I suppose it was inevitable that after the excitement of winning the rugby World Cup; the controversy leading up to Jake White’s resignation; the unresolved debate around the transformation of rugby; and the Proteas proving in Pakistan that they are not total chokers, we would have to get back to the humdrum of life in the real world.
And if the real world means having to get back to issues surrounding the IT industry, then there could be no better place to start than with the recent decision by the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) to terminate its outsourced contract and take direct responsibility for its own systems.
Without getting into the pros and cons of why this decision was taken or what the legal, operational, cost and other ramifications may be when the respective parties get down to severing their relationship, the fact that the JSE has ended up in this position is extremely alarming.
Set up as the "ultimate" authority on how listed companies should be managed, the JSE sets world-class standards when it comes to reporting to shareholders and other stakeholders. Among these standards are the stringent requirements that need to be met when it comes to "corporate governance" and compliance with the King Reports.
And as far as corporate governance is concerned, information technology has been identified as one of the key factors to be dealt with by any listed company.
On the surface at least, and according to a number of highly-respected and well-informed experts, it seems that the JSE may have failed to apply many of the so-called "best-practice" and corporate governance principles that it imposes on its members when it comes to its own IT operations.
Several questions have already been raised by these experts regarding the JSE’s apparent lack of attention to detail in areas such as risk analysis and internal control measures dating back to when the outsourcing contract was first set up just over two years ago.
When the time comes and the dust settles, it’s going to be interesting to see how the JSE reports in detail to its shareholders on corporate governance issues related to IT.
But then again, with IT being the "inexact science" that we all know it usually is, there is bound to be plenty of scope for JSE management to duck and dive.
– David Bryant