Mok Chee Hong: Singapore Certified Green IT Professional (SCGP)

By Bhavani Prakash

Mok Chee Hong

Mok Chee Hong  is  Sustainability Ambassador of  Fuji Xerox Singapore (FXS),  one of the industry partners supporting Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation’s Singapore Certified Green IT Professional (SCGP) programme. Mok belongs to the Strategy & Innovation Office (SIO) of Fuji Xerox. He speaks to Bhavani Prakash of  Green Collar Asia (GCA) about the certification, and the benefits it can bring to businesses and IT professionals.

GCA: What does Green IT mean and what kind of technologies and processes does it entail?

Mok Chee Hong: It is a big challenge because there is no universal definition of Green IT per se. This is precisely the gap we have found in this part of the world where we try to create a common definition that IT professionals in Singapore can understand and create a meaningful conversation.

In our perspective we feel Green IT refers to the efficient application of energy sensitive technologies and techniques throughout the IT functions. Green IT then means a way of applying technologies that are energy efficient – they are energy compliant, sensitive to the Earth by not depleting resources and backed up by proper techniques and best practices that already exist in the industry today.

GCA: Tell us about Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) ’s initiative to roll out an industry recognised green IT certification.  

Mok Chee Hong: The Singapore IT Federation comprises of major technology industry partners including companies like Fuji Xerox, Microsoft, Netapps and EMC. So it is only appropriate for Singapore IT Federation to come together to develop a Green IT methodology and through this methodology provide a certification.  Singapore will be the incubation centre to breed a pool of skilled Green IT professionals. SiTF, in conjunction with the originator of the Green IT methodology, Mr Ian Tolond (CEO of e2Readiness) as well as the industry partners have the vision to extend the certification program internationally so as to benefit more people.

GCA: What does this course offer and how can IT professionals benefit?

Mok Chee Hong: That’s a good question. In my opinion the IT function has always been seen as a cost centre.  So in tough times, budgets from IT operations are usually the first to go. Through this certification, we hope to lift the professional image of IT people and say that they are a very essential partner of business operations. Through Green IT, they will be able to contribute to the top line of the businesses as well as help meet triple bottom line requirements through proper application of best practices. This is the whole objective of having the Green IT certification.

To check out SiTF’s Singapore Certified Green IT Professional programme, click here 

For the course Outline, click here 

For Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme (CITREP), established by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), click here

GCA:  Which tier of IT professionals is this certification for? Is it for the entry level, middle level or top management?

Mok Chee Hong : At this stage we are targeting more of the middle level – people who are in management and who have a say in IT resources and IT applications. Of course, there is no stopping us from targeting the entry level as well as the senior level. But since it is a full five day intensive course, including at least one day for an Elective Module (FXS is the first partner to offer it), to obtain the certification, to get a C-level person to sit through a five-day course is a challenge. There is a plan to design foundational courses to cater to both entry-level and C-level.

The course touches a variety of aspects not only of technologies, but also of practices and standards that are of international quality, as well as covering processes like how to run green projects, how to communicate with your business users through a term that we call eco-currencies. What this means is for example, if I have a business need that also needs to meet certain environmental requirements, I ask the question, “What are the common currencies with which we can communicate with the business users,  so that the outcome at the end of the roll is commonly understood by both parties?”

GCA: Do you also teach about end-of-life effects of technology?

Mok Chee Hong: Definitely! As a part of the framework it touches on what we call the entire product life cycle. We help people to think about the fact that as a part of your procurement cycle, you need to take into consideration what happens to the equipment that are in the environment and where they ultimately go. We help create some sort of a criteria for the organisation to say:  “Can we pen in my selection process some of these criteria, so that vendors know about them and they can come back and say that these are their practices and how they can contribute back to my objectives?”  Such knowledge will help other functional teams like Procurement to make more informed and complete decisions when selecting vendor offerings.

GCA:   Fuji Xerox conducted a study of Green IT adoptions in Singapore. What were your top findings from the Green IT white paper?

Mok Chee Hong: We found was that there are a lot of Green practices already done by companies in Singapore and if you look at the study, almost 85% of them realise the value of Green IT. But it’s sad to say very few people have the avenue to go through a proper certification course to enable them to acquire a professional image to say that are qualified in the area. If you look at it, you can find all sorts of certifications all over the world, unfortunately there seems to be a lack of more holistic Green IT certification options in the Asia Pacific region.  How can I say that I am qualified to implement green IT projects? There are very few who have the experience and qualifications to do so.

GCA: What is the business value that companies can see through the certification?

Mok Chee Hong: Predominantly, if you think about going green, it is still back to the economic factor – how does it benefit my business in terms of my cost, management of my resources, image, branding etc. Fundamentally, green IT is still a suite of best practices, best processes that will enable IT people communicate with the business users, to give ideas to businesses on how to reduce cost and help the topline with various challenges that they may have.  To businesses, these certified professionals will be a valuable asset as they become key advisors to helping the company meet strategic sustainability objectives and goals.

GCA: Did it surprise you to learn that only 3% of the survey respondents thought that it would enhance career prospects?

Mok Chee Hong : That was a big surprise to us, but nonetheless when we think deeper into it, it’s probably not so surprising after all, because maybe at the point of the survey people thought that, “Well, it’s very new, and I don’t want to take position myself that when I take the course, I’m going to leave the organisation.” But nonetheless, I believe that when the adoption comes, this point of view will surface again, and people will feel it’s a privilege of being one of the few pioneers in the industry and to think, “I have this certification and therefore I’ll be in demand.”

GCA: As an industry expert yourself, what do you think needs to happen to make Green IT more widespread in Singapore.

Mok Chee Hong: That’s a very tough question, but let me give you my view. The green IT course is driven by Singapore IT Federation. To a certain extent, they have government links. If you look closely, Green IT is definitely a very big area we can develop as a national competency, from the productivity perspective, from a qualified knowledge worker pool of people perspective.

Definitely from a government perspective, they should be a very big driver. As you must have probably noticed, Singapore government is very big on green data centres, into e-waste issues and these initiatives fall under the umbrella of green IT. So therefore, the Government, I hope can be a big push in this area, and I hope we can put government officials in this programme.  That will drive both the public and private sector.

 

To find out more about how the Green IT Professional Program can help your career, and your organisation’s triple bottom line, click here .

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About the Interviewer:

Bhavani Prakash is the Founder of Green Collar Asia. She is a recruiter, speaker, trainer and writer in the environment/sustainability sector. She is also a certified EQ Coach with Six Seconds.org Connect with Green Collar Asia on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.  You can contact Bhavani Prakash via bp[at]greencollarasia.com

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Further Links you may be interested in:

ZNetAsia:  Singapore firms aware but not acting on green IT ideals

SiTF: Is green IT adoption picking up? 

This interview was last updated on March 6th, 2012

Comments

  1. Totally agree with the “there is no universal definition of Green IT per se”. some kind of standards should be in place so companies know what are they up to and follow guidelines.

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