This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Leon Strous: President International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), Chair International Advisory Board World CIO Forum (WCF), Chair International Steering Committee World IT Forum (WITFOR), Senior IT Auditor Netherlands Central Bank

Enjoy!
Stephen Ibaraki

Leon StrousLeon Strous was born in 1960 in the Netherlands and he is still residing there today with his wife Pattry.

Leon has bachelor equivalent degrees in business economics and business informatics, a postgraduate degree in EDP-Audit; he is qualified as a registered EDP-Auditor (RE) in the Dutch Association of Registered EDP-Auditors (NOREA) and he is also a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

Leon started his career in metal and plastics processing and then went onto eight years with the sales organisation of Philips Electronics in the Netherlands. His focus areas were administration, internal control and information security. Since 1993, Leon has been with the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), which is the central (or national) bank of the Netherlands, in different positions as IT auditor in the internal audit department, and as overseer in the oversight department of the cash and payments division, focusing on the security of payment systems. His work also links to the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). Currently his main jobs are advancing business continuity and crisis management arrangements with the key players in the payments and securities clearing and settlement processes in the financial sector in the Netherlands, and liaising between the financial sector and the government concerning critical infrastructure protection programs.

Leon is a member of a number of professional societies and has been active in many different positions in the Dutch Computer Society (NGI) since 1988, including member of the Board for five years, and in the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) since 1994, including a vice-presidency and in August 2009, he was honourably elected as president for the 2010-2013 term.

Leon has co-authored and co-edited publications in the area of information security and chaired/organized several international security conferences. Since 2001, his significant contributions include work with the IFIP World IT Forum (WITFOR), a conference focusing on the application of ICT in developing countries, and the IFIP World CIO Forum (IFIP WCF), the first forum that combines global CIOs, senior academics, industry and government leaders and experts. Currently he is the chair of the WITFOR International Steering Committee and Chair of the WCF International Advisory Board.

IFIP, the International Federation for Information Processing, was founded under the auspices of the United Nations Educational Scientific Organization in 1960 and now has over 50 country member bodies and affiliates representing over 80 countries. The membership is nearly 1 million leaders, academics, and professionals. IFIP is a consultative body for IT for the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization, Sector Member for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the Scientific Associate Member of the International Council for Science (ICSU).

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

DISCUSSION:

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:01:05:
President of IFIP, Leon Strous overviews IFIP and describes what he hopes to accomplish during his term of office.
"....What I hope to accomplish during my term of office is to increase the accessibility of IFIP to other organizations ....."

:03:24:
What are the biggest opportunities and challenges for IFIP?
"....If we can open up to additional Societies that's an enormous opportunity for IFIP to make a difference and to seize the opportunity to define the direction for research and professionalism....The biggest challenge would be to mobilize sufficient volunteers to keep our activity levels at least on the level we have today but preferably to increase it...."

:05:40:
How does IFIP benefit its member bodies, computing professionals, business, industry, governments, academia, and society?
"....Member bodies – talking to each through a body like IFIP....Computing professionals – sharing the approaches from different countries....Business and Industry – need professional, skilled and knowledgeable people....Governments – a body like IFIP is politically neutral; also our academic research identifies trends and key areas which help governments make decisions....Academia – through IFIP events...."

:11:10:
Can you profile the World CIO Forum or WCF and your role with the WCF?
"....Our colleagues from the Chinese Institute of Electronics (CIE) have offered to host the first World CIO Forum (November 1-4, 2011 in Shenzhen, China) under the auspices of IFIP. IFIP gladly accepted that offer which means that we have a new event specifically aimed at CIOs....providing a forum for the CIOs to talk to each other and share experiences and look for solutions...."

:14:44:
Can you get into more detail about the vision, mission, and the major goals of the World CIO Forum (WCF)?
"....To increase IT use in business and society by bringing together the decision makers in that area to build bridges between officials, IT executives and professionals....It's not only the CIOs we would like attending the forum, it's also the professionals and the researchers to share different perspectives and by doing that creating a better understanding of all these different worlds...."

:16:18:
You have already talked about CIOs who will be attending and also researchers, are there others who you would like to see attending this event?
"....Decision makers like the CIOs, policy makers from government, practitioners and researchers...."

:18:04:
Does IFIP have a news release about the World CIO Forum – are there any endorsements within that news release?
"....There is a mixture of different kinds of companies endorsing the event who see the benefit in such a gathering....I would like to refer the listeners to the IFIP website for our latest newsletter on the event....The audience can also go to the World CIO Forum website for the latest information on the event...."

:20:29:
Who are examples of those serving on the technical committees and other committees and on the boards for the World CIO Forum?
"....There is a very rich mixture of well respected and well connected people from industry, academics and government...."

:23:39:
Please summarize why CIOs, senior executives, government, academia, and industry leaders should participate in the World CIO Forum?
"....To take the opportunity to talk to not only each other or their peers but to talk to colleagues from different backgrounds, disciplines and perspectives because that is in my view needed when you have to lead, as a CIO, your IT departments or to advise your board about where to go with the ICT in your company...."

:24:25:
What about the future for the World CIO Forum?
"....We are very confident that this will be a successful first edition and a successful first edition should be followed by next editions....We will also investigate options to cooperate with other groups. There are a lot of CIO networks in the world so there is definitely an opportunity see where we can join forces and bring together the best of more than one world...."

:26:03:
What are the vision, mission, and goals for the World IT Forum (WITFOR)?
"....The World IT Forum is aimed at the application of IT in developing countries in a number of application areas like health, environment, education, agriculture. It is focusing on not the technological developments, but on the application of technology systems in a way that they are really effective and beneficial for developing countries...."

:28:17:
There is another program of IFIP called the International Professional Practice Partnership Initiative (IP3). What are your goals for IP3?
"....There's quite a lot of things already happening in the world certification programs, accreditation programs and IFIP, through its IP3 project (which is an instrumental project for achieving this goal), is trying to bring together a lot of these initiatives to make sure that there is as little confusion about all the approaches as possible. The people in the IP3 project are working very hard to reach out to all our constituencies to make sure that professionalism is encouraged...."

:30:49:
Do you have an update on the World Computer Congress (WCC)?
"....That's our third flagship event and the one which is historically aimed at technological advances. The next one is planned for September 2012, in Amsterdam, Netherlands....Naturally we still want to continue presenting progress in technology and the research in that area but we have chosen a different approach for the event in 2012; we've decided as a theme - Putting the IT Professionals First...."

:33:59:
If you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"....How can one contribute to the work that IFIP and its member societies do?....What would it take to convince someone to become a volunteer?...."