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Bits & Bytes e-zine, Vol3 #1 Vector address by JCS President

Excerpts from the address by JCS President, Dean Smith at the Graduation Ceremony of Vector Technology Institute (VTI), held at the Knutsford Court Hotel on December 7, 2014


At a seminar held at the University of Technology (UTECH) under the theme: “Regulating the ICT Industry and its Effects on Growth & Development” on Tuesday, December 2, 2014; several presenters highlighted the various efforts to promoted ICT as an enabler:

1. Entrepreneurial efforts among the younger ICT professionals, such as; Connectimass, DigiJam, Kingston Beta, and so on.

2. Curriculum improvements and programs at almost all our Tertiary and some secondary schools.

3. Introspection in Private sector SMSEs and larger entities as well as the public sector on ICT usage and relationships with elements of the ICT ecosystem.

4. The work being done to establish a single regulator for the ICT sector.

This highlighted to me, that there is a groundswell of concern for meaningful growth. This growth must of necessity be reflected in improved ICT global rankings and national economic output. While yet to attain critical mass, there is still evidence of a missing link, that ingredient that will bring completeness to the recipe. More and more I am convinced that this ingredient must come collectively in “we the ICT people”. The solutions lie within US. The focus has to be on the human capital, our people. The ICT profession is ripe for attention;

1. There are so many so-called ICT practitioners that give the profession a bad name, accepting assignments for which they are not certified or competent, then doing a poor job because the esoteric nature of their tasks do not allow uninformed oversight.

2. The value of the contribution of many ICT professionals in both private and public sectors is not fully recognized in the remuneration that they receive as well as the weight given to contributions they make to business strategy and tactical operations. Many just relegate themselves to “do as they are told” and just “keep the systems running”.

3. The need to have ICT governance input from the highest levels is not fully appreciated; so many boards especially in the public sector languish without a board vision of how ICT should be leveraged to further the organizational goals.

In a 2013 study at the JCS, we found that there is a strong positive correlation between membership subscriptions for the JCS and the World Economic Forum – Global Information Technology Readiness (WEF GITR) index. When JCS membership went up, the index went up, when the membership went down, the index went down. While there is no claim to causality (one does not cause the other), the evidence points to the fact that apathy within ICT the profession (reflected in fall of JCS membership and lack of involvement in JCS programs) does have a national impact.

So many national initiatives that affected the ICT industry came out of efforts and activities within the JCS. We recall the liberalization of the telecoms industry being a hot topic of meaningful discussions when it was mooted for the first time at a panel discussion in a JCS conference, just prior to activities in that regard.

Now you have this opportunity as young professionals to be catalysts for ICT leverage on a national scale. I challenge you therefore, to be agents of positive influence as vectors and conveyors of a message: there is value in the collective ICT intelligentsia of the ICT community. This challenge is to examine and contribute to advancement of some issues that have been identified by the JCS as critical elements for serious ICT adoption:

1. Mandated continuous education programs at the JCS, for professional development and capacity building.

2. Broadening a regulatory scope of professional oversight and rating of ICT professional; as proposed to NICTAC

3. Revolutionizing vendor/client interaction that feature good IT governance, business value and national interest

4. Organization of Government of Jamaica’s (GOJ) ICT efforts thru an effective national CIO

5. Island wide and comprehensive inclusion of all ICT professionals in the JCS

All of these have the common thread of significant participation of ICT professionals with demonstrated value at the personal, enterprise and national levels. As graduands, and soon to be graduates in your various programs, you too can and should contribute as active members of this intelligentsia. By looking at these issues or developing new perspective in the many Special Interest Groups that exist within the JCS, you can advance the programs that are so necessary for Personal, Enterprise and National growth. We look forward to your contributions.

Editor Note*

The JCS BizTech Forum & Showcase 2015 (theme: Human Capital in ICT systems- The true Jamaican perspective) is scheduled for Oct 29 to Nov 1, 2015.

Category: Bits & Bytes