What top Asian CIOs learnt from their digital transformation journey

Winners of the CIO Awards last year shared what they did to avoid the complexities and challenges of digital transformation.

By Nurdianah Md Nur
Jan. 24, 2017

CIO Awards logo

By now, most organisations would have embarked on their digital transformation journey to capture the opportunities available in the digital economy. According to Gartner's CIO Agenda survey of 2,944 CIOs in 84 countries, respondents expect their companies' digital revenues to increase from 16 percent to 37 percent.

Digital transformation may seem like a daunting and complex task as it requires more than just adopting IT tools. However, it is not an impossible one if CIOs have a clear goal and the right support, as explained by IT leaders whose digital transformation projects won the CIO Awards 2016.

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"Firstly, CIOs need to have a clear goal or outcome in mind before embarking on the transformation effort, so as to overcome any challenges along the way," Lee Kee Siang, Singapore' National Library Board, Chief Information Officer, asserted. As such, CIOs must "have strong understanding of their business needs, as well as the ability to source and identify relevant technologies to support these needs," he added. 

NLB's Lee Kee Siang
Lee Kee Siang,

Echoing Lee, Max Chan, Vice President of IT of Avnet Technology Solutions in Asia Pacific, said that the goal of digital transformation projects "must clearly address the business challenge". He explained that the Avnet uRenew platform has been effective because his team understood the business problem they were trying to solve and the business outcomes they expected from it.

Max Chan

Support from stakeholders
Having strong sponsorship from the top management on digital transformation is key too, June Ng, Group IT Head at F& N Holdings, claimed.

F&N CIO Asia awardJune Ng

Agreeing with Ng, Rica Abarintos, Product Development Manager at Smart, said: "PLDT and Smart management teams gave their 100 percent support in terms of resources and guidance [for the  PLDT-Smart Shared Data Plan project]. This enabled us to fast-track the delivery and eliminate constraints."

(From left to right) Rica Abarintos, Product Development Manager at Smart; Tracy Yip, Group IT Project Management Office Advisor for PLDT Group; and Beng Pama, Head of IT-Home Business Systems at PLDT. 

Besides getting support from top management, it is also vital to get buy-in from the rest of the employees.

"There is always some pain involved in implementing changes. With new processes and new skill sets being required, there will always be those who will resist these changes if the benefits are not clearly spelled out. People will be more willing to embrace changes if they can see that doing so will not only improve the way the way they work, but also benefit customers," Rodell Garcia, Group Director for Corporate Information Technology in Manila Water, explained.

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