Limelight shines on knowledge outsourcing

Published on 09/11/2008

By Michael Ouma

Even as the ICT industry players focus more on marketing the country’s potential in business process outsourcing (BPO), there is need to also focus on knowledge process outsourcing (KPO).

This is because whereas BPO requires employees to handle the non-core aspects of the client’s operations, KPO is more advanced. However, BPO by nature could earn operators more revenue due to the type of jobs being outsourced.

Speaking during the presentation of PIN certificates for certified information systems auditors (Cisa) and certified information systems manager (Cism) awards ceremony, organised by the Kenya chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (Isaca) recently, Information and Communications Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said focus on KPO was important due to large personnel and expertise even with current efforts to promote the country as a BPO destination.

The PS said the certification would enable the country attract KPO-related jobs from the rest of the world as the clients are assured of the competence and effectiveness of those performing their outsourced work.

Said Dr Ndemo: “By standardisation of certification, a client from say the US would be confident in the knowledge that whoever is handling their work is competent as she or he has been certified by an international professional body.”

Certified professionals

Echoing the PS’ comments, Isaca-Kenya’s exams coordinator John Walubengo said the country has more than 100 certified information systems professionals who should form part of the national ICT Board’s marketing focus when marketing the country’s potential.

Responding to the challenge about the need for Isaca-Kenya to create more awareness about information systems security to increase the number of professionals in the area locally, Mr Walubengo said one of the association’s goals was to interact with education institutions to market the course by including information security in IT courses.

The PS said there is need for competence in information system audits to be made mandatory adding that current audit structures will not help as systems are getting online.

Ndemo further said that information systems auditors are needed locally to check and verify the security of clients’ money being transferred through such services like M-Pesa, PostaPay, Zain’s M-Commerce (formerly Sokotele).

Other operators, said the PS, are coming up with other related services, which would soon transform the country into a paperless society and require assured security to protect users of such services.

“Online transactions are moving at a fast pace and need robust information security systems to protect users against non-authentic access,” said Dr Ndemo.

Data security

The PS also said even though losses arising from data security issues are not documented, it is estimated the that the country’s financial institutions could be losing up to Sh5 billion annually to incidences related information security issues.

On legislation, the PS said that the proposed Data Protection Bill would seek input from systems auditors before it can be taken before parliament for debate.

Through this, said the PS, issues dealing with Cisa and Cism would then be incorporated into the Data Protection and the Electronic Transactions Bills.

Isaca was founded in 1969 as an auditors’ association but the body has, however, over the years gone beyond financial audit and currently handles information technology (IT) governance issues.

The Isaca-Kenya Chapter was created in 1999 to promote and advance members knowledge on IT governance and security. Interest in the profession has recorded steady growth after accounting and audit anomalies led to the collapse of both Enron and WorldCom.

According to Mr Roy Akalah, an Isaca-Kenya board member, the association aims to impart on its members knowledge related to IT security and governance issues to enable them be better efficient and effective while carrying out audits.

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