IN ORBIT: News snippets

IN ORBIT: News snippets

Oracle partners venture to network

Riding on the wave of a successful launch in the UK, Oracle recently unleashed its VentureNetwork online community concept on the Australian market. Oracle VentureNetwork provides a series of online tools and resources for emerging technology entrepreneurs, including the opportunity to build a business plan and submit it to a panel of potential investors.

Touted as a powerful networking resource for the Australian business community, VentureNetwork was created to place entrepreneurs in contact with industry leaders related to areas such as management, law, recruitment and corporate finance. Oracle also confirmed the participation of several antipodean partners including Australian Venture Capital Association, Technology Venture Partners, Griffth Hack, Hartley Poynton, Mills Harding, and the Fulcrum Group.

Community members are provided with free access to general consultancy advice. However, it is up to the individual companies to negotiate fees relating to the provision of more in-depth or company specific information. The network also includes an online chat forum.

VentureNetwork's European predecessor,, signed up 3000 participants in less than a year, and the company is hoping for a similar response from the Australian market. Oracle aims to gradually roll out their online business communities - or corporate nurseries - throughout the world, providing fledgling companies with access to international advice and mentoring.

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Call centre market poised for growth in Asia/PacThe Asia/Pacific call centre services market is expected to grow from $US1.2 billion ($2.4 billion) to $US4 billion by 2005, according to research group International Data Corporation (IDC). The boom is set to establish India, China and Australia as the market leaders and create opportunities for call centre integrators and outsourcers across the region.

"These opportunites, including implementation, operation and training, show a 2000-2005 compound annual growth rates (CAGR) across the region in excess of 25 per cent," says Phil Hassey, IDC's senior analyst for IS Outsourcing.

Over the next four years, IDC claims the call centre market in Australia will almost double, reaching a value of about $US924 Governments suppress Internet access The Internet has been widely credited as changing the balance of power between governments and information disseminators, but freedom of expression is far from complete, according to Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF).

The Paris-based media rights monitoring group recently named 45 governments across the developing world that are trying to restrict their citizen's access to the Internet. In the report "The Enemies of the Internet", RSF amongst others charged the governments of Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Lybia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan with imposing restrictions by installing filters blocking access to Web sites considered ‘unsuitable', forcing Internet users to register with state authorites or to subscribe to state-run Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

"The Internet is a two-edged sword for authoritarian regimes," RSF said. "On the one hand, it enables any citizen to enjoy an unprecedented degree of freedom of speech. On the other hand, the Internet is a major force in economic growth.

RSF has called upon the 45 governments to abolish state monopoly on Internet access, stop the control of ISPs and cancel their citizen's obligation to register with the government in order to gain Internet access.

For the full report, go to IT women tempted to quitStress and lack of a work/life balance in the IT workplace is taking such a toll on women in the industry that nearly half of the respondents to a recent survey report considered leaving their jobs.

That and other findings by the GLS Consulting survey have led the authors to conclude that women in IT are the "canary in the coal mine" warning that the New Economy workplace is destructive for employees - both men and women - and for organisations in the long run.

The survey of 265 members of World Women in Technology (WorldWIT), an online networking community of more than 7,000 women, found they are passionate about creative freedom and a relative lack of barriers to leadership in the IT world. But they have equally strong negative feelings about the around-the-clock lifestyle in the technology industry.

"You cannot live your life on burst mode. It's not sustainable," says Liz Ryan, founder of WorldWIT and Ucentric Systems LLC, a home networking start-up in the state of Massachusetts in the US. "You will not win and your employer will not win."

The survey found that 73 per cent of respondents reported a great sense of achievement, impact, satisfaction and opportunity for growth and creative freedom in the IT world. Further, they are willing to spend more time working if they can have flexible hours or work at home and have their success tied to performance, rather than "face time", in the office.

However, women are equally passionate about the downside of IT. A total of 68 per cent say they are worried about the stress of the lifestyle and the lack of balance; 65 per cent report work has had a negative impact on their personal lives.

The bottom line is that despite the positive aspects of their work in IT, 41 per cent are considering leaving their jobs. "The reasons we got involved in the first place are still there," says Ryan, "but they're being countered by the enormous draining pace and expectations. Women are asking: 'Is it still worth it?' And that's a very big question mark."

The survey authors say managers should realise that what women are experiencing in the IT workplace is very likely a reflection of men's experience, and that unreasonable stress and lack of work/life balance have the power to destroy productivity in the long run.

Source: Computerworld Online

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