New IT chief goes straight into busy work schedule

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 February, 2012, 12:00am


Jeremy Godfrey, the government's former chief information officer, caused a stir when he left his post last year. But his successor, Daniel Lai, appears not to be troubled and is already busily working with data centres and cloud computing.

Lai (pictured) started his role as the government chief information officer last month. His predecessor made headlines when he left his job early claiming there was political interference during the selection of organisations to run a HK$220 million internet learning support programme, which the government denied.

Attempts to investigate the process formally were voted down in the Legislative Council, and the government continued with its plan to let two organisations, one of which is the eInclusion Foundation, which is affiliated to the government-friendly iProA, run the programme in different regions to help 300,000 needy families acquire computers and internet connections.

The sensitive issue did not seem to dampen the spirits of Lai, 64, who has held senior IT positions at the Jockey Club and the MTR Corp for the past three decades.

He said: 'The programme is very meaningful. More than 30,000 students have now registered in the programme. We are handling their private information with care.'

Although there were doubts about his physical ability because of his age, Lai said he was open-minded about innovations and remained sporty: 'I jog every week. I know Wing Chun [Chinese martial arts], too.'

Among Lai's first tasks was boosting the development of data centres. 'A data centre facilitation unit was established last July and it has since received inquiries from 60 institutions. The government is following up on 10 cases,' he said.

Most groups expressing interest were IT companies, Lai said, and there were well-known multinational corporations among them.

The new unit advises firms on how to find land. It also co-ordinates with the city's two electricity utilities to ensure the power supply to high-tier centres is fault-tolerant.

Meanwhile, Lai is talking to local experts on the creation of a unified standard for cloud computing services in Hong Kong. This aims to ensure the interface and security standards of local clouding computing services are in line with mainland and international standards.