||Spotlight on IT Pro Mentor:
How did you get started in IT?
I started in 1978 as a software engineer in a defence and aerospace
plant for combat avionics and remotely piloted vehicles. I rose through
the ranks to lead QA and Testing of systems integration in the PMO. Ten
years later I continued as a R&D Manager with Unisys. Afterwards I
progressed to more commercial IT services with the top consultancies,
telcos, financial services and government being the big clients.
What do you consider your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement has been stopping my clients from chasing bad
business with excessive risk. In one instance I managed to stop a
USD$200m investment in an ICT business that later on became insolvent.
On a more positive note I have several times rescued failing projects as
well as successfully delivered full life-cycle projects.
What do you like most about working in IT?
I always like the people interaction and human networking in particular
with the business stakeholders and also coal face end users. Being
appreciated by your clients and especially by end users is the best
reward one can have in IT.
What do you see as the future industry trends?
I see a lot of IT becoming commoditised and off-the-shelf. Users will be
able to implement complex business processes with the latest tools. IT
has to become ever more business focused with technology becoming less
and less important. Business expects measurable guaranteed outcomes and
in particular guaranteed savings. The top tier vendors will ever
increasingly insure such outcomes and IT becomes a risk management
exercise where payment is tied to measured performance. On the
technology side, I see natural language based search, web advertising,
collaboration and social networking becoming increasingly important. The
Windows-Intel Wintel desktop with the advent of Web 2.0 will evolve into
easy-to-use “black-box” web-devices requiring minimal or no maintenance
by end users as opposed to the current Wintel PCs that do not suffer
computer illiterate users. Most importantly we are constantly moving
towards a knowledge economy with knowledge capital and knowledge
management becoming key drivers to prosperity. I see IT professionals
having intellectually much more stimulating and challenging work in
What advice would you offer to someone looking to enter the IT
I strongly advise all in the IT industry and anyone aspiring to enter IT
to pick up solid business skills in disciplines such as engineering,
science, commerce, accounting, medicine or law. Having just IT skills
will not be enough but one has to be able to master at least one
business domain and be properly trained in it.