A quick report on the CSSA presidential awards breakfast

APC Staff at the CSSA presidential awards breakfast, November 8 2012APC Staff at the CSSA presidential awards breakfast, November 8 2012

The Computer Society of South Africa (CSSA) President’s Awards exclusive business breakfast was held at the Montecasino Ballroom in Johannesburg on Thursday November 8, 2012 bright and early at 7:00AM! APC staff Eunice Mwesigwa, Maya Sooka, Jan Moolman, and Alexandra Groome attended because our very own executive director, Anriette Esterhuysen, was nominated as one of five finalists for the IT Personality of the year (which is in its 34th year). The award recognizes a person who has made an outstanding impact on the South African ICT industry over the past year and a significant contribution to the IT profession. What is particularly impressive about Anriette’s nomination is that she was the only woman and the only non-profit sector nominee. After the event Sooka noted, “I came back and said to the finance team: AE is in a league of her own, so it’s so amazing that she made it to the top 5 of this sector”. Congratulations Anriette on this fantastic accomplishment.

Rob Stokes, founder and CEO of Quirks, Africa’s largest full service online marketing agency, won the award for IT personality of the year. Stokes’ acceptance speech was compelling, as he thanked his team and highlighted how he is in the ICT industry for the fun and the people. Well done Mr. Stokes!

This year’s keynote speaker, Mike Vincent of FutureWorld and the Director of Deloitte Consulting, made some noteworthy points about the importance of innovation. He states that the strategies that make a business successful in the past will not necessarily yield success in the future. It is crucial for companies and organizations to constantly adapt and re-evaluate their business strategies in order to keep up in today’s fast paced world. He calls this particular approach the “business of tomorrow”. Long-term planning tends to be more effective than short-term month-to-month goals. Mr. Vincent also states that businesses should set bold targets and brainstorm ways that they can overtake themselves in order to avoid someone else overtaking them. Thank you, Mr. Vincent for your enlightening perspective on innovation.

CSSA’s president Rabelani Dagada points out in his speech that Africa remains one of the only regions in the world responsible for population growth. Therefore in 20 to 50 years the bulk of the world’s youth will be located here, and thus the bulk of consumers and workers. As a result of this demographic shift, investors will turn to Africa and this will hopefully boost employment rates. However, Dagada claims, “South Africa, like many other African nations, is experiencing a stunning shortage of [ICT] skills.” This is a fundamental issue that must be addressed by means of education, policy, and infrastructure in order for SA to move forward. This is particularly important due to the expected increase in the number of jobs, as having a skilled workforce is essential.

The moral of the story: address lack of ICT skills by means of education, expand current ICT infrastructure, and maintain forward and progressive thinking in order to keep up with the crazy fast-paced world we live in today. APC, I believe we are on the right track!