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Sailing Through the Storm

T.C. Seow | Sept. 27, 2011
If the 2011 State of the Asian CXO Survey has a message for all, it is this: Time to change. And fast.

If the 2011 State of the Asian CXO Survey has a message for all, it is this: Time to change. And fast.


Glancing superficially at the results of the 2011 State of the Asian CXO Survey, one is likely to conclude that CXOs in Asia are still facing the same challenges as the ones they faced a year ago (Table 1). "Aligning IT and business goals" is still very much the top priority, while controlling costs remains the second most urgent issue. 

Table 1

"Today, business has started looking at IT as business enhancer, and IT is the backbone of any organisation, which needs to function 24 by 7," said one respondent. CXOs probably share the same sentiment but how to ensure that IT delivers seems to be the crux of the problem.

A year ago, we asked respondents to look ahead to this year, placing their priorities according to what they thought would be important. By comparison, the 2011 responses yielded some expected shifts in priorities - business continuity and risk management have become a valid concern, no thanks to the number of earth-shattering calamities like the March tsunami in Japan, and numerous reports of less damaging earthquakes around the world. 

Cost consideration is still a major factor, given the uncertain economic outlook over the next 12 to 18 months. Enterprise IT security too has been given greater priority, given the number of well reported cases of security breaches. These probably sounded the alarm bells among CXOs to either strengthen their enterprise security measures or to review security policies going forward.

Said one respondent: "One of the major challenges faced by the IT [department] in organisations today is to align as well as showcase the business value of IT with the business goals. The need today is to have the right mix of hard-core technology professionals and business process experts in the IT team so that understanding of business goals, communication language with business and business value fulfilment is achieved.

Table 2

At the country-by-country account, CXOs in China place "increase enterprise efficiency" as the top priority for 2011 (Table 2), while India's emphasised business continuity and risk management. In Malaysia, controlling costs is the top priority. 

While there was a lot of interest in cloud computing a year ago, CXOs' priorities seemed to have shifted from the still emerging cloud platform to implementing tools that will enable business to further derive value from their IT investments (Table 3). Business intelligence ranks right at the top of this year's list, with 47 percent of all respondents saying that BI is their top technology priority. 


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