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CIO Summit KL 2017: What are the keys to staying relevant in a digital native’s economy?

Rosalind See | Oct. 17, 2017
Insights from the 2017 Kuala Lumpur edition of the CIO Summit organised by Executive Networks Media and IDC focused on pressing aspects of the DX journey.

CIO Summit Oct 2017 in KL

Photo (AvantiKumar): Delegates seat themselves at the roundtables and ballroom ready for the KL Edition of the CIO Summit, 10 October 2017.


  A different business mind-set is crucial if enterprises are to prevail in the era of the digital native, and technology's role in paving the way in this journey was the leading point of discussion at the Summit 2017.

The Summit 2017 incorporated both the CIO Summit 2017 and the Tech Summit 2017, with the latter focused on the more technical aspects of strategic technologies that organisations are actively exploring. The concurrent events were organised by Executive Networks Media and IDC.

Held at One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya on 10 October 2017, the theme for this year was 'Journey to the Digital Native Enterprise', with thought-provoking keynote presentations on global trends, best practices, and deeper dives into cutting edge-technology products and services on the agenda to a full house of IT leaders. In addition, speakers from different industries shared their organisation's experiences as they progressed along their own digital transformation journey. Such insights into the practical aspects of implementing digital transformation continued into the Executive Networking Table sessions, with moderators leading interactive discussions across a range of topics.

"How do businesses stay relevant?" asked bestselling author and futurist Michael McQueen, in setting the stage for the day's discussion in his opening keynote address. "In preparing for the future, we need to understand why mighty companies fall, and why enduring companies have prevailed."

"Disruption has been the key factor in winning the battle for relevance," he continued. "Companies which have successfully weathered storms over decades have fostered healthy paranoia to stay relevant and stay on the cutting edge. Healthy paranoia keeps you on your A-game and keeps away complacency and arrogance. It reminds you that other companies have the potential to do better, which is an uncomfortable but necessary insight."

"Evolutionary innovation isn't going to cut it. You have to shift your mindset, and find new ways to make use of your expertise. Re-invent yourself before you are forced to do so," advised McQueen.

IDC Asia/Pacific Group Vice President, Practice Group, Sandra Ng expanded on this theme in the context of the digital transformation journey. "Digital transformation is a multi-year journey. Few organisations can claim to have mastered digital transformation as yet. The number one challenge for organisations is in how to accelerate in this journey to compete against digital native enterprises," she said.

IDC defined a digital native enterprise as an entity that was able to scale its operations and innovate at a pace that was an order of magnitude greater than traditional businesses.

"The IDC Digital Transformation MaturityScape indicated that companies in Asia Pacific showed good progress over the last year, with the pace of transformation differing across geographies and industries," said Ng. "However, organisations faced common challenges in trying to accelerate the pace of transformation. One reason is due to the lack of a digital mindset in adopting and executing a digital transformation model effectively. The model chosen should be based on your digital transformation goals, not your corporate culture. Choosing the incorrect model affects the rate of commercialising innovative ideas to a level which is too low to create an impact."  

She added, "Ineffective metrics of measuring transformation performances also hamper progress. Traditional indicators such as revenue generation, market share and customer satisfaction are still important, but businesses need new indicators such as customer advocacy. Users recommending your services and brand is an important metric in the social media era. Customer advocacy helps you measure the impact and effectiveness of your actions in a digital transformation economy."

"Your leadership team's ability to sense potential digital disruption is another important element in the journey towards becoming a digital native enterprise. Assess your transformation maturity one or twice a year to get a better understanding, and benchmark against competitors and disruptors to know where you stand," concluded Ng.

Technology-driven reassessments


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