Sunday, June 24, 2018

President's Message 2016

Sheldon Powe, Chief Information Officer, JMMB Group

Supporting the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Sector

The prediction by the Garner group that there will be 3 Billion devices connected to the internet, was supported by my experience last year when I visited Las Vegas and I noticed the fridge in my room had a network cable and was equipped with sensors that allowed the hotel to know immediately what snacks or drinks I took out. When one thinks about the improved customer services and operational efficiency for the hotel staff and concessionary providers, it is astounding.Then I ask the questions: who will be programming all these devices?, who will be maintaining them when they malfunction, who will ensure they are secure?. Consider also that most of these ICT services will be offered remotely.

Well it is here, the digital revolution has started and if the Jamaican ICT sector is aligned, we can get more than our fair share of this US multi-billion dollar market. It is like a “blue ocean” filled with a vast amount of opportunity for many years to come.

The Vision Statement for the ICT Sector for Vision 2030 Jamaica is “A globally competitive ICT sector that is widely accessible and makes the greatest possible contribution to the social and economic development of Jamaica”. Let us also juxtapose this with the fact that the Jamaica Computer Society (JCS) was formed in January 1975 by ICT pioneers with the objective “To promote the knowledge of the development and use computational machinery and techniques; and to facilitate the exchange of information and views of computational machinery”. Even today, the JCS objectives are still aligned to supporting Vision 2030.

To achieve Vision 2030, we have to be very deliberate in executing on our ICT strategy to take part in the digital revolutions. As examples:

We have to understand the needs of the type of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) we want to attract to Jamaica,

  • New labor force skill sets created in abundance to attract an unprecedented number of FDIs
  • Educational institutions curriculum to be reviewed to ensure graduates are prepared to take advantage of new ICT opportunities
  • Policies and programs to be established or enhanced to make it attractive to entrepreneurs to start new service ICT companies
  • Share knowledge and collaborate generously to ensure the cost of learning is inexpensive
  • Organise ICT professional organizations and associations to accomplish the strategy

In February 2016, the JCS constituted a vibrant JCS council of 18 members with over 200 years collective ICT expertise across private, public and education sector. It is my intent to lead the Governing Council as we will grow our membership to over 500 ICT Jamaican professionals to contribute towards realizing the Vision 2030.

There is however, a misconception that a professional organization like the JCS is only for ICT professionals like those who studied computer science or engineering at the undergraduate level or above. But, if you consider ICT to be more like mathematics, that we all have to study in school and need to understand in the business world in order to operate well, I would therefore encourage lawyers, doctors, dentist, marketing, business majors, entrepreneurs, business executives and other professionals to join the JCS to learn more about the nuances and benefits of using ICT well and to learn how to make Jamaica and Jamaicans more productive.

I look forward to working with all professionals in making our contribution to the ICT sector and the wider society.


Warmest regards,


Sheldon Powe

President, Jamaica Computer Society (2016)