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Forum: SingTel ICT helps CIOs become business leaders

CIO Asia | Dec. 19, 2013
Participants at SingTel's CIO Day in Shanghai, China, discuss why prioritisation and planning of technology projects require collaborations between CIOs, internal users and vendor professionals.

Participants at SingTel's CIO Day in Shanghai, China, discuss why prioritisation and planning of technology projects require collaborations between CIOs, internal users and vendor professionals.

Technology is now so important to enterprises that it has outgrown the in-house capacity of IT departments, and extensive outsourcing has become routine. Major regional ICT (Information Communications & Technology) service providers such as SingTel have made this easier, but the prioritisation and planning of technology projects requires collaboration between CIOs, internal users and vendor professionals. At SingTel's CIO Day, 2013, held in Shanghai in November 2013, with the theme "Powering the Future," participants discussed these and related issues.

The relatively sudden explosion of technology is now transforming every industry, and this means that the relationship between the companies such as SingTel that sell ICT and the enterprises that procure it, are also changing.

The first keynote speaker, Peter High, President of management consulting firm Metis Strategy, presented a historical viewpoint. "Until the 1990s, Information Technology was a 'black box'. The sales, marketing and finance executives knew it was important, but they didn't understand it much. Then, in the 1990s, the consumerisation of IT began and we all started using technology. The pace of change accelerated."

Peter High, President, Metis Strategy
Photo: Peter High

Everything as a cloud service
The old model, with IT managers struggling to put systems together while users impatiently kicked their heels, has disappeared. Virtually anything can be outsourced to major regional ICT vendors like SingTel. Cloud vendors are becoming like utilities, providing almost everything as a service.

CIOs initially felt threatened by the ability of their business colleagues to bypass them and outsource their IT needs. But in many cases, they have responded by becoming more innovative, and collaborating with product managers to identity the areas where technology can increase efficiency or create new products. As Peter High said: "An old joke is that CIO stands for 'Career Is Over' because you couldn't be promoted anywhere from that job. But times are changing."

High is author of World Class IT: Why Businesses Succeed When IT Triumphs, a book in which he shows how the IT department is transforming from a service department to becoming the driver of technological transformation for the whole business. He gave several examples of CIOs who have expanded their skill sets into product development or supply chain collaboration, and moved on to C-level jobs where they can play a leading role in applying technical innovation to revenue-generating solutions.

Lim Seng Kong, SingTel Group Enterprise
Photo: Lim Seng Kong

 

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