Rapid changes notwithstanding, the Asian CIO is still expected to be malleable and flexible enough to be in the driver's seat to champion the use of IT in his or her organisation.
This time last year, our State of the Asian CxO survey results showed a brightening trend that seemed to have cleared some of the gloomy clouds that had formed in 2011. This year's results, although still presenting a more or less similar trend in general, show some bright sparks in some areas, particularly where disruptive technologies are prevalent.
Like last year's, the 2013 State of the Asian CxO survey also spanned across seven countries, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and India.
First off, a bright spark for the year: the IT budgets indicated by the respondents this year again show a rising trend (see Table 1). Last year, 54.9 percent of respondents said their budgets would be increased, while 34.8 percent said theirs would remain unchanged, and 10.3 percent said they would decrease their budget for 2013.
That touch of optimism could likely be attributed to the better economic outlook for this year, considering that the threat of recession happening in Europe and the U.S. has somewhat abated. Nonetheless, organisations still remain wary of their own performance for the rest of the year, which again will depend on how the regional markets perform.
Next, let us look at the technology concerns of CIOs in the region (Table 2).
As far as technology priorities are concerned, the same old issues still remain on the top of the Asian CIOs. While last year's key concern was with mobility and wireless, this year so far has been keeping CIOs busy with business continuity plans, chiefly because of the maturing cloud computing models that we have been seeing developing over the last two to three years. No longer is cloud considered an emerging technology; it is now a viable platform for some industries to seriously save some costs in terms of service deliveries.
Coupled with maturing service models and knowledge on the part of the providers, the early adopters are beginning to see the fruits of their cloud ventures, although some industries like the financial services and healthcare sectors are still hampered by compliance issues to fully embrace the cloud evolution.
Business continuity planning hence now plays a bigger role, in that CIOs are looking at ways and means to co-locate, or at least tap on public clouds to ensure some form of disaster recovery at lower costs. Vendors are also beginning to be more transparent with their offerings by going for certification and audit to show that are more willing to share their "trade secrets" in order to win new customers.
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