Macau's tech gurus crowded into the Four Seasons Hotel on the Cotai Strip for the 2013 Macau CIO Leadership Forum, sponsored by Computerworld Hong Kong with Macao Computer Society as supporting organization.
Keynote speeches included "Managing the Data Governance Process" by Kok-tin Gan from PricewaterhouseCoopers, "Integration of Cloud, Social, Mobile and Payment" by Joseph Lee, president & CEO, Cityline (Hong Kong), and "Tech Evolution for Telcos" by Rui Marcelo, CIO of Macau telco CTM.
IT versus business: fair fight?
Lively discussion persisted in the exhibition room, as IT executives from Hong Kong and Macau traded anecdotes and war stories. But the executive panel discussion was a highlight of the conference.
The topic: "Future CIO-CXO Collaboration--Towards an excellence framework for business-IT alignment." Ambitious?
Ted Suen, head of Information Technology & CIO for Hong Kong's MTR Corporation said: "As CIO, I have many challenges. Among them: ensuring that our innovation initiatives are adequately funded so we keep our competitive differentiation.
Suen pointed out that MTRC's long history meant he had many longtime employees in the IT department. "They're fantastic people, but tech moves at such a fast pace these days," he said. "We must keep pace with the evolution of the business and provide value, to enable them to boost their revenue. It's more than a mindset-change, it's viewing business as a partnership.
"Cityline was technology-driven from the beginning," said Joseph Lee from Cityline (Hong Kong). "We only have around 60 people, and close to 30 are developers."
Lee said he agreed with Suen as "it's not easy to motivate your tech people to think differently." His approach: remind his people that they're "doing something good for the community: helping people to buy tickets and enjoy entertainment." Lee said this motivates them to consider the overall business.
Catherine Chan, managing director of Hong Kong's Kornerstone Institute said she feels "the key is to get the IT leaders to speak in 'business language'. IT leaders often talk about best practices or an operational matrix, but these aren't important to business leaders. The challenge is to get the IT leaders to speak more on cost-structures, on revenue, and how to leverage the tech to bring in new products."
Chan said a major challenge is how to drive the concept of business/IT alignment from the top down. "The C-level executives often align their strategies and objectives, but sometimes [that] doesn't filter down to working team-levels," she said.
She mentioned an interesting strategy her firm employs: arranging a few days training "simply to get the different teams to talk [to each other]"--she noted that a formal training session helps break down communication barriers.
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