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Towards a global cyber institute – Part 2.
By Allan J. Sayle, President Allan Sayle Associates


The BAMs provide secretarial services for administrating membership, collection of dues, running the web site, selling courses and materials, collecting, editing and publishing articles for the house magazine, selling advertisements, arranging courses and so forth.

As stated in Part 1 of this article, the core material comes from members time, effort, experience and largesse. Volunteer members run all sections, divisions, branches, regions and work groups. HQ might post minutes, reports and so forth, but that, too, is merely secretarial work. The associated input is generally the result of the volunteer member efforts anyway. All such material can easily be uploaded to a web site for all to see. And it can be done quickly requiring no special skills. Cut, paste and post are skills known now by four-year-old children.

In a new cyber based Institute, there would be a certain amount of administrative work. Most can be done through information technology. As mentioned, dues can be paid on-line; reminders can be automatically emailed to members; knowledge materials can be ordered on-line; reports of local meetings posted by members. Maintaining and running the servers does require centralized human activity. Most of the rest does not. And since members are already willing to spend time doing the essential work for the BAMs, why should one believe they would not do the same for their new cyber-Institute?

If the new Institute is to have a HQ, it would be where the servers are sited and maintained. Otherwise, the operational HQ rests within thousands of PCs and laptops of the members, dispersed around the world.

One might ask “could a cyber-based Institute also coordinate courses, curricula, training providers and so forth?” There seems no reason why not and the possibility is allowed for in the suggested “Objects and purposes of the Institute”, section, above. So that matter will now be discussed.

Training courses and certification

Courses of many descriptions, some concerning “quality”, are available through the internet. The number and variety are growing. Professional people will likely want bachelor or master degrees in “Quality Management” in future and these are now readily available on line from accredited universities. Some employers acknowledge such certificates as the ASQ’s CQE, CQM: others do not, as posts on the Cove reveal. At technical level, the latter certificates are easily made available through the internet as well and a new cyber based Institute could offer them or approve providers that do.

The new Institute could easily set its own BOKs in various fields. It could easily run its own training courses through outsourcing similar to what exists at present. It could also issue certificates. Volunteer work, why not? That is the foundation of existing BOKs and certificates anyway. And it could be substantially cheaper than at present.

For particular certifications, each might have its own “eminent” panel, curricula internationally agreed and embracing world-class practices, tools, techniques and knowledge. Basic BOKs already exist that were created by quality professionals: these could be quickly reviewed, upgraded and published. The panel could decide whether or not training organizations applying for recognition or outsourced services to the Institute meet the Institute’s prescribed standards for delivery and conduct of certification training courses.

Major corporations wishing to run their own internal courses could also apply for recognition.

Examinations could be periodically held, run by volunteers, as at present in the case of the BAMs. The volunteers would receive recognition for their efforts and assistance.

“Grandfathering” should not be permitted.


Conferences have become primarily cash cows and content is generally of secondary importance in which HQ people have little if any interest.

Conferences tend to be constant repetitions of worn out themes that might interest and impress newcomers to the quality movement but seldom do anything to stimulate more experienced people. The quality world’s “demography of experience” is constantly skewing towards greater numbers of seasoned quality professionals and practitioners: for them worn-out themes and mundane presenters lack attraction.

Side Bar: In 1995, I tried to advise an ASQ chairman that the demographics of the quality movement and especially auditors was changing. I observed the balance of numbers would inevitably swing towards experienced people being in the majority. Thus, conference content had to change and rookie tracks and topics must become a minority part, if the real market of auditors was to be tapped in coming years and their interest in participating was to be retained. I suggested a number of cutting edge topics requiring discussion: I am still waiting. A recent (2005) conference organized by the EOQ, held in Turkey, had a disproportionate number of papers by academics, committee people and so forth. The poor content failed to convince me spending on transatlantic travel, hotel, attendance fees et al was a good investment.

I have also repeatedly suggested to the ASQ’s Quality Audit Division that it should invite speakers from countries beyond the USA. That still does not happen to a substantial extent and the event tends to be predominantly American in terms of speakers. In an international world, that is a pity.

But, it does not take long for one to spot the regular presenters. In a global world, where the BAMs and registrars try to make much about the international level of interest in “quality”, the pool of good talent is considerable.

In the case of the ASQ, as I understand it, volunteer members organize the division conferences, assess and select venues, negotiate contracts with the chosen location, design the sessions and tracks, vet and choose submitted papers, organize the transactions, deal with sponsors and advertisers, choose keynote speakers, create the copy for advertising brochures and web sites, stuff the delegates’ conference bags with transactions, act as track chairs, register delegates and undertake any number of duties needed for thee smooth running of the events on the day. I am informed HQ people do comparatively little and what they do could also be done by volunteers or automatically using IT.

One is hard-pressed to know what an HQ could offer except, perhaps, a legal entity that can provide hotel venues with a guarantee of funds and an address for contractual purposes. A properly organized cyber institute, too, could provide that.

Why do people attend? So often I hear them say, “I only really come for the opportunity to network”, or “I like to meet old friends each year”. Networking can be effectively done through the internet and other means of communications: social events are a little different.

Present day conference promoters organize registration, credit card payment of fees, articles submission and so forth using the internet, as could the new Institute. Conference proceedings could be downloaded from the Institute library for a fee if one does not wish to attend. After all, we are only discussing various applications of digital technology as most conferences currently provide attendees with a CD anyway.

If a cyber institute wants to run a conference, everything is available – especially the experience – for doing so. All that is needed is for those members of BAMs who are experienced in running conferences to join up and take the lead. More importantly, a cyber institute’s conference could be a world event held anywhere: its members can create the necessary teams – internationally – coordinating their efforts through email etc.

The cyber Institute’s conferences might occur on line, using video conferencing facilities. They could even be conventional ones. What would be different would be the level of conference fees. Remove the costs associated with the BAMs HQs “efforts” and its expectations of a considerable share in the profit or a license fee for using its name and there may be considerable savings.

Next: Registration schemes and registrars




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