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Evergreen Debate

January 19, 2009

The Video

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It is an interview of Vivek Bhatia(CIO, COO Wesfarmers Insurance), who was awarded as New CIO of the year 2008 (Link). He achieved this in just one years time of his tenure at Wesfarmers Insurance. This achievement and the dual role of CIO and COO reminded me of an interesting debate i came across last year.

The Debate

Last year in November I got an opportunity to attend ACS 2008 Congress Dinner organized by  Australian Computer Society it is an association of  ICT professionals with mission to advance professional excellence in information technology.

a panel of seasoned CIOs from industry were asked to discuss about the Identity of IT professional or to put it in simple words What (or may be who) is an IT professional? What is the role of CIO in an organization? And also the usual debate on CIO Vs CEO. Further what is the role of bodies like ACS? Are these bodies working to imbibe qualities in a CIO to become Mr CEO or these bodies are for

These questions were stemming from the fact that there is lack of professionalism among IT professionals; unlike Doctors, Architects and Engineers in other professions like Medicine, architecture, engineering what is the identity of IT professional? Is he the code guy or is he the Business analyst should he care to understand business or he should care about technology.  Then somebody questioned that now we have added “C” in ICT who is this new animal …. who should also care about C?

Then somebody also pointed out the fact that unlike other industries this industry is so dynamic that its really difficult to keep oneself updated with various technologies and thus socities like these can help in bridging this gap.

Anyways this went on … there was no consenus …  as one gentleman with grey hair rightly said

Years (dont remember the no) back when this society was formed and we were on the panel we were discussing the same thing, fast forward we are again stuck with the same question…have we really moved ahead?

My view

I really feel this debate is not required, its not about CIO or COO or CEO or as a matter of fact any label. It is about vision, leadership and ability to leverage opportunities that one comes across as Vivek rightly said in this interview….. I look at every opportunity as a way to try and prove myself … to make most of the opportuntiy and deliver it to utmost potential.

Any thoughts?

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