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REPORT: State of Asian CxO Survey 2013

T.C. Seow | Oct. 16, 2013
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.

Management issues
Two years ago, the top management priority was about aligning IT and business goals. Today, and just like last year, this is still very much the top concern of CIOs in Asia. In fact, the pressure to ensure that is alignment is felt even more strongly, as non-IT departments are already challenging the traditional role of the IT department, long the domain of the CIO, in procuring and utilising IT for their own purposes. In the grand scheme of things, such unilateral decision-making might not be acceptable to senior management but CEOs today has begun questioning the very role of the CIO in helping their organisation to grow as quickly as they can.

What went wrong? Disruptive technology is to be blamed, shouldn't it? Depending on who has your ears, the answers will be varied no doubt, but the gist of the matter is that, consumerisation of IT, coupled with mobility and the BYOD trend, is causing a lot of pain to the once well protected and well guarded wall of the IT department. At the very top, bring your own device route has an immediately gratifying effect on the powers to be, to be able to remain in touch at all times through their mobile devices wherever and whenever they are.

Interestingly, business continuity and risk management have climbed one notch up, compared to last year's findings. This is largely due to the risk exposure brought about by BYOD and mobility plans organisations have forced upon the IT department which now has to struggle to ensure the walled garden of security is not breached by increasing freedom other departments seem to enjoy more and more by the day.

What about the case for enterprise architecture? Again, the big deal is in coming up with one that can accommodate urgent but reasonable requests from top management while keeping processes under control so as not to be exposed unnecessarily to risks.

Underlying all this is again the need to improve on processes in the pursuit for higher efficiencies all round. This priority seems to be a perennial one, since that is what traditional IT is perceived to bring to the table.

Table 5

CIOs live an exciting life, judging from the challenges they face in their jobs. If Table 6 brings you a message, it has to be this: the role of the CIO needs to change to suit the new organisation. The top challenges are completely different from last year's (except budgets), and this essentially signify the difficult task CIOs face in ensuring that IT will still tick like a clock as before, yet malleable and flexible enough to meet drastically different demands coming from all angles.


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