President's Message to ITMA Members

Category: Blog Created: Thursday, 12 May 2016 Published: Thursday, 12 May 2016

Posted by Alvin Ong on May 12, 2016

Dear fellow ITMA members,

Greetings to everyone on behalf of the newly elected 37th ITMA Council. We had just convened our 1st ITMA Council meeting two days ago and as a first-term president, I am also learning, unlearning, re-learning on how ITMA operates, delivers value to its members and stays relevant in the changing business-IT landscape. I would also like to take this opportunity to give you a heads-up on some of the upcoming plans and issues that we have deliberated.


Firstly, I would like to put on record, our Council's appreciation for those Council members and Honorary Auditor who have served with distinction and stepped down this term. They are Steve Lee, Glen Francis, Tan Bee Teck (stepped down as Treasurer but continuing to serve as Council member), Dr Leong Mun Kew, Alfred Anand, Lee Kee Siang, Lee Siew Kit and Leong Chin Yew. While they may have stepped down from the Council, I know some of them are still contributing in the capacity of advisors to the various ITMA programmes such as the 10th CIO Study Trip and 22nd ITBP. 

Professional Development and Engagement 

We had organised our society's activities into two main tracks, namely, Professional Development (led by VP Ang Mui Kim) and Engagement (led by VP Alan Goh). For example, ITBP and Good Morning CIO Breakfast Talks would fall into Professional Development, while the annual CIO Workshop and CIO Study Trip would fall into Engagement. The Professional Development track is more education-focused while the Engagement track is more networking-focused although they are not mutually exclusive. Both professional development and engagement aspects of our association complement each other and add value to a member's development. The 10th CIO Study Trip is planned for 22 to 29 October 2016 in USA. Targeted at about 35 CIOs, we hope to visit exclusive sites such as Google, Facebook, GE, Tesla, etc. The 29th CIO Workshop (28 June to 1 July 2016) and 22nd ITBP (tentatively 4 November 2016) will be even more exciting this year with a slew of top-notch speakers. 

ITMA 5-Year Masterplan Workshop 

IT is a key enabler and a source of competitive advantage or even survival in corporations today. In the past year, we have heard of many incumbents being disrupted by new entrants through technological innovations in the sharing economy. I do worry about whether ITMA will be disrupted by informal virtual networks such as LinkedIn which is so easy to setup. I learned from my mentors that the best time to challenge and disrupt ourselves is when things seem to be going well for us. As such, I would like to invite members to participate in the ITMA 5-Year Masterplan Workshop tentatively planned over two Saturdays in July 2016 from 8am to 2.30pm(look out for the eDM closer to date). We will provide breakfast at 8am, free flow of beverages and end off with a networking lunch at 1pm. Both workshops will be identical and you can choose to attend either one. At each workshop, we aim for 50 members to give us about 4 hours of their time to deliberate on the future direction of ITMA and how we stay relevant and on top of our game. I would like to thank Honorary Secretary Mark Tham who has kindly consented to organize this new initiative. 

TechSkills Accelerator 

Recently, you might have read about the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiatives from MCI as part of their COS announcement. I believe these are part of a package of initiatives designed to plug the skills gap in our changing economy. As ITMA, we are the major employers of IT professionals and many of us know the daily challenges of hiring good IT professionals, especially in new areas such as Data Analytics and Cyber Security. For this we have been approached by IDA/WDA to be their partner on TeSA. There will be an Industry Briefing on the 26 May morning and ITMA has been invited to make a presentation. We will also work in collaboration with major professional societies and IHLs to forge an integrated pathway for the aspiring IT professionals in their skills and career development towards becoming a CIO. 

Refresh of Constitution 

Our ITMA Constitution was last updated many years ago and it was recently tested at the 29th March 2016 AGM where members had to vote for secret ballot instead of the show-of-hand voting method. There are suggestions to refresh the Constitution to improve governance and create a more vibrant and dynamic ITMA. For example, one suggestion is to limit the term of the President or Council members to a fixed number of consecutive terms in order to institutionalize renewal. We welcome feedback and will be studying the implication of changes to the Constitution. At a future AGM, we will bring it up for members' approval. 

Annual Subscription Fee Non-Payment 

Many members have enjoyed the privilege of ITMA membership and attended our ITMA organized events which are usually offered free of charge, thanks partially to the annual subscription fees collected. This contrasts with the other professional associations that usually levy a fee for their events. Annual membership fees are payable by end January each year to sustain the cost of running ITMA and payable regardless of whether members attend any events in a year. There have been difficulties in collecting subscription fees from some members and we strongly urge our members to pay their membership subscription fees promptly annually. This would prevent the situation of having to re-apply for ITMA membership due to non-payment and having to pay for the entrance fee ($100) again. 

Concluding Remarks 

We have a very committed team of Council members who volunteer their valuable personal time to serve the association. All have very busy full-time day jobs and as much as they would like to, there is simply not enough time to work on all ideas and suggestions from members and stakeholders. On this note, I hope more ITMA members can step forward to contribute their expertise and time alongside the elected Council members. Feel free to approach me or any of the Council members if you would like to help out. I like this quote "Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." This is a good reminder on how ITMA can prioritise our to-do list. Finally, I would like to wish everyone a healthy, fruitful and exciting year ahead. 

Yours faithfully,

Alvin Ong
ITMA President (2016) 
12th May 2016

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