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Digital transformation in a disrupted marketplace: CXO Conference KL

Rosalind See | April 5, 2016
(UPDATED) The 2016 Kuala Lumpur edition of CIO Asia and IDC’s regional CXO Conference included 18 consecutive roundtables and real-time electronic voting.

CxO KL 2016 panel

Photo - A panel at CxO Conference 2016 in Kuala Lumpur


Intense competition across industries is driving organisations to transform their business models to change how they engage with their customers, innovate around new products and services, and re-think how they operate.

'Leading digital transformation to scale' was the theme for the CXO Conference 2016, which incorporated the CIO Conference 2016. Members of the CXO suite, which included leaders from finance, operations, marketing and human resources, joined their technology counterparts in deliberating the competitive advantage organisations gained through digital transformation. Major elements of a successful transformation journey, how to manage such transformation and the role played by analytics were amongst topics discussed.

One hundred and sixty (160) CxO delegates attended the event, which was jointly organised by Executive Networks Media (under the CIO Asia brand) and IDC at the Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur on 31 March 2016. In addition to keynote presentations and a panel discussion, delegates participated electronic real-time voting on current issues as well as 18 interactive executive networking table sessions where they shared their own experiences through in-depth discussions led by subject matter experts.

 "The rise of customerisation is making the use of information technology (IT) a lot easier even for those who are non-IT practitioners. This is causing disruption in the marketplace," said IDC Asia/Pacific group vice president, Pacific Group, Sandra Ng, in her opening address. "Digital transformation is a customer-centric business strategy and is currently the biggest theme in the market."

There was, however, a vast difference in how technology was viewed by traditional brick-and-mortar organisations compared to start-up companies. "IDC's research showed that just under 9 percent of chief executive officers (CEOs) and the board of directors of traditional organisations viewed IT as a disruptive tool," said Ng. "An almost equal number said that they invested in IT for transformational or productivity purposes. Only a minority looked at using technology to disrupt."

"In contrast, start-up companies - technology or otherwise - aimed to disrupt the marketplace they enter into," she stated.

IDC had identified three successful traits amongst early adopters of digital transformation. "CEOs of a large majority of early digital transformers had a vision to be a leading digital organisation. They leveraged on technology and worked closely with industry players and suppliers in executing that vision. They also had a committed executive who drove that vision by working closely in partnership with IT and business units," said Ng. "Such organisations focused on their ability to innovate quickly, integrate new and legacy systems, and incorporated technology and best practices processes into the broader organisation."

Ng added that whilst the degree and pace of disruption differed, disruption was happening in all industries citing examples in the retail, manufacturing and financial technology sectors. 


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