This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Niko Schlamberger, International ICT Executive and Top-Ranking ICT Authority for Business, Industry, Governments, Academia, Journals, Regional and Global Organizations.

Enjoy!
Stephen Ibaraki

Niko SchlambergerAfter having worked shortly in the manufacturing industry, his professional experience is in the field of information technology in programming, application development, consulting, project management, and general management in the IT industry, in business, and in government. His career experience includes positions: Head of Software Development in the major Slovenian bank, IT Consultant, Assistant to General Manager of the (now) ex-Yugoslavian Federal Clearing Agency, and head of Slovenian Government Information Technology Office. His last formal position was Secretary at the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, in charge of special projects. He is the President of the National Computer Society - Slovenian Society INFORMATIKA (SSI), a member of the Language Chapter of SSI and a member of Board of Editors of, and a reviewer for, the Society's professional journal Uporabna Informatika (Applied Informatics). He is a reviewer for the journal of Information Technology and Control, published by Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

After having been elected a Trustee, in 2003 he was elected Vice-President of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) for a three year term. In 2006 he was elected again for the same office with a three-year mandate. Also in 2003 he was elected Honorary Secretary of Council of European Professional Societies (CEPIS), and in 2006 as CEPIS President Elect, to start the three-year presidential mandate in fall 2007. In 2004 he was a CEPIS candidate for a substitute board member of newly established European Network Information Security Agency (ENISA) and so appointed by the European Commission.

He was a visiting lecturer at the High School of Administration at the University of Ljubljana and has written a textbook on computer programming fundamentals. He is a member of programme committees of national and international computing and informatics conferences, and has contributed papers for national and international conferences. His bibliographical record shows over fifty papers, reports, and reviews on computing, information technology, general management, classifications, and administrative matters.

Link to: Niko Schlamberger CV

  • University degree: University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, in 1968
  • Languages: Slovenian; fluent in English, Croatian/Serbian; can read and write Cyrillic alphabet; can communicate in German; elementary knowledge of French and Italian
  • Family life: married, two grown daughters, living in own terrace house in Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Hobbies: mountaineering, skiing
  • Health: less than 30 days of sick leave during entire professional career

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

DISCUSSION:

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:01:13:
Niko, you were invited to speak at the World Computer Congress due to your globally recognized leadership. Tell us more about your talk and your experiences at the WCC.
"....My contribution in this Congress was mostly to define Professionalism in IT. I defined it by four parameters: knowledge, experience, references and ethics. The first three can be measured....but ethics is also important because not everything that can be done, even if it's legal, is necessarily ethical...."

:05:46:
What are five major challenges facing ICT in Europe and what are the solutions to the challenges?
"....The challenges I see are several but not particularly specific to Europe, but more pertinent to our lives in general regardless of the continent where we live....New IT machinery....Security....Digital literacy....Green computing....Niche software...."

:11:02:
What are the major innovations and opportunities for ICT in Europe and broader, and what actions can be taken to take advantage of these opportunities?
".....Intelligent hardware....Special software....e-services....Nanotechnology....Professionalism....Expert users...."

:14:45:
What are the top five global forces shaping ICT?
"....First and foremost, the global force shaping ICT is innovation....Technology, not information technology but technology as such the system to produce goods and facilities....Competition....Market...."

:18:28:
Can you profile the Slovenian national computer society, your roles with the society, and what are the goals for the society?
"....Established in 1976 its mission is to represent IT professionals, researchers, users communities coming from government, business, academia....This mission is carried out by raising awareness, sharing knowledge and providing forums for different situations related to ICT and ICT development...."

:21:26:
Can you profile CEPIS, your roles with CEPIS, and what CEPIS hopes achieve in the future?
"....Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS)....The idea behind establishing CEPIS was to represent the voice of European IT professionals....After twenty years, I believe that we in CEPIS have been successful in providing our views on Information Technology and its development in European Union in particular, but not just the European Union....There is a saying that success has many fathers but disaster is an orphan. I believe that CEPIS is a success...."

:26:38:
Niko shares his history with IFIP and the role he sees IFIP and IP3 playing regionally and globally.
"....IFIP was established to provide the leading edge in Informatics. In the 60's (the time of establishing it), there was hardly any talk about Informatics, it was information or computer sciences. Nevertheless I believe this was the original and primary role of establishing IFIP. The world has changed immensely since the 60's....I believe that the position of IFIP in this world should change a little bit....IP3 in this respect is an extremely important positive development because it promotes professionalism – the importance of professionals in IT...."

:31:34:
For IFIP – what next?
"....I believe that IFIP should reshape itself and it should resume the leading role in information science....In the 60's there were few computer scientists and they practically knew each other's goals, but now there are millions of computer scientists and IT professionals and it is much less possible for everybody to know everybody else. But with appropriate strategy, goals and action those goals can be achieved...."

:34:47:
You will be contributing business leaders for nomination consideration for the IP3 Global Industry Council. What vision do you see for the Global Industry Council?
"....My idea of the role and the contribution of the Global Industry Council is that it should endeavor to harmonize standards for IT professionalism. Not necessarily one standard for all countries but country standards should be compatible and not conflicting - so that if somebody was recognized as an IT professional in one country, the same recognition should be granted to him in all other countries that have harmonized their standards in this respect. This is an important task and I hope the Global Industry Council will be successful in this respect...."

:37:11:
Can you profile key added roles you have played in business, industry, governments, academia, and with journals and what lessons you wish to share from each role?
"....The lesson I learned in industry is to do my best and in business to play it fair....In government, the lessons I have learned, first and foremost, are to serve people and to avoid politics....In academia, it is extremely important to share knowledge....In my activities with journals (writing and as a reviewer), to help others increase knowledge...."

:43:01:
What is the role of professional societies and why should professionals get involved?
"....The roles of professional societies are important in that they are independent from any other entity (in particular from the industry and from the government). They can offer an impartial second opinion on issues of general interest, on issues of information technology, its usage, importance and its influence on our lives....What I would like to see is most if not all IT professionals would become a member of a professional Informatics Society....What's even more important on the long run is that it provides them with orientation in ethics...."

:47:43:
Can you comment on the power and future of civil society?
"....Civil society as such is a poorly understood word....The power of civil society is often underestimated....I believe the future of civil societies is more and more important and will influence the politics much more than it has done until now...."

:50:41:
What can you say about privacy and personal data use?
"....There is no clear-cut definition of where privacy starts and where it ends....Abuse is hard to prevent but easy to see....This will continue to be a hot topic in the future and it will be some time before there are commonly accepted solutions...."

:55:27:
Niko comments on his understanding of what is meant by "ICT as a true global profession".

:57:41:
What three pivotal lessons do you wish to share from your considerable history of national and international success?
"....Do your best....Avoid politics as much as you can....Respect culture...."

:59:56:
You choose the areas – provide your predictions of future trends and their implications/opportunities.
"....In terms of IT application:....Ubiquitous computing....Social networks – this is only the beginning....Virtual reality – much more life in this area....In terms of technology:....Quantum computing offers tremendous opportunities....Grid computing....Not cloud computing....Cloud computing is rather important in itself and it is not a new concept. I do not see it as an important future trend for the computer industry...."

:01:07:39:
Which are your top recommended resources for computing professionals and why?
"....Education and training is a lifelong process....Work to keep in shape....Ethics to keep relevance and credibility...."

:01:09:15:
Niko shares some stories from his work and many experiences.

:01:12:11:
If you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"....Am I really that old?....Do I have something to share?....Can I still follow?...."