Nobody in the contemporary business world can underestimate the influx of information technology. The successful implementation of effective IT is not just a curiosity, but an absolutely vital element of business. With this in mind, the people responsible for such contributions are set to be acknowledged through a brand new award.
The Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS) and Career Times Online Limited have partnered to introduce a first-of-its-kind IT event for the local industry — the HKCS Outstanding IT Achiever Awards 2008. The award aims to recognise individuals who have made significant contributions and excelled in their professions.
The event's chairperson and member of the judging panel, David Li, who is chairman & chief executive, the Bank of East Asia Ltd, considers the new event a vote of confidence for Hong Kong's IT industry. "Hong Kong has produced outstanding IT talent. I look upon this pioneering competition as an opportunity to identify individuals who are at the top of their fields, to recognise their success, and to allow others to learn from their achievements," says Dr Li.
It is often said that competition drives innovation. While the competition indentifies the local IT industry's top talents, it also serves to push things forward and provide an impetus for progress.
"In a fast moving field like IT, we cannot afford to be content with the status quo. We need to constantly seek out new ways to improve ourselves and extend our capability," remarks Dr Li. "We need to keep abreast of the latest developments."
Candidates are assessed against a stringent set of criteria, that aims to highlight the individuals who have used IT in an innovative manner and added significant value to their companies' operations. There are four award categories — leadership, professional competency, project management and research.
IT is now more important in the business world, and the awards reflect that. "Hong Kong is an international financial centre. In the face of intense global competition and fast changing demand for financial services, IT is a vital tool," says Dr Li. "It is impossible to think of modern banking without IT as the backbone."
When implementing IT solutions, considering the human interaction is of equal importance to the technical elements.
"While computers are essential, businesses also emphasise a human touch," observes Dr Li. "Technology has made banking services easier to access and more convenient for customers. Meanwhile, technology has been widely applied in customer relationship management. It helps banks to analyse customer needs and serve customers better."
It is therefore crucial for IT personnel to apply their knowledge of customers and human interactions to design user-friendly technology solutions.
The competition's judging panel comprises members from different IT areas. Through the pre-defined assessment process, the panel reviews written IT reports submitted by candidates. Short listed candidates are then invited for an interview which includes a presentation and a question-and-answer session.
Aside from recognising the merit of IT professionals, the competition also gives candidates the opportunity to meet their counterparts to share ideas and network. "It's a great chance to build networks that help you to multiply your own capability, benefitting from the shared knowledge and experience of others," Dr Li emphasises.
Running a global business requires advanced technology to optimise coordination. IT professionals working in this area need to be innovating thinkers, able to react quickly to the rapidly changing business and technology environments, comments Dr Li. "Industries like banking involve working with highly sensitive data,"says Dr Li. "IT personnel need to have complete integrity as well as an extensive knowledge of data security and privacy."
As such, candidates must be able to demonstrate their awareness of IT security as well as professional integrity to the competition's judging panel.
With a long history spanning almost 40 years, the Hong Kong Computer Society hopes to use its position to create a platform for recognition within the industry. With the effort put into the event this year, it is anticipated that the competition will become a valued benchmark and a prestigious accolade.