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Roundtable: CIOs want secure cloud, businesslike IT recruits & smart vendors

Ross Milburn | March 27, 2012
The challenges to CIOs change rapidly, but two of the major ones, skill shortage and cloud strategy, were strongly represented at a February roundtable in Hong Kong.

But recruitment is always competitive. “We have offices in Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, but we are competing with banks for IT skills,” said Malcolm Chiu, CTO, Qnet. “In Hong Kong there are few technical recruits and in China, there are language problems. The Philippines has talented people, but they demand an informal working environment.”

Like any bank, CCB is very concerned with security. “Regulators won’t let us use Skype, Google, Hotmail, Facebook, or USB drives on our network,” said Michael Leung. “But people can still take screen shots with their smartphones, so we are sourcing a screen filter that should enable data to be viewed but not photographed.” 


What users want from vendors

Outsourcing & cloud service are big-time, but are vendors delivering what is wanted?

“How should vendors interact with CIOs?” asked Chairman Seow. 

Listening to users was a popular suggestion. “Rather than talking, vendors should listen, to understand our business position and provide a solution based on that,” said Patrick Leung. “We need help in controlling the cost/performance of our systems, but we don’t want to change network provider every year.” 

Commitment’s good too – if it is sustained. “I want commitment and results from my vendors,” said Joseph Au, Regional ICT Manager, Leighton Asia, “but most of all, I want those results to be maintained throughout the contract period.” 

Telstra reminded CIOs that the long view pays off. “Telstra has operated in Asia for nearly 30 years and we will only stay for the next 30 years if we build relations with customers,” said Mottram. “We have to take the medium to long view to understand what the customers and the industry wants.” 

And vendors, like users, need good local talent. “Like IT talent, it’s hard to recruit experienced sales people who can understand customers’ business situation,” said Andrew Wildblood, Head of North Asia, Telstra International. “We invest in training to help sales staff appreciate clients’ needs, deliver on promises and execute agreed strategies. All our sales people are local and the same will apply to our management in time.” 


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