This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Anthony Wong, ACS President, SEARCC President, CEO AGW Consulting, Past CIO, Leading Top-Ranking International Lawyer, Executive and Authority in Business and IT.
Mr. Anthony Wong is the January 2010 elected President of the Australian Computer Society (ACS), and September 2010 elected President of the South-East Asia Regional Computer Confederation (SEARCC).
Mr. Wong is the Chief Executive of a multidisciplinary ICT, Intellectual Property Legal and Consulting Practice, AGW Consulting Pty Ltd and has served as Chairman of ACS NSW for the past four years. An ICT professional for more than two decades, Mr. Wong has held senior management roles in multinationals and government. A qualified lawyer, accredited IT Disputes Mediator and an ex-CIO, Mr. Wong assists organizations with information and technology strategies, eCommerce, IT governance and compliance, privacy, technology licensing and intellectual property matters.
For the ACS (Australian Computer Society), Mr. Wong plans to focus on professional and skills development, education, the digital economy and raising awareness of the role technology can play in environmental sustainability.
"I am honoured to be entrusted with this national ACS leadership role, and I look forward to progressing the interests of ICT professionals around Australia," said Mr. Wong. "My focus as National President will be on matters that are critical both to professionals within our sector and to the general community – including ICT skill development, SME and innovation support, and use of ICT. I will also continue to promote the development of the digital economy and its potential impact on Australia’s economic growth. We need to look beyond Australia’s traditional drivers of economic prosperity – and to capitalize on the significant impact ICT innovations, products and services can have on improving the living standards of all Australians."
"Promoting professionalism within our sector will continue to be at the core of many of our initiatives – as it is key to reducing risk and helping to protect the reputation of Australia’s ICT professional community. Working with newly appointed CEO Bruce Lakin, we will further engage community and members to ensure the ACS remains relevant and dynamic," said Mr. Wong.
Mr. Wong holds bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Law from Monash University and a Master of Laws in Technology from UNSW. He was founding president of the NZ Society for Computers and Law and is a member of the International Technology Law Association and the NSW Law Society.
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Anthony, you are invited to speak at the 2nd World Chinese Economic Forum due to your globally recognized leadership. Tell us more about your talk and what you hope to achieve?
"….I’ll be talking about how technology, particularly the internet and broadband will create a new virtual silk road from China, Asia and to the rest of the world including the old markets of Europe…."
How does your talk tie in with your work in the industry or to the Australian Computer Society (ACS)?
"….My background is technology….I also have a background in law and I practice in the area of Information Technology and Intellectual Property. I’ll be using the experience I have in IT, law and management to see how we can tie all these different areas together and see how they can help create the new silk road for transformation innovation and connection for the Chinese diasporas spread throughout the world. Rather than a physical silk road this will be a virtual road created by the power of communication and their convergence with computing devices and digital media…."
You recently participated in the Innovation Study for the ICT Industry Innovation Council. Can you summarize key lessons from this work?
"….One of the purposes of the Council is to provide networking and collaborative opportunities to support the different activities for innovation transformation in the Australian landscape. We are working with a number of people from all walks of life who work in the ICT industry from the government community, research facilities, practitioners and the community to support and power new ideas to create an innovative agenda for Australia into the 21st century. As part of the membership of that Council I have also been invited to undertake an interview conducted by KPNG and the University of Sidney to see what CEOs mean when they say they want to innovate…."
You were recently interviewed by ABC Radio on the airlines computer system crash. Can you profile what happened and what measures can be taken to prevent this from occurring again?
"….It appeared there was a hardware crash in the system and the backups did not come about for about a day….This was a big illustration of the impact of technology and the impact when technologies do not function as they should…There are some safeguards that we need to put into place, especially when we are moving into areas of critical infrastructure…."
Do you see a role in having a professional workforce to support the critical infrastructure, to have quality standards and so on?
"….This reliance on technology raises the issue of professional standards because as the world becomes more dependent on ICT, we need to ensure that the systems we use are reliable. We also need to ensure that the people designing, installing and supporting them are operating at the highest professional standards….The ACS certification is our key element in our campaign to drive professionalism and it is an important initiative….Also working with our sister organizations around the world through IP3 and IFIP to build this momentum for a single international standard for professionalism for ICT professionals…."
The ACS hosted the 2010 World Computing Congress (WCC) – the Olympics of computing held every two years. In addition, for the first time there was an event called IP3-Day. Can you summarize some of the key outcomes from the WCC and IP3-Day and what this means to each of the stakeholder audiences?
"….World Computing Congress 2010 – Provided huge public and business community awareness of ICT professionals, their innovations and achievements….IP3-day – Demonstrated to Australia and the rest of the world how critical this issue of professionalism is not only to ICT but to the rest of the world because of the dependency now on ICT in everything we do…."
How is the Australian Computer Society (ACS) leading the world through its programs?
"….The Australian Computer Society is one of the largest professional bodies for ICT in the Asian region….Our ACS membership implies a high standard for professional and ethical conduct, integrity and trustworthiness and we are very committed to providing our members with the best quality professional development and outstanding networking opportunities….The ACS was the very first professional association to have its certification program recognized by IP3…."
What are your objectives for the ACS as President?
"….Delivering and enhancing the level of professional recognition our members are to receive. The key strategies that are to be employed are the three E’s….Empowerment, Engagement, and E-thought leadership…."
What are your objectives for Southeast Asian Regional Computer Confederation (SEARCC) as President?
"….To advance ICT professionalism in the Asian region working through SEARCC. Working collaboratively by involvement and our relevance to raise the profile of the ICT and our ICT sectors to the government and business community sectors in those countries…."
What is the role of professional societies and why should professionals get involved?
"….Governments are now recognizing the importance of professionalism in ICT because of its critical role in transforming our economic and community landscape – not just in Australia but throughout the world. It’s an opportunity for people working in this field to come and shape the profession as we move forward…."
What role do you see the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) a UNESCO consultative body for IT, and the International Professional Practice Partnership Program (IP3) which is all about creating a profession with IT playing regionally and globally?
"….IP3 supported by IFIP is leading the development of a global ICT profession by providing a platform that will help shape and implement relevant policies which foster professionalism in IT worldwide….I believe that IP3 will create an infrastructure that will encourage and support that development, not just for the practitioners but also the employer organizations, by giving recognition to those who meet and maintain the standards for knowledge, experience, competency and integrity. IFIP and IP3 have a huge role to play moving forward with their sister organizations throughout the world…."
What is meant by ‘ICT as a true global profession’?
"….There are international standards of some of our programming languages, international standards for computing device connectivity, and we have many ISO standards….Because of those innovations, in a relatively short time of our IT history, we already have a platform for global sharing and transfer of knowledge and technology. As a result, I see that ICT will be the very first profession with that opportunity for global recognition and mobility. Going through the IP3 structure with IFIP it will create a global accreditation standard for people working in the IT profession who would like to move across national and geographical boundaries, and that will provide huge benefits for transfer of knowledge, skills and technology to different parts and new areas…."
Can your profile the value delivered from your business roles?
"….In addition to being an ICT professional for more than 25 years, I am also a qualified solicitor and lawyer who practices in the area of information technology and intellectual property. This relatively new area of law looks at the issues in the uses of ICT and how they should be regulated, legislated and how we should help with disputes when they happen….One new area which is cropping up everyday is the issue of privacy and security through the emergence of cloud computing….We also have growth in intellectual property which is an intangible concept….These are some of the issues that I have to deal with day to day but it is a very exciting area because it allows me to be very creative; to look at new innovative ways of solving problems in the new media…."
What three pivotal lessons do you wish to share from your considerable history of national and international success?
"….Issues regarding the ownership of intellectual properties….In the area of IT governance going forward…..In the area of leadership….."
In your prior roles, what were the most difficult challenges that you were not able to overcome at that time? What would you do differently now?
"….I’ve worked in projects where a lot of emphasis was put on doing processes and we actually forgot what we were there to do in the first place which was to deliver systems…What I’ve learned is there is a balance of things which are not necessarily the same for everything, so in a particular project, we had to look at it as unique and to say how much emphasis should be put for different aspects of technology…."
What were the key disruptive forces driving change in your life and how can we learn from your experiences?
"….I question whether the monetary gain is the only way to judge the return on investment because there are other value systems in addition to money which are just as important. Working on things that are sustainable rather than using technology to drive things to achieve gains at all costs to achieve a revenue target….I was also fortunate to be the CIO for the Australian Tourism during the Sydney Olympics and my job was to show how to use the new digital media to spread the word of tourism around the globe using the new emergence of the internet. That was one of the most delightful, challenging experiences I had in using technology for information-sharing, branding the global tourism messages for Australia…."
You choose the areas–provide your predictions of future trends and what you see as their implications and opportunities.
"….Technology comes and goes but some things I believe will remain in our landscape and will be challenging us every step we go – as we evolve using technology. Those challenges I believe are privacy and security issues…."
Please share one or more stories (something surprising, unexpected, amazing, or humorous) from your work.
"….One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is the diversity of the human species…."
If you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"….’If we move forward to a 24/7 world economy, how do we actually function knowing that we can’t function 24 hours a day as a human? How do we manage that balance moving forward when there are human limitations on what we can do in a single day?’…."