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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

Despite the issues of trust and the fast clip of technological innovation and the challenges it presents for citizens and governments, for employers and employees, Leung feels that 'we are close to a point where everything will be aligned and everything will click together'.

"Maybe it's a hope," he averred. "The scientists that we work with, they feel that this point is near. It can be five years or ten years (from now), it's very difficult to know. Nowadays when you go into any IT (meet), people talk about big data, people talk about cloud computing, and Internet of Things. And even business model have changed a lot. You look at a company like Google. You use Google, but you don't pay. You don't pay but they still make a bunch of money. Somewhere along the line, somebody is getting the money. It's the same thing. We can go back and look at some stage. Atos is quite big here in Asia and credit card debit card processing. This is similar to that. But the cost of running that whole system, you as a consumer is not paying for it. It's paid by a third party, the whole infrastructure. This thing costs a lot of money to run behind (the scenes)."

Big push for sustainability

The third trend is sustainability, which is not just a hip catch phrase for Atos. "Sustainability is more than about being green," he said. "It's about being able to run the business, the economy and everything, in a sustainable way. It's not just to milk it, make your money, then everything else is broken. There's a big drive now to be able to do business in a sustainable way. The business can keep going. Atos is very heavily involved, we are one of the first IT companies to get recognized for the work that we do in work sustainability. We got the highest rating. A lot of things we do fall into the sustainability umbrella. Yes, our data centre is energy-efficient (low energy). We have policies in our new offices. Last year, I opened our new offices in Hong Kong. We reduced the number of printers and photocopiers ten times, by a factor of ten. The more machines you have, the more trees are being cut down. We have implemented in the company our own social collaboration tool for people to work virtually. This results in reduction of air travel. From that, a bunch of initiatives has emerged."

Watching the global trends helps Atos drive its innovation. "Most IT companies tend to look (at the world) purely from a technology perspective. We try to look at it as a whole system - people, the world, globalization. To some extent, we are trying to look at a crystal ball. What is it going to be like in five years time? What we have proved is that all the things we have talked about when we did the first Ascent, a lot of what we said were on track.


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