ITANZ backs 'loose' alliance

ITANZ executive director Jim O'Neill has taken down his "umbrella" and replaced it with an "alliance".

ITANZ executive director Jim O’Neill has taken down his “umbrella” and replaced it with an “alliance”.

After various industry groups disputed the merits of proposals for a representative body covering all IT sectors, O’Neill and others now talk of a looser grouping they hope to launch in the new year.

“We have to stop calling it an umbrella. It’s more of an alliance. We ought to call it an information industry alliance,” he says.

“We are not going to have a leader. We are not going to have a [fixed] chair. It will be rotated. It is actually an alliance, but a loose one, not working to a specific agenda or constitution. Organisations can take part or not,” O’Neill says.

Earlier talk of an umbrella group had received at best lukewarm support from other IT-based organisations.

Internet New Zealand head Sue Leader says her organisation has “no opinion” on such a body, as the various organisations already network informally and this works well. “It is entirely up to Jim to do whatever Jim is doing,” she says.

New Zealand Computer Society head Gillian Reid opposed the idea of an umbrella group, saying herself, TUANZ and Internet NZ did not want to be part of any group that might be dominated by one player. She favoured some kind of federation or more equal partners.

Ernie Newman of TUANZ also saw no value in an umbrella organisation. He says TUANZ is not involved in any talks concerning one, and relations between TUANZ and ITANZ are “under some stress” over the issue. “We have no wish to change the status quo,” Newman says.

The latest proposals for an alliance arose at an “informal meeting with no agenda” of the New Zealand Computer Society, the Wireless Forum, the NZ Software Association, Software Quality New Zealand and ITANZ.

Areas of common interest would be developing an enterprise culture in New Zealand, realising the full potential of IT, education, skills, training, R&D, inward investment, tax, security, cyber-crime and future developments.

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