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CIO Conference 2013: The Great Debate in Singapore

Caroline Ng | March 27, 2013
As in last year's CIO Conference, The Great Debate was again the highlight of the day, when CIOs and IT leaders deliberated on the motion.

As in last year's CIO Conference, The Great Debate was again the highlight of the day, when CIOs and IT leaders deliberated on the motion.

Whether a CIO could be the next Chief Analytics Officer (CAO) was the bone of contention at the parley of both equally prepared teams.

The prevalence of technology to support the entire enterprise has driven the evolution of the CIO role, expanding its responsibility to encompass the progressively important business arm.

Debate_Yes_team
Photo: From left: Sameer Satpute, Paul Loke, Raul Paolo Miranda, and Waleed Hanafi.

Debate_No_team
Photo: From left: TC Seow (moderator), Mauricio D Franco, Jr., Koh Kok Tian, and Raymond Au.

Articulating the shifting expectations of the position, the "Yes" team captain Waleed Hanafi said while IT had long been "considered to be about infrastructure and machines, it's about getting information from a source to somebody who can make use of it." By that, he meant data could now be turned into a product to create a positive impact on an enterprise's P&L revenue stream.

The logical progression from CIO to CAO was further exhorted by Raul Paolo Miranda who emphasised on the cost-effectiveness of combining both roles, especially during an economic downturn. "CIOs who can be CAOs are less likely to get canned," he said.

The "No" team captain Mauricio D. Franco countered, highlighting the fact that the existence of a CAO revealed "a need and a particular business driver that is being address by this position."

His argument was strengthened by Koh Kok Tian who further questioned the suitability of the CIO in becoming an expert in numerical analysis, a key requirement of a CAO.

Raymond Au succeeded to shift the emphasis on whether a CIO could be a CAO, not should be. CIOs were seen as custodians of IT infrastructures, and whose main responsibility was to ensure the flow of information to the right people, he said. Few, if any, CIO would be able to engage his or her board members to talk about business, and less so on number crunching and interpretation.

Moreover, the CIO would often be required to keep up with the rapid change of technology, thereby leaving little time to lead business performances.

The 'No' team overwhelmingly won the debate securing close to two-thirds of the votes cast by SMS.

Back to CIO Conference 2013 main story.

 

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