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Malaysia’s IT Alignment Challenge

Onn Lau Chak | April 26, 2011
Some 80 Malaysian executives from government and private enterprise gathered at the annual CIO conference 2011 in Kuala Lumpur’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, to deliberate on the challenge of executive harmony.

The Malaysia CIO conference 2011 opened with delegates being told that “Malaysian IT spending overall is expected to grow to US$5.2 billion this year, from US$4.8 billion in 2010 - more than an eight per cent increase”.

In his welcome address, Fairfax Business Media Asia managing editor, Ross O. Storey told delegates that business-IT alignment has been the goal of major enterprises for many years. FBM research has found it to be the number one management priority in Asia for at least the past two.

The event was sponsored by CommScope, APC by Schneider Electric, Hitachi Asia and Intelledox.

Storey said CIO Asia’s ‘State of the Asia CxO 2010’ survey found that senior IT executives believe they are taken too much for granted, which “seems to indicate that CIOs don’t receive enough encouragement from their CEOs and CFOs”. The survey found that CIOs felt they were not involved early enough in the decision making process, and 66.8 per cent of respondents were ‘too busy maintaining systems and IT infrastructure to innovate’.

Brain Drain
IT commentator and national columnist Dzofrain Azmi, who’s also an interim team member of Talent Corporation Malaysia, spoke on behalf of the organisation established under the Malaysian prime minister’s department to meet the country’s talent needs by building partnerships with leading companies and government agencies.

“Unfortunately, you cannot force people to do what they don’t want to do,” Azmi said. “We do what we can to attract them, but people will only move back to Malaysia when the time is right so our goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to return.”

According to Talent Corporation’s studies, most Malaysians who leave their country feel there was a lack of meritocracy – being rewarded for their work. Another finding was that even Thailand pays its ICT employees marginally better than Malaysia. 
Azmi expressed concern about Malaysia’s lack of qualified graduates, due to aging syllabus from local universities, with only 60 per cent of IT graduates currently considered employable. He suggested companies should have greater input into university curriculums to upgrade graduate quality.

Stan Singh, councillor for the national IT association of Malaysia – PIKOM - presented on ‘Implementing IT Governance in Business’. He displayed a chart indicating IT governance maturity levels ranging from best practices, adopted from others, to consistent behaviour, to fragmented and even ad-hoc levels. Singh said many Malaysian companies were still stuck at the ad-hoc level.

He called on CIOs to look at a business from an entrepreneurial perspective.

“The balance of supply and demand translates to managing cost to risk, and improving services by aligning IT to business,” he said, advising businesses to ensure they had a complete view (from risk, data flows, etc.) as possible of their entire business ecology, before deciding on the proper IT governance framework.

Benefits of Automation
Dr. Ispran Kandasamy, vice president sales, enterprise Asia Pacific of Commscope enterprise solutions division, warned that two-thirds of network failures are due to human error.


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