What is a Visionary CIO

The Institute for IT Professionals in South Africa recognises visionary IT leaders and personalities through an annual award supported by ITWeb, GIBS and Gartner.

It showcases executives who have “demonstrated exceptional leadership in using technology to support and grow business.”

CIOs of Standard Bank, Absa, Telkom, Discovery, Eskom and other leading South African companies made the finals which were announced in July.

All of these people have made a significant contribution to the industry and demonstrated vision and leadership in running teams and enabling business outcomes with IT.

Read: “Peter Alkema wins Visionary CIO 2016”

Winning the award was a career highlight and a humbling acknowledgment of my contributions to the industry during the year.

I said in my acceptance speech that to have vision you need to have perspective for the long term.

I’m proud to be able to stand on the shoulders of giants many of them among the 4000 IT professionals at FirstRand and many across the industry that I have been lucky enough to interact with and learn from.

Vision is also about professionalising the IT career and making it an attractive option for school leavers, which often starts before people leave school.

Let’s get kids coding and familiar with tech so they can grow and develop with a desire to continue changing the world with software.

Education is under pressure and changing; consider the innovative models of IT training adopted by Arlene Mulder and her team at Wethinkcode.

Consider the incredible work of Barry Dwolatsky and his team at JCSE and the partnerships that Wits and other universities are driving with the corporate sector.

Technology vision also includes a passion for building great software and tech architectures that make people’s lives easier.

The world’s exponential companies are disrupting global industries with new, tech-enabled ways of doing business.

South Africa has great entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and building businesses entirely on disruptive tech; Bevan Ducasse at wigroup, Richard Johnson at Guidepostboth of whom were recognised by FNB’s annual Innovation Awards.

IT teams need visionary leadership; from the enterprise level all the way down to the devops teams, agile project teams and production support.

People need a way forward, direction and purpose; IT people also need to demonstrate mastery – these are the great motivators of the modern workplace.

Matching these desires with the urgent problems of today means that technology can create significant value – both for profit motives and for society.

People with vision prefer to create the future rather than wait for it and there is no doubt that innovative software is disrupting our world.

Well done to the Institute and sponsors of this award for showcasing the companies and their CIOs that are helping lead us into this exciting, tech-driven future.

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