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The new breed of CIOs in Asia

Craig Charlton, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Epicor Software Asia | July 6, 2015
Their job responsibilities as an implementer and influencer are quickly becoming inclusive of inspiring and transforming how organisations are being run.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) first made its appearance on the executive management board in the eighties when companies, mainly in North America, first formalised the post. It was a monumental turning point. Technology was gaining recognition as a critical part of business strategy, and for the first time, put IT leaders on par with other C-suite executives.

Today, 35 years on, we are experiencing yet another revolution. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is playing an ever more significant operational role in improving the speed and efficiency of processes for faster, better-informed decision making. Consequently, the job responsibilities of a CIO as an implementer and influencer are quickly becoming inclusive of inspiring and transforming how organisations are being run.

Four broad categories of CIOs
Typically, there are four broad, but by no means limited, categories that CIOs fall under:

  • Improvers – hands-on operators who control cost, increase efficiencies, optimise processes and make sure that the business gets the technology and IT services that it needs
  • Influencers – essentially tomorrow's Transformers, they do things better by bringing the power of technology to solve business problems
  • Transformers – who understand the strategic vision and seek out technologies that bridge the gap in order to achieve that vision
  • Inspirers – who facilitate tangible change in perceptions towards the use and value of technology for the business

As emerging market CIOs look to leapfrog their Western counterparts in assessing existing and new technologies to achieve business goals, they need to embody all four personas outlined above – with the aim of playing a key transformative role in shaping the businesses of today. If they are to truly become Transformers and Inspirers, they need to be actively involved in strategy setting, and enabling flexibility and change. Today's CIO is required to anticipate and solve business problems with IT, not just solve IT problems. The opportunity for innovation, creativity and to have a real impact on the company's bottom line is therefore huge for modern CIOs – the potential new champions of the Boardroom.

The rise of the new CIO in Southeast Asia
Very recently, in March 2015, Gartner, Inc. released the results of its annual survey, asking CIOs how they should adapt their leadership to ensure their enterprises survive and thrive in an increasingly digital world. More than 2,810 CIOs worldwide were surveyed, including 117 CIOs from Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and The Philippines. It was found that 84 percent of CIOs in Southeast Asia recognise the need to adapt their leadership style in the next three years to succeed in digital business, compared with the global average of 75 percent.

 

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