Posted by: peterhact | January 2, 2013

Ethics and the ICT industry

There is a new article today on IT News – it is already attracting comments, in fact I made one but it hasn’t yet showed up, so I thought I would just bring my followers and readers to a couple of interesting things:

1. here is the article, if you haven’t seen it yet:

IT, corruption and ethics

2. Here is my take on the article.

The article talks about ethics in ICT and the apparent lack thereof. I dispute this. There are codes of ethics already established in the ICT sector, both from Industry associations and the Australian Government. The pity is, it seems that many organisations don’t know about either sources. If you are a member of an industry association, you may already have agreed to the by-laws that provide you with a code of conduct. All industry associations have these agreements already in place, so that their members know where they stand when it comes to dealing with all types of clients.

As for Government, Federal Government specifically, regardless of my employer, I have agreed to moral and ethical requirements as a sales person in this industry, I see it as a requirement to be able to deal with all clients and I urge you to read, sign and join the ICT companies who have already signed this particular document – it is an initiative that enables all of us to say to whoever raises the issue, we have agreed to stringent requirements that are an agreement between the ICT industry and Federal Government to treat and be treated with respect. It isn’t a big ask.

The Government and Industry Principles of Engagement on ICT

The reason that you have to agree to industry association codes of conduct and the federal government’s version is that when media outlets run headlines about how all ICT companies are corrupt, some end users are going to believe them. These codes are for your protection, they will ensure that you can dispute any claims that all companies are corrupt – which is a pretty long stretch to reach a conclusion about every single company. By the way, did you know that the APS has a code of conduct? so if the client has one, why is it so surprising to find that the ICT Industry has one too?

One suggestion is that more companies should join the Australian Computer Society. This would be far easier if not for the fact that the perception of the ACS is an elitist, expensive group, that most small businesses cannot afford to join. If they aren’t, maybe they need to advertise that factor a bit better to the industry. If there was an industry association that welcomed members – individuals, companies and all, at a set flat fee, there might be more take-up in membership numbers.

Perhaps the media highlighting this issue will be a driver for change. I personally feel that the issue will have end users thinking that we all are “dodgy”. The damage that this could cause is immense, particularly when the industry is suffering under an economy that is not in any way profitable for anyone right now.

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