IFIP IP3 Chair, Brenda Aynsley visited South Africa last week to keynote at the IITPSA President’s Awards on 24th November.

Speaking at the Awards Breakfast, Aynsley said ICT is a vital part of doing business today and tomorrow, but globalisation in markets and qualifications, and work practices that ‘follow the sun’ will require changes.

“Our world is not as small as it used to be when line of sight management was a commonly practiced technique for both management and quality control,” she said.

“Today to be an ICT professional in the business environment means that business and clients must rely on the intrinsic professionalism and ethical behaviour of each individual practising in the industry. This, in turn, means that we must educate our professionals to exhibit these qualities. Our education courses need to ensure our graduates understand their responsibility for professional conduct. They must not just practice their craft, but also ensure their colleagues do likewise to avoid the terrible consequences of unprofessional behaviour.”

Aynsley referred to last year’s Dieselgate example, when car manufacturer, VW, admitted to rigging the results of emissions tests, a scandal that has cost the company its reputation and over $US14 billion in compensation.

“Imagine what would have happened if their software programmers had behaved professionally and convinced the company not to proceed down that path?,” she asked. “Such examples remind us that being competent at your craft does not equate to being professional!”

Aynsley discussed the impacts of digital disruption and changing market practices on the ICT sector, arguing that professionalism must be encouraged among everyone in the workplace, not just ICT professionals and that if the business cannot achieve that, there must be forms of regulation, either self-imposed or imposed by others.

She says professional societies must take a leading role in promoting the professionalism of practitioners. “Professional societies like IITPSA and its sister societies of IFIP must stand up and promote the benefits of the professional practice. Imagine our other older professions operating without some form of professional practice guidelines or regulation? Would we be happy to see an unregulated medical professional or accountant?”

She said new technologies like bots and algorithms bring new risks and responsibilities. “IITPSA and other professional societies understand the risks to society of practising in the ICT profession and so must take on the role of educating governments and citizens about both the benefits and the risks of technology, which is so pervasive in our society.”

Congratulations to the Award Winners in the different categories:

  • IT Personality of the Year: Sbu Shabalala, CEO, AdaptIT;
  • Visionary CIO of the Year: Peter Alkema, CIO, FNB Business Banking;
  • Distinguished Service in ICT: Prof Barry Dwolatzky, Director, JCSE;
  • and to the Institute’s new Fellows:
    • Prof Andre Calitz, NMMU;
    • Prof Rossouw von Solms (NMMU); and
    • Karel Matthee (CSIR).