Keeping score on covert activities at hardware hugfest

IT professionals are rarely braggarts when it comes to showing off their achievements. Like BHP, they tend to be the quiet achievers.

It is a profession of people that tend to beaver away in the background, diligently transforming organizations and improving business processes without even the faintest glimpse of a strut or the usual chest-beating played out in so many executive suites. And there's nothing wrong with that ... sometimes. But honey, let's face it, there is the odd occasion when ya just gotta flaunt it!

Business executives never hesitate to let you know when IT isn't delivering, but little is said when it's all smooth sailing right?

So when you do deliver, let it be known you are the captain of the ship. A doubtful disposition will get you nowhere.

When you look at the Australian IT industry, as a whole, it isn't exactly prone to showcasing its wares. We have traditionally left that to the vendors because showcasing is the lifeblood of their business.

But would you really rate yourself a six out of 10? That's the scorecard of Australian Computer Society (ACS) president Philip Argy, who this week said the industry needs to raise the bar to keep pace internationally. He makes the point that IT needs to be more 'overtly' professional. (Psst ... no more covert activities please).

While I agree IT professionals do need to engage in a little more self-promotion, I truly believe you rate higher than a crummy six.

That's a tough score. And when it comes to assessing performance, shareholders win hands down. Oh, how they love to scrutinize the the corprate kitty.

One enterprise that will be expected to deliver is the Commonwealth Bank when it details its half-yearly net profit and the ongoing results of its IT transformation program this week. The $1.5 billion transformation program wraps up in September and has so far involved the loss of 2400 jobs, the retraining of more than 30,000 staff and the rollout of new IT systems.

On the vendor side this week, there's plenty of talent coming to town. They are arriving in droves for a hardware hugfest taking place in Melbourne.

Or, as it's officially called, Sun Microsystems' Data Centre and Storage Symposium which will feature the company's VP John Fowler.

But the biggest red carpet arrival is that of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who successfully led HP's controversial acquisition of Compaq in 2002. Fiorina will be accompanied by former US president Bill Clinton doing the speaker circuit as part of the Global Business Forum.

No doubt Fiorina will be spruiking her memoirs which are being published by the Penguin Group and due out late 2006. Fiorina rose from secretary to six-time topper of Fortune Magazine's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list. Quite an achievement. But what's your scorecard?

How do you think Australia's IT industry rates? Please send your scores through and I will publish the results in coming weeks. E-mails to sandra_rossi@idg.com.au

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