Careers: Interviews
Charles Hughes: President 2005-2006, British Computer Society; Chair, IFIP Task Force for the International Professional Practice Program; Founder, eManagement Limited

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P. has an exclusive interview with Charles Hughes.

Charles HughesCharles founded eManagement Ltd in 1999 providing strategic and project services to government and the IT industry. His 38 year career in IT, following a mathematics degree at the University of Manchester, began with ICL where he held various director level appointments. As Project Director at the DTI in the 1990's he developed and launched the Information Society Initiative.

Charles is Immediate Past President (2005-2006) of the British Computer Society (BCS). He joined the Society in 1974 and became a Fellow in 1990. Following a period as Vice President he was elected Deputy President in 2004. He chaired the team which developed the Professionalism in IT programme, which he champions and sponsors, and he has been deeply involved with the Society's governance and membership developments.

Charles has been a board director and chairman of IT companies in Australia, Germany, UK and US. His communication skills are widely used on behalf of clients and voluntary organizations and he has successfully guided cultural and organizational change across government and the private sector.

Charles is a Court Assistant of the Information Technologists' Company, Executive Council Member of the Parliamentary IT Committee, past Council Member of the Institute for the Management of Information Systems and past Chairman of the Real Time Club. He is married to Beverley and enjoys sport, food, travel and philately.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

00:027: Charles profiles his remarkable history in the IT industry.
"...I'm celebrating, later this year, my fortieth anniversary of being in the IT industry...."

05:28: Charles talks about his current company, eManagement Ltd.
"...eManagement Ltd. works in a consultation and advisory role (programs and projects) in several different guises .....I also specialize in working on the interface between private sector (particularly the IT supply side) and central government. Having worked in both, it became very obvious that they are very different worlds and often they ignore each other or don't recognize what it is that the other does...the fact is that they are mutually dependent. They have different drivers, they speak different languages, their understanding of the different policy making methodologies differ substantially and often it is difficult for them to communicate successfully....I also work on the development of professionalism in our IT industry on a very broad base...."

09:05: Charles shares some stories and lessons he has gained from his many experiences.
"...When I returned (to the industry) from working for central government, a lot of people asked what it was like being back in the 'real world', obviously implying that the governments (politics) is not the 'real world'. It certainly is a different world, but it is absolutely real and the impacts the public sector and government have on the IT industry are absolutely fundamental...."

12:06: Charles profiles the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP), the task force and the Professional Practice Programme. He provides the background to what the BCS and other organizations such as CIPS have been doing over the past years to form the foundation of the task force. He also discusses professionalism in the IT industry.
"...An article in the Times a short while ago referenced this report from the Royal Academy of Engineer and British Computer Society, and said (in other words), 'the IT industry is sloppy'.... I think that is a charge that we have to counteract...."

18:52: Charles expands on the early leadership taken by the BCS in meeting the challenges nationally and then taking it to the international stage and what the profession is working towards.
"....Our profession, more than many others, is international and we do need to have an international perspective. We were delighted to be invited to the keynote address to the World Computer Congress in August, 2006. As a result of the that and the workshop that was organized in parallel with the conference IFIP council took the decision that running an international program for Professionalism in IT would be beneficial for practitioners, suppliers, and all the potential users of the IT systems....The program itself has to be a high profile program, we need to develop the standards, the benchmarks the measures for an international positioning of professionalism in IT...."

24:46: Charles comments on how the outcomes of the IFIP Professional Practice program will significantly impact: industry, business, government, etc. and the ICT professional and industry.
"...We think that the industry has just about reached the state of maturity where a program like this (international) can gain a lot of attraction..."

27:22: Charles discusses some of the critical issues facing organizations today and how can they be addressed and how this extends to leadership lessons that are essential for business and technology executives.
"...Create transformational values (rather than just implementing IT projects)...Building the capability from ongoing change....Creating a climate of open communication....Managing the confidence and the risk..."

37:41: Charles comments on some of the biggest issues facing user group communities, IT societies today and his recommendations for meeting these challenges.
"User societies, professional institutions in our industry have got an even bigger role to play today than they have ever had....Of paramount importance today is that IT practitioners are themselves professionals.....the people who use the IT technology to offer services and benefits to end users, customers...need to recognize that we have an industry here that is fundamental to everything else. It is very difficult to think of any activity (health, transport, finance, government, industry, commerce) that doesn't almost inevitably depend already on the products and services that our industry has implemented. That gives us a tremendous responsibility and professional institutions have got a major role to play, in developing the professionalism of the industry practitioners. The BCS Chartered IT professional is one which is regarded as a gold standard for IT practitioners (in Canada, CIPS has got the I.S.P.) ......"

42:58: The world today is such a dynamic environment. Charles gives his predictions of future IT/Business trends and their implications and opportunities.


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