These days, any established enterprise worth its salt has an information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in place.The companies that steer the course of technology development however, are often unknown to the end users.
"They're the powerhouses behind many successful enterprises and landmark infrastructure systems in Hong Kong," says Sunny Lee, president, the Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS), and executive director, information technology, the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Mr Lee notes that new technology launches are always more complex than they appear. "New technology, tools and applications will continue to entail big changes," he adds.
To recognise the contributions of IT professionals who enhance the quality of life and improve business productivity, the HKCS and Career Times co-organised Hong Kong's first IT awards, the Outstanding IT Achiever Awards 2008.
"Our endeavour aimed to recognise individuals for their strategic roles in helping to drive competitiveness, and place Hong Kong at the forefront of knowledge creation and IT innovation on a global scale," says Mr Lee.
According to Daniel Lai, the convener of the judging panel, the HKCS received an impressive number of nominations for the four award categories, namely IT Leadership, IT Professional Competency, IT Project Management, and IT Research.
A total of nine winners were selected for these four award categories. The HKCS also presented an IT Lifetime Achievement Award to Henry Chow, currently the chairman of IBM Greater China Group for his 40 years of contribution to the industry.
Although the IT industry is influenced by the reduced IT spending of some corporations, the current economic climate means many corporations are more open to approaching IT for long-term cost saving development and fund management, Mr Lee says.
Meanwhile, some IT companies are rolling out new initiatives to help clients make the best of the downturn. Mr Lee observes that companies have started to offer "pay-as-you-go" utility-based software services and cloud computing so that small- and medium-sized companies can make use of technology to streamline their operations and save costs.
Stanley Suen, Career Times' general manager notes that IT innovation essentially raises the bar for productivity, pushing the local economy to a new level. "IT development will remain a major domain for key players in the global economy. Adopting IT increases Hong Kong's competition edge in the global marketplace," Mr Suen says. "For this reason, we believe that the premises of IT talent branding are fundamentally important to Hong Kong's future. We are pleased to make a contribution."
Further afield, Mr Lee confirms that Hong Kong's IT professionals have tremendous opportunities in mainland China.
In addition, the economic integration between the Pearl River Delta regions will also open a window of opportunity for Hong Kong's IT professionals in research and development.
"Our IT executives have comparatively more international exposure and experience in large-scale IT projects. Also, our strong business sense as well as experience in software quality management is an asset for the mainland China IT industry," Mr Lee adds.