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This week's ITP update

Paul Matthews, ITP Chief Executive. 18 November 2016, 3:35 pm
This week's ITP update

Here's a quick update from IT Professionals NZ, put together by ITP CEO Paul Matthews.

Well, what a week! As with many others, ITP's Wellington operations were disrupted thanks to the M7.8 quake followed by significant flooding. While it was merely a disruption for us, our hearts and thoughts go out to those who were more significantly impacted with both loss of life and loss of livelihood and homes.

Despite the issues mother nature threw at us, our sector carried on. I know many of you were busy implementing Disaster response switchovers and processes and from what we hear, most organisations impacted had good processes in place to allow them to continue with a minimum of disruption.

On the conference side of things, the SingularityU future-focused conference happened in Christchurch on Monday to Wednesday and by all accounts was a great success. As you read this, the annual hacker and security conference Kiwicon X is also winding down at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington. Great to see these could both proceed this week. 

The Government's ICT Marketplace

ITP, alongside NZTech and NZRise, hosted the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) in Christchurch on Thursday to talk about the upcoming ICT (or rather, Cloud) Marketplace they're putting into place. If you supply to Government (or in fact are a Government agency) you really need to know about this - it's essentially a catalogue approach and has the potential to change the way Government procures cloud services.

As with the previous presentations in Auckland and Wellington, it's fair to say that the industry still has plenty of questions about this initiative. With basically no information on the GCIO's ict.govt.nz website (other than a mention on the Action Plan) and it being news to many of those attending from both Government agencies and Industries; alongside no clear answers on questions around things like pricing models for diverse offerings, structure and how it will work in practice, we're certainly concerned about the declared 1 July 2017 launch date - especially given the procurement for the marketplace platform hasn't even begun.

Having said all of that, it was good of the GCIO to front on this issue and we look forward to engaging further as we seek answers on some of these issues on behalf of the profession. We're looking at pulling a small group of folks together to look into this further, meet with DIA and work with us on framing questions - drop me a note if you're interested. The intention would be to seek specific clarifications and update the membership in due course. 

Education changes

I've also just come from a fairly long meeting with Education Minister Hekia Parata, discussing the school curriculum changes and the issues the industry and profession have. While we support the general thrust of what they're proposing, we still hold very serious concerns about the structure and resourcing alongside the core curriculum changes.

It was certainly a very 'robust' (but positive) discussion. 

As we've previously outlined, and as spelt out in ITP President Ian Taylor's open letteralongside Orion's Ian McCrae and The Mind Lab's Frances Valintine, we strongly support what the Education Ministry is trying to do in expanding digital tech throughout the school sector and making it a priority - in fact we've been calling for it for a number of years. But we have concerns about whether the structure announced, or resources, are sufficient to get us there.

While it was robust, it was also a productive meeting. Graeme Muller (who also attended) and I believe the Minister heard our concerns and a number of possible options and solutions were discussed. This focused in part around ensuring Digital Tech had the exposure, structure and resources necessary to equip the next generation with the digital competency and confidence they need to compete on the world stage - in any industry, not just tech. I'll be discussing some of this with officials over the next week or two and will provide an update soon on whether we see this all as either a lost opportunity or a real chance for transformational change.

We also talked with the Minister about how the industry and profession could contribute to the digital tech transformation in the education sector, and a few ideas were discussed. We're fleshing some of this out and will put some ideas out soon. I'm keen on our membership's views on all of this - look out for a quick update and consultation soon.

Anyway, keep safe everyone and have a great weekend. 

P.S. Apologies for the multiple event notices some of you may have received today. Still a few gremlins being ironed out - the devs are onto it and have assured us it won't happen again.


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