Opinion: Computer Society contemplates a rebrand

The NZCS is considering changing its name to Institute of IT Professionals. Chief executive Paul Matthews explains why

As many will be aware, we’re currently asking NZCS members and others in the IT community the age old question, “what’s in a name?” as we seek a mandate to change the Society’s name to the Institute of IT Professionals.

So, what is in a name? The answer, of course, is nothing. A name in itself does not an organisation make. But it’s hugely important that a name reflects what an organisation is and does and communicates this well.

But let’s start by getting one thing straight – this name change isn’t just for the fun of it. We’re making this change because we strongly believe it’s what New Zealand’s IT community needs.

It’s fair to say that NZCS has been undergoing significant transformation in recent years.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise. With the profession we represent, if we’re serious about maintaining relevance, we have to be prepared to adapt and change. However it’s also fair to say that there have been times in our history when we haven’t achieved this.

But if I had to name the single most significant change we’ve made thus far, I’d say it was changing our focus from inwards-looking (what’s best for NZCS?) to outwards-looking (we’re here for a purpose – what’s best for New Zealand?). In my mind it was only then that we regained the right to call ourselves a professional body.

Today our organisation is the largest IT body in the country. We oversee the independent accreditation for IT professionals, run hundreds of events every year, operate mentoring, are about to evangelise in schools and do a heap of other stuff.

We’re made up of a community of thousands of IT people who are passionate about the transformational power of IT, but who also believe our profession must weave our magic within an ethical framework.

And that’s the key. Today NZCS exists for the profession rather than for its own sake.

We are no longer just a club, we’re a credible professional body. And that’s exactly what our industry needs.

But does the name “Computer Society” communicate that?

Our research found that twice as many of the public identified with the new name over the old and 82 percent would “trust” the new name over the old one. This is even more pronounced when we look at those under 30.

Whether we like it or not, if our profession and our industry is to grow within New Zealand or to the world it has to be on the basis of trust, credibility and respect.

As our industry’s professional body, we have a huge role to play in that. Which is exactly why we’ve transformed NZCS in recent years.

It’s not all about the name, it’s about who we are and who we’ve become. But now it’s time for our name to reflect that.

This name isn’t intended to change who we are. We think we’re already the Institute of IT Professionals and it’s about time our name caught up.

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