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CIO Conference 2013: Panel discussion in Singapore

Nurdianah Md. Nur | March 27, 2013
Speakers for the day took the stage to answer some questions from the floor.

Speakers for the day took the stage to answer some questions from the floor.

Panel Discussion
Photo: From left: Heng Chin-Liang, Raymond Au, Nick Marsh, and Jonathan Kidd.

Just before the Great Debate, the speakers for the earlier sessions were invited back on to the stage for a Q&A. They were Nick Marsh of Harvey Nash; Raymond Au from Oracle; Heng Chin Liang of Splunk Inc; and Jonathan Kidd of International SOS.

Most of the questions revolved around the importance of IT investments and how CIOs should engage the board of directors to do so, and the necessity of data analysts.

One question from the floor was about when investments should be made: Should a company invest in IT to grow its business or should the investment only be done when the business has grown? All four panelists agreed that investing in IT should be an ongoing process, and that the purpose of the investment should be geared at meeting business goals.

As Heng put it: "In the early stage, it's important to invest in IT to grow the business but when you're growing, you have to look at new technology to expand and reach out to your customers." Kidd added that a company might be able to operate normally without high-level technology but to be an industry leader and bring the business forward, investment in IT would definitely be required.

With technology changing constantly, it might be difficult for CIOs to convince their bosses to invest in IT without compelling reasons for spurring business growth. Still, there were some words of advice: CIOs must have a clear understanding of their board's business strategy and goals, be aware of new IT trends in the market, and to present a good case for IT investments in order to attain those business goals. Marsh went further to say that a good grasp of financial knowledge would be advantageous for CIOs since knowing how to engage other senior executives will be good to bridge the gap between business and IT.

On the issue of Big Data and whether enterprises would require expertise in data analytics, the consensus was that data analysts would be necessary to provide greater insight and to make sense of the vast amounts of data amassed by enterprises.

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