The unsung heroes behind Hong Kong's information and communications sector will be in the spotlight in the upcoming Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS) Outstanding ICT Achiever Awards (OICTAA) 2012, which is co-organised with Classified Post.
Open for applications now, the awards aim to honour local information and communications technology (ICT) professionals who have made significant contributions to the sector and the community at large, says Sunny Lee, chairman of the 2012 awards organising committee.
"Although there are some IT-focused awards in Hong Kong, they mainly highlight the products and services. HKCS OICTAA is distinguished by its focus on the practitioners, who are the prerequisite for a well-developed sector," adds Lee, the executive director for IT at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
With its membership consisting mainly of individuals, HKCS is a people-centric association whose mission is to promote professionalism, quality and the reputation of the IT profession. "We hope we will be able to fulfil these goals by organising the awards," says Lee.
Established in 1970, HKCS is a non-profit professional group with over 8,000 members.
The awards aim to honour individual ICT professionals whose contributions have helped enhance public appreciation of the sector and its practitioners. By raising the industry's profile, it also aims to encourage more young people to pursue careers in IT.
"There seems to be some misunderstanding among some university students that IT career prospects are limited. HKCS believes we should work at letting young people know that the IT sector is teeming with cutting-edge innovations and has strong demand for fresh talent," Lee says.
Launched in 2008, the OICTAA features five categories and the "Top ICT Achiever of the Year" award. The categories are consulting, project management, innovation, and the newly introduced honour for sales, marketing, and business development, and the "Young ICT Achiever Awards".
Lee says that the categories are highly flexible. "Because many professionals have made important contributions, there will be a maximum of 10 prizes in each category. The `Top ICT Achiever of the Year' will be selected out of the winners in the five categories," he adds.
To qualify in any of the categories, candidates should have made outstanding ICT achievements over the past five years. For the sales, marketing and business development category, finalists should have helped achieve wide adoption of products or services, as well as outstanding sales in the local market.
"There seems to be some misunderstanding that sales executives in general lack industry-specific knowledge," says Lee.
"In fact, many ICT sales executives are equipped with in-depth knowledge of products and services so that they can tailor the best solutions for their clients, who are also well-versed in the latest technologies," he adds. "Some sales executives also develop creative business strategies, such as building synergy through strategic partnerships among various companies."
Outstanding ICT sales executives indirectly help advance innovative technological applications in Hong Kong, explains Lee. "We will assess individual candidates based on the market shares of their products and services, and on customer satisfaction level," he adds.
In the consulting category, the judging panel will look at how consultants of vendors tailor services and products to meet the requirements of clients. For the in-house consultants of corporations that use these services, the assessment will focus on their problem-solving capabilities, IT strategies, technical and technological directions and realisation of opportunities.
The "Young ICT Achiever Awards" will honour outstanding professionals aged below 30 years. "Many young practitioners have made great accomplishments. We will assess their past achievements plus contributions to the community," Lee says.
Nominations for the awards should include references. In the first round of screening, the panel may contact referees for verification. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to do a five-minute presentation and attend a question-and-answer session with the judging panel to further explain their achievements. The panel will select up to 10 winners in each category.
Paul Chow, distinguished fellow of the HKCS and chairman of the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company, will head the final judging panel to select the "Top ICT Achiever of the Year" awardee.
"The past winners have thrived in their organisations," Lee says. "Many have leveraged the awards' recognition to further promote the sector and inspire more to enter the industry. The social benefit of the awards is that it promotes the overall healthy development of the industry."
Employers benefit from the honours won by their ICT staff as the awards reflect favourably on their quality management and well-developed business strategies, says Lee. "A service vendor gains more confidence from its clients, giving them an edge when clients select services," he says.
Hong Kong Computer Society OICTAA 2012
Closing date for submission of application form Friday noon, March 30, 2012 Interview Last week of April 2012 Final judging Last week of May 2012 Award presentation ceremony and dinner Thursday, June 28, 2012