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The Quest for C-Suite Harmony

CIO Asia writers | April 26, 2011
The goal of business-IT alignment remains a key management focus, as organisations strive to effectively use information technology to achieve strategic business objectives. Prominent IT expert speakers delved into this longstanding issue at CIO Asia’s annual flagship conference and awards 2011 in Singapore in March.

IT professionals cannot be told to be more aligned to the business, Dr. Steven Miller, dean, School of Information Systems, Singapore Management University (SMU) and professor of information systems (practice) said in his presentation.

“You need to immerse people in experiences and examples that show how this is done, without even necessarily saying this is what is happening,” Miller said.

The issue of data centres was the focus of the presentation by David Blumanis, APC by Schneider Electric’s vice president, regional data centre solutions, Asia Pacific and Japan.

Heart of the Business
Blumanis said that  data centres were the heart of any business and as enterprises automate more and more systems, IT is pressured to ensure that business is enabled. All too often though, he said,  businesses can feel constrained by the capabilities of their information technology (IT) and supporting infrastructure.

Today, he said, there is increasing pressure on data centre planning and operations—energy consumption is high, adding to the running cost. So, data centres are expected to go dense, go fast (adding new capacity), and to “go green” to deal with the squeeze on availability.

Michael Puckridge, solution specialist for business software solutions provider Intelledox, said managing the accelerating rate of information was now a major concern for organisations. “The amount of documentation has increased for many organisations and this has resulted in ‘document chaos’ following paper-based processes,” he said.

Winners’ Strategies
The prestigious CIO award winners for 2011 (see page 38) joined a panel discussion, moderated by CIO Asia’s features editor Jack Loo, who asked them to share their ‘success secrets’.

“There is no real secret,” said Aman Narain, group head, remote banking, Standard Chartered Bank. “But, the willingness to experiment, to fail, and to fail fast, then learn and move on, is crucial. Professional people plus efficient technology is a good combination.”

Girish Rao, head - IT, Marico, co-creating (technology) with business users was very important. He said that business objectives were the driving force behind technological strategies for his enterprise.

“Using a mobile device in rural India, where connectivity is a problem, was a challenge for us,” said Suresh A. Shanmugam, national head (information systems and technology), Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services (Mahindra Finance). He said the secret of his project’s success was being sensitive to user needs.

What mattered most to Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA), was achieving sufficient buy-in from users and involving them in the project to ensure its success, according to Michael Seow, the LTA’s director, IT infrastructure services and planning.
For Charan Padmaraju, redBus co-founder and CTO, launching into the cloud was a necessity to grow their transport business. He said the courage to experiment with new technology was an important driving force behind redBus’ success.


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