In making the case for ICT professionalism and as noted by Brenda Aynsley OAM, ACS Fellow, CP Chair IFIP IP3:
Money for development is scarce, ICT projects are known for their failures, some spectacularly so. One report noted that from 10 case studies of large government ICT Enabled projects all were over budget by 200%, were late and failed to deliver the benefits that were attributed to them at the start. That report suggested the reasons for these failures were related to lack of proper skills in Leadership, Accountability and Governance, Planning, Funding, Probity and Procurement and Project Management.
In Brenda’s special speech this week to the assembly at the UN/ITU WSIS in Geneva, she further added:
Your Excellencies, our WSIS partners, ladies and gentlemen I am pleased to be able to once again have a few minutes to continue our dialogue about why we must begin to understand and apply professionalism in the practice of our ICTs . Almost nothing we do today does not involve ICTs. It is pervasive and ubiquitous, it has the power to enhance our lives and it has the ability to destroy what we value. We must continue to work hard to develop and deploy 'good ICTs'. This is not a value judgement but a necessity. Why, in the words of one of our colleagues who is a senior executive in very large organisation:
Given the reach of ICT in our lives, it is important for an ICT professional to be technically strong (in order to use the right technology for the relevant problem), ethically grounded (to ensure that technology is put to the right use), socially conscious (so that the technical solution takes into consideration elements of sustainability) and business savvy (to ensure commercial viability which is required for social prosperity and funding of new developments). It is only when an ICT professional is able to achieve all this AND continues to practice these tenets can he or she be considered trustworthy and can be relied upon to deliver for business and society the promise of ICT. Recently I read online the headline: "Critical software bug could down Boeing 787s midflight” and the article went on to say that until a proper fix could be developed and deployed airlines have been instructed to reboot their in flight computer controllers every 248 days to avoid the problem that will happen on the 249th day. This is a staggering situation that puts at risk almost 1 billion passengers who take to the air every year. In an environment which is highly regulated, air safety, how does this happen? It happens because business decisions are made every day that puts at risk someone or something of value to someone, perhaps many. It happens because people are not skilled sufficiently to do the job asked of them. It happens because the environment they work in is not sufficiently rigorous to ensure it does not and it happens because governments and businesses are prepared to take the risk! It is often seen to be more efficient to deal with an adverse outcome than it is to invest the time or money to prevent those outcomes ever occurring. The journey from Geneva 2003 to Tunis 2005 to WSIS +10 demonstrated this awareness and committed in the Outcomes Document to address different aspects to ensure confidence, security, privacy and personal data protection, safety and trust in the use of ICTs. Not only these but also a commitment to capacity building in those who operate, manage and create ICTs that we all use. I spoke out yesterday at our thematic workshop about the role that governments can play in encouraging innovative and creative ICTs and their beneficial use by all citizens. It is important that governments play their part in achieving this. IFIP's International Professional Practice Partnership is committed to continuing the WSIS journey and I invite you all to join with us as a means of enhancing the WSIS +10 journey in professionalism.
Professionalism is IT is echoed in comments made by other notables:
Tan Moorthy notable executive with InfoSys, Director IFIP IP3 Global Industry Council:
“Given the reach of ICT in our lives, it is important for an ICT professional to be technically strong (in order to use the right technology for the relevant problem)..." as quoted in Brenda's speech.
Vint Cerf co-creator of the internet. http://bit.ly/1JqYiwK“… I think with the degree of software that we’re surrounded by everywhere, that at some point we may be called to task for failing to do something that protects people’s interests and there may be liability, and as soon as that happens I think that some point of accreditation will be inescapable”
Houlin Zhao, secretary general of the ITU when asked, “How might ITU promote, within its many activities, professionalism in the practice of ICT?”
“In order to reach the maturity of our technologies and also reach the maturity status of our market we really need our experts, engineers and teaching meccas to show their maximum proficiency and professional skills. It’s quite important for us to look at this issue and try to work with our members to increase those skills and proficiencies.”
Bill Hutchison receipt the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Intelligent Community Forum of New York; recognition as "One of the World's Top 35 People to Watch" in 2009 and 2010
“When you think of the impact of computing over the years now it's at the heart of everything and it really is a profession and requires professional standards, testing and accountability. I'm 100 percent behind that idea...."