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SingTel CIO Day: CIOs faced with fixed, mobile and cloud convergence

Ross Milburn | March 28, 2012
Rapid IT change can be disruptive, but as the cloud matures, it promises to offer solutions as well as efficiency.

SingTel CIO Day crowd
Attendance had tripled in three years to about 600 at the SingTel CIO Day in March at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.

Rapid IT change can be disruptive, but as the cloud matures, it promises to offer solutions as well as efficiency. SingTel’s CIO Day 2012 in Hong Kong attracted a big attendance to talk about the integration of fixed and mobile systems in the cloud.

Opening the SingTel CIO Day in March, Jenny Fong, Managing Director, SingTel Hong Kong, reported that attendance at the annual event had tripled from 200 to 600 in its first three years. No doubt, this reflects the regional success of this Singapore telecom and ICT group, as well as the support of its many prestigious technology partners.

Bill Chang of SingTel
Bill Chang of SingTel

What’s SingTel’s secret? We were told that top management in this regional ICT group has two choices each morning: “One is to go back to sleep and dream about a big idea,” said Bill Chang, EVP, Business Group, SingTel. “The other is to wake with a big idea and then go out and change the world with it.” Judging by results, SingTel management has chosen the second option.

SingTel operates in 42 cities across 22 countries, with 23,000 employees and 434 million mobile subscribers, but it has diversified far beyond the telecom sector. The company recently reorganised itself into three business sectors. ‘Group Consumer’ will comprise next-generation communication, infotainment and technology services to consumers and small businesses across Asia Pacific. ‘Group Digital L!fe’ aspires to become a leading player in the digital ecosystem, including voice and cutting-edge services, especially bundles and add-ons. New business models linked to bank payments may also be developed. ‘Group ICT’ comprises enterprise IT and telecommunications, from infrastructure and data centres to networks and managed IT services such as application delivery.

Cloud services are stressed. “SingTel has 180,000 business users for cloud services, and 2,500 software providers working with us, and the cloud business is growing at a CAGR of 50 percent,” said Chang. “The fast growth results from companies realising that traditional IT architecture, involving procurement of hardware, software and the associated management resources, just cannot scale. The cloud not only enables rapid scaling of operations, but also easier migration to mobile platforms,” he added.

On a more philosophical note, Jack Uldrich, renowned futurist author, talked about the phenomenal growth of digital technologies, which offer huge opportunity for those who can see what’s ahead, and disaster for those who cannot, as expounded in his latest book, Jump the Curve. Uldrich tested the audience’s observation by asking them confusing questions about a simple video and showing that most people were unable to notice an 800lb gorilla walking through the video and beating its chest. “Are you also failing to see the potential of IT technologies for radical change?” asked Uldrich.


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