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Going further together FROM HACKER TO PROFESSIONAL - THE NEED FOR AN IT PROFESSION Prof Mike Rodd Director of Learned Society & External Relations.

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Presentation on theme: "Going further together FROM HACKER TO PROFESSIONAL - THE NEED FOR AN IT PROFESSION Prof Mike Rodd Director of Learned Society & External Relations."— Presentation transcript:

1 going further together FROM HACKER TO PROFESSIONAL - THE NEED FOR AN IT PROFESSION Prof Mike Rodd Director of Learned Society & External Relations

2 going further together

3 1.The environment: “you ain’t seen nothing yet!” 2.The challenges facing IT as an enabler of business change. 3.A new attitude of mind? 4.The makings of an IT professional. 5.Conclusion. CONTENTS

4 going further together 1. “YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET” Information Systems are now critical to: Healthcare; Business & wealth creation; Communications; Transport; National economy; Government; Defence; Everything. In short – the health, wealth and welfare of every member of our society depends on IT systems

5 going further together THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IT is essential to compete; Change is the only constant factor; There is intense pressure on costs & revenues; Competition is intense; IT (business) is global; Markets are becoming global, location-independent & totally customer-focused; Customers are much more demanding.

6 going further together THE TECHNOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT Early stage in the evolution of IT; Much more on the horizon – eg Quantum Computing; Many critical technical decisions – eg Open Source; Impossible to get initial system requirements fully specified; Move towards a global economy resulting in jobs and human-based tasks becoming global -- hence outsourcing, both locally and internationally; AND Cyberspace the key target for 21st-century crime

7 going further together CYBERCRIME In % of large businesses in the UK suffered a malicious security breach. It is not if but when it will happen to your operation?

8 going further together REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT A deluge of new regulations and regulatory environments: –Can Spam Act (USA); –Computer Misuse Act; –Sarbanes-Oxley (USA); –Basel II; –Civil Contingencies Act; –Data Protection Act; –Environmental Information Regulations; –European Privacy Directive; –Financial Services and Market Act; –Freedom of Information; –Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act; –Disabilities Discrimination Act; –Etc.

9 going further together THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT Most senior decision-makers – political, social and business – are almost totally unaware of the limitations of IT, and expectations are often totally unrealistic.

10 going further together 2. CHALLENGES FACING IT AS AN ENABLER OF BUSINESS CHANGE There is no such thing (well, there should not be!) as an “IT Project”!! IT is essentially a supporting tool that can, potentially, be used to bring about business change. BUT……………..

11 going further together

12 THE FAILURE STATISTICS: 75% of all IT projects exceed budget and schedule (Gartner). 33% fail altogether (Gartner). 80 to 90% of IT investments do not meet performance objectives, 80% are delivered late and over budget, and 40% are abandoned as failures (OASIG). Annual cost of IT failure in Western Europe is $140 Billions (Gartner).

13 going further together PUBLIC COMMENTS Sir Peter Gershon (ex-Head of OGC): ‘If I ask an Architect and a Civil Engineer to design an unsafe bridge their integrity and professional competence will say that they won’t do it however much money I’m prepared to offer them. If I ask a software architect and engineer to design an unsafe system – unsafe because there has not been adequate time for testing – how often do we hear those professionals say ‘no, not in that timescale at any price’?

14 going further together THE STORY SO FAR ProfIT Project BCS/IEE/IBM Intellect Code of Practice for suppliers to government 10 Commitments BCS–led Professionalism Programme 2005

15 going further together ProfIT CONCLUSIONS Professionalism is the key to improved performance – but not just the professionalism of the ICT practitioners. Delivering quality products and services requires focused professionalism across all aspects of an organisation. Quality products and services are the result of completely professional organisations, employing competent professional people in all functions, working to professional standards and processes.

16 going further together ProfIT CONCLUSIONS Quality problems are systemic and require a holistic approach -- improving only one element is unlikely to prove effective. Competent people, poorly led, are likely to produce poor results; Good processes do not guarantee good products; Good managers, with competent people working with good processes, may fail if the culture of the organisation is poor; Even success may be perceived as failure if customer expectations are unrealistic.

17 going further together ProfIT CONCLUSIONS There is a need for a coordinated, industry-wide approach. Although individual organisations can achieve improvements in quality, the effectiveness of a unilateral approach is limited by: The need to compete for business; The tendency for price to be the major factor in winning business; Customer understanding and competence. This is an industry problem, and it can be fully resolved only by the industry working together to provide a framework that encourages and rewards quality.

18 going further together INTELLECT CODE OF PRACTICE This agreed code has 10 required supplier commitments that include: Commitment 9 We will only nominate individuals for specific roles or as team members whom we judge to have the necessary authority, skills and experience and are expected to be available. Their contribution to customer satisfaction and successful programme delivery will be encouraged and recognised. Commitment 10 We will encourage our staff to acquire appropriate and maintain appropriate professional standards and individual competencies. We will work towards a common and agreed framework for specific roles and associated competencies.

19 going further together 3. A NEW ATTITUDE OF MIND ? Do we as a profession want to continue to be regarded as an unprofessional, unreliable, expensive waste of money? As a profession, we need to grow up and become a true profession of the 21st century

20 going further together NATURE OF AN IT PROFESSION Is the IT profession Essentially an Engineering/Technical profession, responsible for the effective delivery of systems to meet requirements specified by ‘the business’, Or A business-focused profession, with a base of both technical and business competencies, playing a full part at all stages of IT-enabled business change programmes and projects.

21 going further together AN IT PROFESSION We need an IT profession that: Is defined in terms of its ability to play a full part in all stages of IT exploitation; Is seen – and sees itself – as an integral part of the business; Has appropriate non-technical skills, including management, business and leadership skills, as core competencies; Lays greater emphasis on the accreditation of current capability and competence; Demands greater personal responsibility on the part the practitioner; Is attractive to a wider group of entrants than at present – including those groups alienated by the current image of the profession.

22 going further together The profession has its own codes of conduct and best practice, and lives by them. Employers value qualified and certified professional IT staff at all levels. IT qualifications appear as requirements in all IT recruitment ads. Chartered IT Professionals are regarded as highly as any other Chartered Professionals. Young people want to join the profession. WHAT WILL THIS MEAN?

23 going further together PROFESSIONALISM Professionalism is an aspirational* standard, rather than a set of minimum requirements, the essential elements of which are: Competence; Integrity; Service. *The aspiration should be to meet the highest standards that the public has a right to expect of its IT professionals.

24 going further together COMPETENCE Relevant, up-to-date skills and capabilities appropriate to the particular task A broader foundation of relevant experience, knowledge and understanding; A clear understanding of all relevant standards and established good practice; Competencies and skills: – Supported with relevant qualifications – Maintained through CPD.

25 going further together INTEGRITY A commitment to abide by a code of ethics that is recognised by the professional community and leading to; A set of obligations and responsibilities that sit alongside, and may in certain circumstances take precedence over, the contractual obligation to an employer; A commitment to follow relevant standards and established principles of good practice.

26 going further together SERVICE Regard for and contribution to the public good; Social responsibility; Commitment and contribution to the profession.

27 going further together 4. THE MAKING OF AN IT PROFESSIONAL ‘To me, the essence of professionalism is a commitment to develop one’s skills to the fullest and to apply [them] responsibly to the problems at hand. Professionalism requires adherence to the highest ethical standards of conduct and a willingness to subordinate narrow self-interest in pursuit of the more fundamental goal of public service.’ Justice Sandra Day O’Connor – US Supreme Court

28 going further together CHARTERED IT PROFESSIONALS Chartered Professionals take personal responsibility for their actions and are bound by the Code of Conduct of the Professional Body which is licensed to charter them; They will be normally educated to an appropriate degree (or equivalent) level, having followed a course of study accredited by their professional body; They will then be required to complete, to peer-approved satisfaction, a period of 4 to 5 years where they will have had to demonstrate their technical and managerial competence; They are also required to maintain their professional competence throughout their active professional careers.

29 going further together PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS These should be independent and provide relevant and widely accepted evidence that individuals meet the minimum appropriate standards in all aspects of professionalism. Thus…

30 going further together PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS Initial Education + Competencies + Experience + CPD* * CPD -Continuing Professional Development Notes: –CPD is particularly crucial in a fast-changing environment. –Competencies are a mixture of “hard” and “soft” skills. Hard skills must be generic (e.g. ISEB) as well as product-specific; Soft skills (the hardest!) include people management, negotiating, planning, project-management, team-working, leadership, inter-personal communications; Domain awareness (understanding the environment in which the IT-Professional is working) is essential.

31 going further together 5. CONCLUSIONS Public Comments Government IT projects have failed due to ‘incompetent suppliers providing crap solutions’ ‘Let’s be honest about this, there have also been suppliers who have lied to us’Andrew Pinder ‘Every day we are faced with suppliers who make exorbitant claims about the performance of their products and we are bitterly disappointed.’ Sir Peter Gershon

32 going further together The BCS is leading the development of the IT Profession, making it the profession of the 21st Century


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