The recent ACS acquisitions will help deliver the vision of building the nation’s technology profession while providing a powerful voice for members. Information Age caught up with ACS President Yohan Ramasundara to discuss ACS strategy.

Information Age: What is the background to the ACS acquiring Data Governance Australia (DGA), Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA), Digital + Technology Collective (D+TC), and the Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA)?

Ramasundara: In 2017 the ACS Strategy 2017-2022 was launched with a vision for Australia to be a world leader in technology talent, fostering innovation and creating new forms of value. As the association for Australia’s technology profession, we are passionate about technology being recognised as a driver of productivity, innovation and business – able to deliver real, tangible outcomes.

The strategy contains three pillars:

• Capacity; expanding the available human capital in the profession

• Capability; lifting the quality of the human capital in the profession

• Catalyst; ACS being a conduit for sparking innovation.

The strategy also included a series of enablers of how ACS must prepare ourselves in order to successfully deliver on the strategy. This included looking for opportunities to improve market positioning and relevance, such as acquisitions and new areas of service and delivery mechanisms.

Members will recall our acquisition of River City Labs last year. We have subsequently rolled out Harbour City Labs and Bay City Labs to support tech entrepreneurs taking their product and problem solving skills to global markets.

Information Age: How does the recent acquisition of DGA, IAPA, D+TC and ADMA deliver on this strategy?

Ramasundara: It’s incredibly important that we stay ahead of trends, and provide leadership to the profession, government and society.

Everyone can see the clear alignment of DGA and IAPA, and understand the importance of digital business models and UX with and D+TC. ADMA has surprised a few people, but after they think about, can understand and see the convergence trends.

As we have seen in the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission digital platforms enquiry, customer communications in any digital economy have converged with the operation of the technology stack – more than 50% of Australian advertising spend occurs on digital platforms with many involved in communications and marketing needing to understand basic html coding, privacy and security laws, data analysis and business intelligence, and how to maximise market reach, personalisation and customisation on platforms such as Google, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Linkedin.

The issues of privacy and security are issues that take leadership and is exactly why ACS needs to prominent in navigating them.

The strategic purpose of these asset acquisitions is that they will afford the opportunity of end to end education solutions from data capture, data governance, data security, data analysis to provide business intelligence, to data use.

If I was to use our SFIA parlance; this means being a custodian of data right throughout the value chain from IT Governance, Information Management, Information Assurance, Data Management, Analytics, Relationship Management, Digital Marketing, User Experience Design, Innovation, Emerging Technology Monitoring!

Information Age: How has ACS been showing leadership in the data value chain?

Ramasundara: The main piece of work of privacy and security has been through our technical committees lead by Dr Ian Oppermann and the reports on data sharing frameworks:

· Privacy in Data Sharing: A guide for business and government

· Data Sharing Frameworks

There have been additional publications:

· Blockchain Challenges For Australia

· Hacking Democracies - Cataloguing Cyber-Enabled Attacks On Elections

· Blockchain 2030 - A Look At The Future Of Blockchain In Australia

· Blockchain Innovation - A Patent Analytics Report

· Artificial Intelligence - A Starter Guide To The Future Of Business

· Introducing Integrated E-Government In Australia

· Information Age - Cyber Security Experts Series

· Australia's IoT Opportunity - Driving Future Growth

· Cybersecurity - Threats, Challenges, Opportunities

I am incredibly inspired by the work of our members in these areas.

Information Age: In practice, what do the new acquisitions mean?

Ramasundara: Firstly, it is important that all our stakeholders understand that there is only one legal entity -- the ACS.

As a professional body, the ACS governance model is based on individuals as opposed to companies. Our professional membership requirements remain the same, and only members of the ACS professional division can be elected to participate in the ACS governance framework.

All of our codes of ethics, professional practice, and internal financial and contract delegations are applied across all areas of ACS.

Professional standards are the heart and soul of ACS as demonstrated by our standards setting with the Core Body of Knowledge, certification programs, accreditation of University courses, and professional education.

We have advisory arrangements across the breath of ACS too, to ensure early insight into trends and foresighting the future. Being able to work with the thought leaders across the advisory arrangements for DGA, IAPA, D+TC and ADMA is really exciting.

By bringing DGA, IAPA, D+TC and ADMA into the ACS family, will be able to promote professionalism and leverage best practice and insights to drive data-driven industries forward - particularly through a more collaborative Chief Information Officer, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Customer Officer relationship to achieve greater customer centric service delivery.