Singapore's IT awards spotlight social media pros

Singapore Computer Society confers awards to two executives for spurring social media growth, and acknowledges Neptune Orient Lines CIO Wu Choy Peng for transforming company's IT culture and processes.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The Singapore Computer Society (SCS) acknowledged the efforts of an industry stalwart, as well as rewarded the contributions of two social media proponents in its annual IT Leader Awards this year.

Its 2012 IT Leader of the Year title went to Wu Choy Peng, group CIO of logistics firm Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), who was rewarded for being instrumental in architecting the company's IT plan and streamlining its operations, the SCS said in a media briefing on Friday. The IT Leader Awards is into its 16th year of being.

Lim Swee Cheang, director of Institute of Systems Science (ISS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), was also inducted into the IT Hall of Fame for helping implement several IT education programs locally, it noted.

According to Tham Ai Chyn, chairperson of the IT Leader Awards 2012 at SCS, the selection process this year had been "rather difficult" due to the numerous nominees submitted. This is why there were two winners selected for its Young Professional of the Year and IT Youth awards, as "it would not be fair" to settle for just one winner, she said during the briefing.

Spurring social media growth
Among the four other winners, two of them stood out for boosting the standing and use of social media within the IT industry.

Kelly Choo, co-founder and vice president of business development & strategy at Brandtology, for one, was conferred the IT Young Professional of the Year award for championing social media intelligence. He did so by inventing innovative ways for companies to leverage social intelligence to benefit their businesses, as well as spearhead Brandtology's growth to become a leading provider of social media intelligence globally, the SCS stated.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia at the event sidelines, Choo said social media is a great way for companies to connect with their clients and customers, especially in the area of customer service, marketing and public relations.

He added that in the IT industry, publicity has moved from television advertisements to the online world and social media is now an outlet for companies to establish their brands and interact with customers.

Choo's interest in social media was first piqued while studying in the University of Pennsylvania, U.S., during which he dabbled with the technology and realized its power to influence and interact with people. This was when Facebook had just been invented and accepted only accounts from the U.S, he added.

His past stint as an IT security specialist at Singapore's Ministry of Defence (Mindef) has also influenced how he correlates social media with security.

"While IT security and social media are not [immediately] related, the way of thinking is rather similar," Choo explained. "They're both about maintaining one's reputation and how people are talking about you online. With so much identity theft, viruses and worms on Facebook recently, IT security and social media have become more intertwined."

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduate Zhang Lizi, who was awarded the IT Youth award, is another who was recognized for his work in the social media field.

The 23-year-old, inspired by Facebook's success and Google's algorithm, PageRank, devised his own trust ranking algorithm called TruRank. His algorithm helps online social networks mine interaction data to model the trust relationships between community members, and gained considerable attention after he presented his work at an international conference, the SCS noted.

Trustworthiness, said Zhang at the briefing sidelines, is the central issue face by people on social media platforms. "People exchange ideas, opinions and information and, in the growing number of people in virtual communities, they don't know who they can trust and whose information is more valuable," he explained.

Joel Lou, the CEO of JustCommodity Software Solutions, a commodity trading and risk management service provider, and Nicholas Ooi, the 17-year-old founder of IT services company Towards IT Technology, were the other recipients of the IT Young Professional of the Year and IT Youth awards, respectively, the SCS stated.

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