Thursday, March 06, 2008

ICT Futures for Australia

Greetings from the ACS Canberra Branch Conference in Canberra. I will be blogging from the conference. The CEO Kumar Parakala opened the event on the topic Relationship Relevance and Reputation. He talked about the way ICT is driving the Singapore economy and accelerating in India. The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy was next on "ICT Futures". He described how he was heckled by the opposition when he first brought a laptop into the parliamentary chamber for question time and the surprise from colleagues when he first used it for a cabinet presentation. He claimed to be the first minister to use a laptop at question time in the Australian Parliament and the first minister to use a computer for a presentation in Cabinet.

The ACS National Office asked me to blog the conference. I am sitting in the back row, next to Senator Lundy, who has brought along a prototype OLPC and is typing away beside me. You may see the back of her head and the OLPC on the TV news. On the other side of us is an old fashioned journalist with a notebook taking short hand. Given the rate at which I can type, shorthand is probably a better option. ;-)

Senator Conroy is now discussing the issues with safety online, particularly for children. Part of the new Australian government's policy is to provide computers for school children with the Digital Education Revolution policy. The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) recently issued a request for tender for an "E-Security Education Module for Australian Schools".

One advantage I can see with the OLPC is its silent rubber keyboard. My clicky laptop is causing some annoyance for the other conference delegates.

The senator mentioned Skills Australia will have more than $14M to spend. I didn't catch the details, but from the Deputy PM it appears it will "... analyse current and emerging skills needs in the Australian economy – both in the broader economy and demands across industry sectors... assess evidence from commissioned research and industry stakeholders to inform Australia’s workforce development needs ... distribute information... provide the Government with recommendations ...".

At the end of the day the ACT Chief Minister will launch the Launch of ACT Pearcey Foundation Award. It is an interesting time for ICT in Canberra, with a new government preparing to provide billions of dollars for computers and telecommunications. Just one of the programs is due to hand out $100 for computers in schools in the next few months.

Conference Program

08:30Registration and Coffee
Michael Hawkins MACS, ACS Canberra Conference Chair
09:05Relationship Relevance and Reputation
Kumar Parakala MACS, ACS National President
09:20 ICT Futures
Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
The ICT Professional and their futures
10:00 What it means to be an ICT Professional
Dr Tim Turner FACS, ADFA
The presentation will briefly review the history and meaning of the concept of professional and professionalism to establish context for a discussion about the professionalism of the IT discipline. The presentation takes the view that although the term “IT Professional” is routinely used, it may, in fact, be a misnomer.

The current circumstances of the IT discipline as a whole are reviewed for alignment to the concept of a profession and then suggestions are made as to what more the discipline needs to do to truly become a profession, setting an agenda for the ACS and other IT ‘Professional’ bodies.

Overcoming the Skills Crisis
John Debrincat FACS, Chair ACS Foundation
Worldwide the Information and Communication Technology Industry, ICT, today is dominated by three forces on a collision course. A changing workforce demographic, rapid change in technology and systems and, changing views on energy consumption leading to global warming and resultant environmental impact. The common verb in all these issues is change.

Australia has an aging workforce that is being replaced by new workers with different views and principles: Gen-x and Gen-y. ICT is seen by most people as a necessary component driving many conveniences that exist as a part of everyday life. Yet it is still cast with a stigma of “geeks and nerds” and continues to suffer from the indulgences of the bubble.

Organisations and even individuals are struggling to keep pace with rapidly changing systems and technologies that are driving increasing social interaction and user choice.

These systems are delivered on new processing and storage devices that cover floors of data centres and consume vast amounts of energy. A typical server today consumes 4 times the power of a server in 2000.

In Australia ICT consumes 1.52 per cent of the total national emissions, which totalled 522.2 Million Tons CO2. Compared to other industries that is more than Civil Aviation, more than Cement Industry and not much less than Iron and Steel.

So how do these factors come together and what is the connection with ICT skills issues. Impact of change is forcing rapid redevelopment and innovation to occur worldwide which is consuming the available workforce. At the same time, in Australia, the entry of new students into tertiary ICT courses is at its lowest point in almost 10 years. We will work through the factors affecting student take up, success rate and capabilities. Understanding the problem is the first step before investigating and realising potential solutions.
10:45Morning Tea
11:15 A: IT: A Career to be found in all parts of business and the world
John Ridge AM FACS
John will present a considered view of the ICT industry and the many and varied careers that it offers to those who are currently studying ICT courses, have graduated or are looking to work in it. He will cover what opportunities a career in IT affords, the extent of the IT industry and the opportunities which exist both in Australia and overseas. He will dismiss a number of commonly held misperceptions about the industry, both now and into the future, and will provide some advice to those starting out in this exciting career

B: Ethics and Regulation in the ICT Industry - Lessons for the ACS
Dr Richard Lucas MACS
In a recent survey of ICT professionals the respondents made a number of specific comments about the Australian Computer Society. I report here on the results of that survey: Specifically I analyse the respondent’s replies concerning the awareness, usefulness, and regard that the respondents had for the society. I then provide a commentary on this analysis.

C: The Impact Project Success and Failure on IT Professionals
Eric Kordt MACS
The impact of project success and failure on individuals is frequently overlooked in the IT profession. With projects being based around a complex social context and frequently cited as unstable or highly politicised for projects that fail, the impact on individuals at varying job responsibility levels can be significant. Indeed, recent research by Beyond Blue suggests approximately 9% of IT professionals suffer moderate or severe symptoms of depression.

This presentation explores recent research into how attributions (ideas or beliefs about the cause of a certain event) affect an individual’s motivations, emotions and behaviour in relation to successful and failed IT projects. The presentation concludes with a discussion on the research implications for practitioners with an emphasis on retaining IT talent.

D: IT Boundaries
Ross McConnell MACS
“IT doesn’t matter” caused a stir a few years ago. Ross is developing this discussion to realign the IT components of the business to show why IT skills are so valuable but are often misplaced within an organisation by being sidelined in an IT section. The skills and expertise that IT has brought to the business from its engineering heritage can assist business to deliver services more efficiently and ensure that technology is just one component of any successful business investment.
11:55 E: Discovering an IT Career
Amadu Barrie MACS (Prov.)
A journalist from Sierra Leone, the author was forced to flee his country in 1999 due to fear of persecution and possible death. After spending two years in Guinea, where he helped found the Association of Sierra Leonean Journalists in Exile (ASALJIE), Amadu was finally accepted, with his brother, under Australia’s Special Humanitarian Program in 2001. Facing the usual difficulties in settling in an alien country, the author describes the positive aspects of life in Australia, including the sense of safety, educational opportunities, formation of a local Sierra Leone association, and the help of Australian volunteers who assisted in many ways.

F: IT Goverance Principles and Issues
Ian Hirst MACS
Organisations of all types and sizes are challenged when they consider, plan and decide on IT investments. Decisions that have significant risks or rewards need to be well informed, well thought through and well implemented. Governance structures are a means for making effective evaluation, selection and monitoring of significant investments and commitments. This breakout session will be a guided discussion of governance covering the following key items:
  • What is governance?
  • Why do we need it?
  • Some issues to consider
  • Some principles to ponder
  • Key success factors
G: Information Management Lifecycle - IT v Business
Monica Tyson Formation Data
The volume of data collected and utilised by organisations continues to rise. What roles should IT and the Business play? Should there be any absolutes? This presentation will use the Information Management Lifecycle as a base for discussion around the roles of both IT and Business and through examples explore successes and challenges.

H: Introducing a Novel Market Segmentation for e-Government Services
Dr Tim Turner FACS, ADFA
A critical element of the overarching realm of e-government is the appropriate delivery of government services over the Internet. To date, guidance for government service design has been based on usability and, lately, security issues of the new medium and simple demography-based segmentation approaches aimed at structuring the presentation of government to its constituents.

This paper introduces a novel market segmentation approach that allows e-government service designers to prioritise and target online services at individual constituents in a way that is expected to increase adoption of online government services. The segmentation approach and the characteristics of the segments that result are described within the broader context of e-government in Australia.

After describing the segmentation, four key issues impeding e-government implementation in Australia are discussed with insights into priorities developed from the segmentation. The paper concludes with a summary of ongoing research in the area that this paper introduces.
Innovation and Developments in the ICT Sector
13:30 ICT in Government - The Way Forward
Ann Steward
Australian Government Chief Information Officer
Australian Government Information Management Office
Department of Finance and Deregulation
  • Progression of the 2006 e-Government Strategy, Responsive Government: A New Service Agend
  • The Australian Government Online Service Point and the delivery of online services
  • AGIMO's role as a leader in the efficient application of ICT in the Public Sector
14:15 I: Security and Identity - The IT solution for the issue of the 21st century
Brett Minifie National Manager Identity Solutions hp
Technologies and Internet habits are often adopted by the consumer market with no regard to the privacy implications of using these technologies, some of these technologies have huge consumer benefit, some are dubious to say the least. Enterprises often weigh the adoption of new technologies, especially identity technologies, heavily against the often competing aims of consumer privacy. What are the differing costs and issues to the consumer and the enterprise when an identity system fails the Trust Exam?

J: Greening IT - Canberra Technology City
Carsten Larsen MACS ActewAGL
The Canberra Technology City (CTC) located in Australia’s national capital, is a purpose-built data centre campus that offers organisations in the Asia Pacific region a unique opportunity to secure cost efficient data centre facilities. As a complete data centre infrastructure solution, Canberra Technology City is capable of providing access to diverse electricity network feeds, and long term fixed power costs delivered via onsite clean and highly efficient gas powered electricity generation.

K: Use of Realtime Simulators for Operational Training in Electricity Distribution Networks
Dr Paul James MACS (Snr.)
and Bill Tarlinton

The presentation will discuss the evolution and development of a ‘flight simulator’ for the operation of electrical distribution networks. The simulator is the first of its type for electrical distribution networks, and was developed to overcome a long-standing problem that exists with training staff who operate these networks.

L: Innovations in ICT - A Case Study
Marcus Jowsey
Senior Consultant
Dialog Information Technology
Business is increasingly demanding information services focus on achieving outcomes that benefit the bottom line. This is reinforced in a Gartner report titled “Introducing Business Context”. It stated that “A focus on concise business language is imperative”. To keep pace with the accelerated innovation in software and the pervasive nature of computing requires innovation in the designer’s mind-set. Marcus will present an innovative approach to embedding the language of the business when defining an OO project.
15:00Afternoon Tea
15:30 Industry Panel: Challenges of Diversity, Innovation and Risk
Introduced and led by Sheryle Moon MACS (Snr.) CEO AIIA
Panellists:John Debrincat FACS, Chair ACS Foundation
Derek Volker AO, Chair, ACT Skills Comission Educators perspective
Yohan Ramasundara MACS, Director of YIT Professionals Board

This the final session of the Conference that is returning to the major focus of the conference- what is the future for the IT Professional, IT employment and the IT Industry. Sheryle Moon will lead the panel and speak for about 20-30 minutes around these themes. Sheryle will be joined on the Panel by Derek Volker Chair of the ACT Skills Commission; John Debrincat Chair of the ACS Foundation; and Yohan Ramasundara Board Director of the Young ICT Professionals Board. The expectation is that they will speak for about 5 minutes each followed by general discussion with each other and conference attendees if they have questions/statements. There will be an independent chair for the whole session.
16:45Conference Close
Dave Bryant MACS PCP, Chair ACS Canberra Branch
17:00Conference Cocktails in the realm foyer Launch of ACT Pearcey Foundation Award

Past Conferences

2007 Annual Conference
2005 Annual Conference
2004 Annual Conference

1 comment:

Jude Pachamuthu said...

Just a correction in your blog on the conference. Kumar is the President of ACS and not the CEO. The CEO is Kim Denham.

Jude Pachamuthu, PMP, AACS