager of cloud services at Telus Corp., felt somewhat differently. He noted that the myriad technologies lumped together as “cloud” are relevant to employees to different degrees:
I think the findings reinforce the need for companies to crystallize their cloud computing strategies, articulate them clearly, and implement it in a trial-to-mainstream type of evolutionary fashion so that the organization can learn together and refine their cloud strategy at each iteration.
“There is still a lot of imperfect understanding / misconceptions about cloud computing and the differing types of clouds that provide dramatically different functions and geared towards specific groups — IaaS for IT infrastructure managers, PaaS for programmers, SaaS for end users.

“The first two have no relevance to most of the company’s employees – they are not directly impacted. SaaS can mean changes for the end users, so it must be implemented like any other broad system change — user involvement in design, training and education.”

And on the topic of IT employees, we featured a video interview with Tim Collins, CEO of Stafflink Solutions Ltd., a Toronto IT staffing firm, in which he spoke about the “soft skills” tech pros have to demonstrate in job interviews. Among other things, Stafflink helps its clients present themselves in an articulate, confident way, something that can make or break an IT job interview, even if the job-seeker has an impressive list of technical skills.  

Reader Neil wrote that nothing brings out confidence better than reliving a past success:
“Some great tips in there! I agree with talking about accomplishments. It really gets the candidate excited about what they have done in the past.”
Then there was an article we wrote about the debate about how to deliver broadband access in rural areas of Ontario’s York region. In King Township, for example, only half of its residents have access to high-speed Internet.
But CarlsonWireless had an interesting solution — deliver it wirelessly using so-called TV “white space”:
“If environmental interference is the issue, TV white space is the answer because the wireless signal doesn’t require line of sight. It’s a great solution for deployments in low teledensity areas because it doesn’t require a lot of infrastructure. And of course, there are lots of unused TV channels in rural areas. Why not put them to a good use?”