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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.

The pace of business has also picked up. Shortage of time for strategic thinking/planning has moved up a notch compared to 2010, indicating that CXOs now have more to do on their hands than to set meaningful amount of time aside to think and plan out their strategies. 

On the other hand, not being able to find time to do some serious strategic planning is bad news. The rapidly changing economic landscape means organisations need to be nimble on their feet, and be ready to weather the storm ahead when it arrives. CXOs should devote more time to really think through their strategies to face the advancing storm, and do whatever they can to derive profitability when the going gets tough.


Time to Think Clearly

If 2010 was the year to consolidate and reduce costs, 2011 is certainly the year when more work is being done. CXOs are hard pressed for time to think and plan strategically, what with the pressure for cost management and cost reduction, which remains the top challenge to role effectiveness (Table 6). The good news is, CXOs have gained greater confidence and knowledge in key technical skill sets within IT, but struggle with unknown or unrealistic expectations from business. 

Table 6

"Despite rapid changes to technology and IT systems, still custom-made software is best suited especially to small and mid-sized organisations as it is cost-efficient and cost-effective," stated one respondent. That may be the case when small organisations need to be careful with their IT spending, yet hope to benefit from IT solutions as much as possible without incurring a huge bill.

While the top business benefits IT had on overall business remained somewhat similar, compared to last year's, CXOs are hoping to enable new revenue streams in 2012 (Table 7). This signifies a change in emphasis on shaping up on fundamentals to enabling the organisation to realise new revenues. This also indicates why CXOs feel BI and BA are tools that they would need to move ahead, to derive new insights and new sources of information. 

Table 7

Projections, however, did not tally with what were achieved in 2011. Last year's top objective was to enable growth, but the economic realities of 2011 have somewhat dampened the spirit. 

CXOs felt that getting IT executives involved too late in the decision-making process was a major roadblock (Table 8). Spending too much time maintaining existing systems and infrastructure is the next major impediment. "We keep receiving cost challenges from senior management, which hinder us from moving forward to adopt new technology," said one respondent. 


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