Sydney Uni and IBM help shape the future of IT

28 March 2007

Australia's service sector accounts for more than three-quarters of the economy's output and for four out of every five jobs. In response to the exponential growth of business-to-business services, and the accompanying need for skilled workers, the University's School of Information Technologies has joined forces with Australia's largest IT company, IBM, to develop a new postgraduate unit of study in its Master of IT and Master of IT Management courses.

Launched last week, the Services Sciences, Management and Engineering unit is designed to provide students with a multidisciplinary overview of the services sector, and particularly IT-enabled services.

"This understanding is core to the development of management skills for today's IT professionals," explained the unit's coordinator, Andrea Stern.

The course is the first academic discipline of its kind to be introduced in an Australian university, and only the second in the Asia Pacific region.

"Services occupy a central role in most advanced societies, and IT is central to those services. We see it as critical to address the growing need for graduates to understand both the business and technical issues in the service sector in an integrated manner," said Joseph Davis from the University's School of IT.

To give students a practical perspective on services management, executives from IBM worldwide will be invited to present guest lectures.

"Our students will now have a chance to be part of the field of services sciences, equipped with the skills to compete in today's highly competitive, global IT marketplace," said Professor Davis.

From IBM's perspective, it is an especially important course to have students studying, according to Jay Hannon, IBM University Relations Manager.

"IBM is deeply stymied by the shortage of skilled IT staff in Australia and overseas. We are no longer in an old style manufacturing economy. We're in a service society. And IBM does not see enough suitable applicants for the jobs it needs to fill," he told the students of the new SSME course during their first class.

"IBM is very pleased to be working with the University of Sydney on this important Australian initiative" said Glen Boreham, Sydney graduate and CEO and Managing Director of IBM Australia and New Zealand.

"Just like our introduction of Computer Science into universities in the 1960s, Services Science meets the needs of a growth area in the economy and graduates with this qualification will be highly sought after by businesses like IBM," he explained.

The relationship between IBM and the School of IT is mutually beneficial. IBM intends to hire 50,000 university graduates worldwide with skills in the field of Services Science over the next ten years. The University "will engage with industry in order to further develop our work and research," said Albert Zomaya, head of the University's School of IT.

Contact: Richard North

Phone: 02 9351 3720