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Malaysian CIOs bullish about digital change: Gartner

AvantiKumar | March 30, 2015
But like their Southeast Asian counterparts, they need to adapt their leadership style to support Digital Business, said Gartner's Sid Deshpande.

Screenshot: Top Technology Priorities for 2015: Southeast Asia vs. Global (below)

Gartner Top 10 AP Tech priorities

Although results show very few differences between the global and Southeast Asia priorities for 2015, CIOs in the region were significantly more advanced in their view toward investments in digital technologies than the global average, said Deshpande.

"Looking at business intelligence and analytics, for example, CIOs are significantly more bullish on analytics than their global counterparts, with 91 percent agreeing that they are shifting from backward-looking reporting to forward looking analytics, compared with 80 percent globally," he said.

Deshpande said that the increased interest in adopting a mobile-first strategy for customer-facing services was an indicator that the digital revolution was emerging among Southeast Asian enterprises, driven by competitive business demands.

Among some of the emerging countries in the region, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, rapidly increasing mobile penetration represents a means to bring entirely new customers into the reach of organisations, particularly in light of the significant mobile friendly younger demographic in these countries.

 Malaysian CIOs expect higher IT budget

While the average IT budget growth for the world was expected to increase to 1 percent, in 2015, CIOs in Southeast Asia were expecting a larger increase in budget in 2015 (3.6 percent), said Deshpande.

In particular, Malaysia CIOs forecasted a significantly higher growth rate of 8.6 percent, he said. The challenge with this growth rate will be making wise investments to ensure a satisfactory return on investment and striking a balance between renovating the core of IT and creating powerful digital leadership to meet the demands of digitalisation.

The survey also showed that 68 percent of CIOs in Southeast Asia said they have a deputy CIO role in place to manage day-to-day IT operations, which is a noticeable difference compared with 47 percent globally, said Deshpande. This provided them with the opportunity to spend more time on ensuring that benefits from their investments are fully realised. Part of the top five IT priorities for CIOs in the region in 2015 are: Mobile, Analytics and Cloud Computing.

In addition, he said that CIOs in the region spend about 50 percent of their time on average with either the board of directors, C-level executive peers or business unit leadership, which was slightly higher than the global average of 44 percent.

While 43 percent of CIOs in Southeast Asia believe they should lead the digital change, only 15 percent of CEOs share that perspective, said Deshpande. This suggested that CEOs view digital leadership as a team game, and they view the CIO as a "first among equals" when it comes to digital leadership.

"It is clear that CIOs in the region have the opportunity to establish themselves as digital leaders in the eyes of the CEO and business leaders," he said. "They should sponsor and foster innovation and experimental projects around mobile, analytics and cloud, while providing visibility to such efforts among the business leadership of their organisation."


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