While chief information officers (CIOs) in Southeast Asia are lagging behind their counterparts in other parts of the world in embracing the software-defined wave, they’re also among the most forward-looking IT leaders in the world.
“The implementation of software defined infrastructure may be slower in Asean, partly because it’s harder for CIOs here to get the support they need,” said Hu Yoshida, chief technology officer at Hitachi Data Systems.
However, Hu noted that CIOs in region are leading the pack when it comes to transforming IT. Citing research from IDC, Yoshida said 85 per cent of CIOs in Asean are driving towards data centre transformation, compared to about 74 per cent for the rest of the world.
Yoshida pointed out an example of a CIO who wanted to implement facial recognition for his business and felt that IT is no longer just about storage, infrastructure and systems.
“IT professionals would have to specialise in things like Java, analytics and even business issues. And they need to do so with enough depth to contribute significantly,” Yoshida said.
To get there, Yoshida said the CIO was looking to get those involved in day-to-day IT operations to pick up specialist skills, by sharing his vision of IT with them and reducing their workload.
“Operations people often get a bad rep for doing the same thing and not wanting to change. They really want to become more educated and contribute to the business,” Yoshida said.
Yoshida added that the CIO has also been partnering with IT vendors, which have expertise in various areas that can be tapped on.
“He wants his people to partner with vendors to gain the knowledge and expertise they need. So, instead of keeping the vendors out like some CIOs do, he calls his vendors in to explain his vision and expects his vendors to align with that,” he said.
CIOs at financial institutions, which have well-established IT infrastructures, are also looking to transform IT, largely driven by the emerging fintech space, dominated by start-ups.
“A CIO of a bank told me that the fintech firms are disparate, specialising in areas like remittances. But once they consolidate onto a platform, they will be a real competitor. One of the companies they fear the most is Alibaba, with things like Alipay,” Yoshida said.
“The banks will have to compete with that, and ride the same wave. And that means their staff will have to transform,” he added.