Honours for hi-tech highfliers
Hong Kong’s leading and upcoming information and communications technology (ICT) professionals were rewarded at the Hong Kong Computer Society’s (HKCS) Outstanding ICT Achiever Awards 2012 (OICTAA) at Cyberport.
Co-organised by the Classified Post, the event honoured 29 winners across five categories. They were recognised for their innovation, excellence and significant contributions to the industry, as well as to social and economic development.
Sunny Lee, executive director for information technology at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and chairman of the organising committee, lauded this year’s winners. “I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations ... and hope that the awardees will continue their good work in advancing the local ICT industry and talent cultivation,” he said.
Lee emphasised the innovation factor in determining this year’s winners. “Technology has advanced at such a speed ... and this is exactly due to ICT professionals’ continuous effort in innovation and making progress. ICT professionals must succeed in the spirit of innovation and promote ICT development with creativity, thus improving human life with an ICT-enabled new lifestyle which is more convenient and efficient,” he said.
Paul Chow, chairman of Hong Kong Cyberport Management, and head of the judging panel, enjoyed the opportunity “to learn from the successful achievements” of the winners. “It is gratifying to see ICT professionals in Hong Kong continue to be hard-working, innovative and creative,” he said.
For his part, HKCS president Ir Stephen Lau hailed the awardees for setting a good example. “[OICTAA] is for the recognition of ICT talents’ contributions, and moreover, to make the public aware of the importance of the industry and encourage more people, especially the young, to become involved with it and be its new driving force,” he said.
The night’s biggest winner was Roy Pun Sai-lit, associate partner at IBM Global Business Services, IBM China/Hong Kong, who was adjudged Top ICT Achiever of the Year. Pun has already won an Outstanding ICT Achiever Award for project management, in 2009, and also triumphed again this year, this time in the consulting category, as well as the top prize. “I was so surprised. It’s a great honour to receive this award,” he said.
Pun has been with IBM for over 14 years. He specialises in business consulting, especially enterprise resource planning (ERP) in various industries. His expertise includes consultancy engagement, product management, IT strategy and solution design.
During the past three years, Pun has played a leading role in key transformation projects for various clients. “We provide services that help clients transform their business to address increasing complexity and help them gain a competitive advantage in the new social and digital era. Our clients look not only for consultancy but also for end-to-end industry solutions. IBM can provide this speciality,” Pun said.
Recently Pun led the implementation of a new student-information system at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). The 27-month project involved campus solutions and integration with existing IT applications resulting from the 3+3+4 Undergraduate Education Reform.
Pun’s role model is Henry W.K. Chow, general manager of the IBM Greater China Group from 1995 to 2009 and winner of the 2008 OITAA Lifetime Achievement Award. Chow is widely recognised for steering IBM China during its period of fastest growth. “He had a very strong business vision for the ICT industry, especially for IBM China. He also nurtured many talents to support IBM’s growth. He inspired many IT and business leaders in Greater China,” Pun said.
Besides his work, Pun takes part in voluntary teaching programmes for middle-school students. “I help them understand more about the ICT industry and try to convince them to join it after graduation. ICT is a very interesting and challenging area. They can create a lot of innovation and not be limited by their knowledge,” he stresses.
“We need to attract more young and innovative people to the ICT industry. In today’s big data world, social media and mobile networking are changing the way of doing business. We definitely need more ideas in the industry,” Pun adds.
The other major honouree was the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Professor Yeung Yuet-bor, adjunct professor at the Department of Information Systems at City University of HK (CityU). Yeung, a member of Hong Kong’s early generation of IT professionals, has 37 years’ technical, management and leadership experience while serving in the banking and financial industries in Hong Kong and Canada. His major accomplishments include setting up the Hexagon Electronic Banking System, a precursor of internet banking, while vice-president of the Group Systems Development Centre of HSBC Group, Vancouver, in 1989. Later, as regional chief information officer of HSBC Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong, Yeung helped roll out e-banking, phone banking, real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS), cheque-imaging and truncation systems (CITS), and internet banking.
After retiring in 2006, Yeung stayed busy, serving in various government bodies including the Deposit Protection Board, the Education Manpower Bureau’s Qualification Framework Project, and the Lottery Fund Committee. He also decided that the classroom was the perfect platform for sharing his knowledge. “I felt it was my role to share my practical experiences,” he said.
At CityU, Yeung lectures at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. He remains an avid follower of technology trends. “I have to keep up with new technologies because in my teaching position, I don’t have a choice. I need to get ahead of my students,” he said.
Surveying Hong Kong’s ICT landscape, Yeung is optimistic, but thoughtful. “The focus of a lot of people in Hong Kong is making money. That should not be the ultimate objective. I want to encourage the younger generation to think not just of the money side, but also how to contribute to society,” he says.
He acknowledged HKCS’s valuable efforts in steering the ICT industry in the right direction. “HKCS provides a forum. Its activities and projects enable ICT people to contribute to the community and benefit from other people’s experiences while promoting the industry as a whole,” Yeung said.
Yeung believes he owes his social perspective to John Strickland, former chairman of HSBC, whom he considers his early mentor and role model. “When I started as a trainee programmer at HSBC in 1969, John was the manager of the IT department. He taught me a lot of things: how to use technology, how to be a low-cost producer, avoiding diversity when creating solutions. Over the years, we both progressed in the bank until I moved to Canada. When John retired, he continued to contribute to society as well,” Yeung said.