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Interview with Herbert Leung of Atos: The CIO is shifting more towards business

Zafar Anjum | April 9, 2014
In this exclusive interview with CIO Asia, Herbert MT Leung, the CEO of Atos in Asia Pacific, talks about the changing role of the CIO, the new leadership challenges for businesses and governments and the rise of enterprises without boundaries

"The other big trend is that everybody is being challenged with the volumes of data they have," he said. "The company (WindowLogic) which we acquired (in 2013 in Australia), specializes in Enterprise Content Management. They manage the documentations and data. We see a lot more of that trend happening, where companies are looking for help. How do you manage all this? They can have a big ERP system like a SAP system implemented but to be able to use all that data is not easy. The company needs some more flexibility. A lot of companies are trying to find solutions."

It is worth mentioning here that with more than 10,000 SAP consultants, Atos is one of the largest SAP partners worldwide. The two companies collaborate on leading edge technologies such as SAP HANA, Smart Mobility and SAP Solutions on the Cloud (Canopy). Atos was awarded the SAP Pinnacle Awards in 2013 for Applications Co-Innovation and Sustainability. Recently, Atos in Thailand was also awarded the Best Innovation Award for 2013 by SAP.

Attuned to leadership and innovation

After discussing Atos' business and trends in Asia, we turn to the topic of Atos' Ascent leadership programme that underlines the innovation in the company.

"The Ascent programme came directly from our group chairman and CEO, Thierry Breton," he said. For those who don't know, Breton is a French businessman, a former Professor at Harvard Business School, and a former finance minister of France. "The Ascent programme is trying to look at what is happening in the world, analyse all the trends, do an in-depth analysis and in the process, try to predict what is going to happen in the future."

The main theme of this programme is 'enterprise without boundaries'. "When we are talking about boundaries, we are not talking about countries," Leung explained. "You rightly pointed out that MNCs are already crossing boundaries. But even in MNCs, you can work in different countries, but there are still the boundaries of countries. But nowadays, because of instant communication, which is not only verbal, but also visual and everything - all these boundaries are blurring. The only boundaries that are really being dismantled are the boundaries between your professional life and your private life. It's getting blurred. And all that brings challenges to business. How do you achieve a work-life balance for your employee so that they don't get burned out? All these challenges come into the equation. And this is the kind of thing where there are a lot of discussions, and what kind of tools do we need to put into place which can help that. Is there anything that can be done? You have that, you have the country, you have the private and professional, and you even have the countries - the shift of economic power that is happening worldwide. The old economy is in trouble. There is a shift in economic power. All of that change the dynamics, and all the different forces that are interacting in business. Yes, there is a technology component. There is this globalization thing. Technology, globalization, picture, people. Today, there are three generations in the workforce today. That presents a challenge in itself. Atos is facing that challenge, and so are other companies. Companies are looking for solutions."

 

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