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ACS Week In Review: 22 November 2013

Friday, 22 Nov 2013

Brenda Aynsley elected to the ACS Presidency 2014-2016

The Australian Computer Society’s Brenda Aynsley has today been elected to the ACS Presidency. Ms Aynsley will commence her 2 year term on January 1, 2014.

ACS President Dr Nick Tate paid tribute to his successor. “Brenda is an exceptional member of the ACS who has dedicated much of her time to the advancement of the ICT profession in South Australia and across the nation. She will be an inspiring leader for the organisation as it continues to grow in membership and relevance."

Dr Tate also reflected on his time as President which will conclude on January 1 2014. “It has been a singular honour to lead the Society. We are a great organisation made so by the strength and talent of our members, volunteers and staff. I want to thank all of those who have supported me in my role.”

Ms Aynsley made a short statement after the result was announced.

"I am honoured to lead the ACS at this critical time in the evolution of the digital economy particularly in Australia, where the need for professionalism in ICT is more pressing than ever. As President-Elect I would like to acknowledge the work of the current President, Dr Nick Tate, and the ACS management committee, congress, boards and branches."

What skills will IT need in a cloud world?

Gus Balbontin may not look like your enemy, but he is a symbol of what is effectively becoming your biggest problem – if, that is, you're an IT practitioner trained to manage internal systems.

There is likely to be a Gus in your organisation. Maybe several of them. And while it isn’t their intention, Gus might be about to make you obsolete.

Balbontin is director of transformation and publishing with Lonely Planet, the global travel colossus that ships over six million books every year from warehouses around the world.

He is excited about what has been made possible by the company's decision to abandon nearly eight years of investment in its monolithic SAP back-end system – in favour of an entirely cloud-hosted business environment delivered as-a-service by NetSuite.

“We are a global brand with a very ambitious agenda to grow even further, and quickly,” explains Balbontin. “Doing that in the current system is cumbersome, complex, takes time, and gives you a headache.”

Sheryl Sandberg’s passionate plea for women to assert themselves

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has delivered a passionate - and at times humorous - call for women to assert themselves in the workplace claiming that their voices remain unheard in leadership roles.

Speaking at the 130,000-attendee Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, hosted by American business software company Salesforce, Sandberg said female leaders were often negatively perceived as aggressive while the same characteristic was encouraged in male counterparts.

“No matter what progress women have made we are still really far from getting our share of leadership roles, in any industry, in any country, anywhere in the world,” Sandberg said. “That means when decisions are made that most impact our world our voices aren’t equally heard.

 “It is stereotypes and cultures. What is so striking having now been all over the world talking to women is that our cultures are so different - China, Korea, France, the United States - except for one thing. Our stereotypes of men and women are actually exactly the same everywhere. We believe men should be assertive, aggressive, leaders. Everywhere in the world we believe women should speak when spoken to, raise their hand, give to others.”

COBOL still not dead yet, taking on the cloud

"It's almost impossible for most people, in our day-to-day lives, to avoid a COBOL application," says Stuart McGill, chief technology officer and general manager of Borland for Micro Focus. "COBOL applications tend to be the ones we can't really do without."

Approaching 30 years with the company, it's fair to say that McGill is familiar with the ins and outs of one of the oldest programming languages around — a language that still sits at the core of the financial world.

"Normally most transactions that we go through everyday would be supported by COBOL applications, still are, have been for 30-40 years, probably still will be for 10 to 20 at least," McGill says.

For decades, COBOL has been running on the heavy iron that occupies the computational core of many banking institutions — it's a sector that is traditionally conservative and waits for the technology hype cycles to pass before extracting the tangible gains on offer. With the advent and proven advantages of virtualisation, and the acceptance of cloud as a viable platform, COBOL is beginning to move from the mainframe, and heading into the cloud.