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Be flexible and adapt to change: CIO Workshop

Jack Loo | May 29, 2013
Day one of the CIO Workshop saw presenters giving examples of how IT leaders can venture into new frontiers.

Growth then links into the fifth point, revenue. This is an all-important focus of the CEO, Bocker said. And when a CIO can achieve revenue generation, "it opens up doors that you cannot imagine possible," he added.

A panel discussion on the impact of technology on how businesses operate was the next item on the agenda of the CIO Workshop. Jonathan Krause, executive partner, Gartner Advisory (Singapore), was the moderator, and there were two panelists, Howie Lau, vice president Corporate Development, Lenovo, and International Centre of the Club of Rome's Maxton.

Responding to a question on how to innovate from existing technology, Lau told the audience that Lenovo launched mobile devices that come with detachable batteries in cities that are not as urbanised as Shanghai or Singapore.

While detachable batteries are seen as a more outdated specification among manufacturers, having spare batteries are useful, especially where "it might be harder to find power supply outlets," said Lau.

A similar situation was the dual sim-card feature that Lenovo rolled out. It was practical for huge countries where a telco might not have network coverage in all the cities. Users can then switch to a different provider for coverage, Lau said.

Answering a question on the opportunities for the IT leader to explore, Maxton highlighted that CIOs have so much technical knowledge that they need "to translate to a language that others can understand".

New Opportunities

The opportunity to venture into new frontiers saw Singapore-based telco SingTel expanding from its traditional voice and data business.

In his presentation, Alfonso Villanueva, chief innovation officer (Digital Life), SingTel, told the audience that his company ramped up a variety of activities including acquiring mobile advertising specialist Amobee and social photo aggregator Pixable. There was also a shift in mindset in terms of the speed at which SingTel initiatives are launched.

"We used to think in terms of years. If the project was urgent, it would take about nine months. Now, we are looking at weeks," said Villanueva.

The NFC technology looks set to be a major component in contactless card operator EZ-Link's vision of a cashless Singapore society, according to Nicholas Lee, CEO, EZ-Link.

The NFC technology is a disruptive model that can revolutionise the payments industry, he said. For instance, an NFC-payment platform can replace a more expensive point-of-sales system and its hardware.

The operator had already started a NFC pilots with various telcos in Singapore and other technology vendors. It was never an easy journey and there were a few lessons learnt, revealed Lee.

"One was that standards does not mean interoperability," he said. Numerous devices and readers had to be changed or rewired. And response was to introduce vigorous qualifying processes to ensure interoperability before commencement of operations, he said.


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