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Get to know: Luis Javier Parra, President, Colombian Association of Systems Engineers, ACIS

Get to know: Luis Javier Parra, President, Colombian Association of Systems Engineers, ACIS

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On the lighter side of things, we asked Luis Javier Parra, President, Colombian Association of Systems Engineers – ACIS, what motivates him.

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

My most memorable achievement, without a doubt, has been my first venture, the creation of my first company and with which several projects related to Geographic Information Systems were developed, among other applications.

Luis Javier Parra, President, Colombian Association of Systems Engineers – ACIS

What first made you think of a career in technology?

I started my professional studies in mechanical engineering, but I had an invitation to the introductory class in systems engineering, and I fell in love with this profession. So I ended up studying both majors. Today I am a mechanical and systems engineer from the Universidad de Los Andes.

What style of management philosophy do you employ in your current position?

My style is highly inclusive and diverse. I like challenges and solving difficulties as a team in a consensual way. I am not an autocratic leader, quite the opposite.

What do you think is the current hot technology conversation topic?

Technology managers are moving closer and closer to leadership and are now easier to see in vice president or president positions. Before, they saw themselves as technicians who knew how to turn the computer on and off. That has changed a lot.

Planetary sustainability is a critical issue that we must consider because it is not worth creating robots if we do not have a planet.

An organization now requires applying Information Technology to boost its business since Information Technology is transversal, whether that’s in health, transport or government.

How do you deal with stress and how do you relax outside of the office?

Since college, I have practised meditation and yoga. Music is essential for relaxation. Also, I spend time with my family, my wife and my daughters. That is the way to disconnect and you have to.

If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?

One of the mistakes I have made is not following my intuition. One is sometimes stubborn and makes the same mistake twice. There are signs one must follow to change course.

What do you currently identify as the top investment areas in your industry?

The issue of human talent is dominant. You have to take advantage of technology to create diverse teams and look for resources anywhere since technology allows it.

Technology budgets are changing a lot, and now there are many options. Companies should give complementary possibilities to the traditional ones, and they would do very well. Developing specialized tools for specific clients is vital for all solutions, both for an ERP and for a video conferencing system.

What are the specific challenges of the region when implementing new technologies in Latin America?

We must move from outside influences for the development of our industry. Latin America must begin designing and developing its solutions, not just for software or hardware, but for everything. What’s more, we can start creating our solutions and have them shipped elsewhere. Industry leaders must improve these capacities.

What changes have you seen in your job role in the last year and how do you think they will develop in the next 12 months?

Virtuality is one of the main changes because it impacts ubiquity, temporality and employment. Today it no longer matters if you work during the day or at night, so many offices will close because they are no longer needed.

As soon as the pandemic passes, people will want to go out, not to work but to explore and discover new spaces. People will want to go to the restaurant to meet their family, friends and co-workers, and these restaurants will have to adapt digitally to meet the new needs of its diners.

What advice would you give someone aspiring to a C-level position in your industry?

You reach a managerial level with two goals in mind. First, you like the industry; it does not matter if it is in technology but you feel eager to contribute to that industry. Second, to know technology applications for their respective industries. Universities are already supplying the concept of technology to all businesses, so this is transversal. Finally, you reach a C-level position with passion.

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