CIO is proud to unveil the expanded CIO100 awards in 2022, recognising the top 100 senior technology executives and teams driving innovation, strengthening resiliency, and influencing rapid change.

Winners were unveiled during an in-person awards ceremony at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, housing more than 200 executives from all key markets across ASEAN, Hong Kong and the wider region.

Aligned to Foundry’s global awards program, CIO100 is viewed as a mark of excellence within the enterprise.

First launched as the CIO50 in ASEAN during 2019, the decision to expand the initiative to CIO75 and now CIO100 is in recognition of a wealth of standout submissions, increased interest levels, and a desire to showcase examples of transformation best practice across all markets and sectors.

In addition to individual recognition, new Team of the Year awards were launched spanning the key categories of Innovation, Customer Value, Strategy, Talent, Resiliency, and Culture.

Collectively, CIO100 registered a record year in 2022 with more than 280 nominations submitted, over 20 industry sectors on show and more than eight markets represented — including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Myanmar among others.

CIO100 is not only a true representation of the regional market but a true illustration of the outstanding achievements delivered by individuals, wider teams and entire organisations.

“This is a stunning statement from the market,” said James Henderson, Editorial Director of CIO. “Irrespective of ongoing societal challenges and worsening economic conditions, this region continues to power forward unperturbed – the market has once again raised the bar to set new levels of innovation.

“To house another record-breaking year of CIO100 is testament to the transformative nature of CIOs and their respective teams – all are playing a crucial role in delivering on the promise of technology to customers across the region. Congratulations to our standout winners.”

In 2022, CIO100 was judged on the core pillars of Innovation and Leadership, honouring transformational, inspiring, and enduring CIOs at both in-country and regional levels.

Under the Innovation pillar, the nomination described the technology innovations introduced over the past 18-24 months that changed the way the business operates. Under the Leadership pillar, the nomination outlined the ways in which the technology leaders collaborated and influenced the wider organisation and its leadership team.

All entries were reviewed by a select and independent CIO100 judging panel, who rated each section of the questionnaire to determine the final list. The most powerful nominations provided real-world examples of where technology and digital chiefs are successfully providing value to organisations, driving innovation and leading teams.

As evidenced in 2022, this is a market which continually raises the bar for industry excellence through the deployment of bleeding-edge technologies and enhanced business models.

Such work also cements CIO100 – held in association with Slack, Workday, Korn Ferry and SoftServe – as the leading awards program for technology leaders in the region, forming part of a broader Asia Pacific initiative alongside the CIO50 Australia, CIO50 New Zealand, and CIO100 India awards. These are in addition to CIO100 awards in the US and UK, plus CIO50 Middle East awards.

CIO100 Awards – Sponsors 2022

Honouring the top tech leaders and teams in 2022

Top ranked CIO is Charassri Phaholyotin – Chief Information Operations Officer (CIOO), Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG) – of Thailand. This was followed by Suhail Suresh (Group CTO, Maybank – Malaysia); Rowena Yeo (CTO, Johnson & Johnson –Singapore); Jimmy Ng (Group CIO, DBS Bank – Singapore) and Bryan Leo Asis (CIO, Alaska Milk [FrieslandCampina] – Philippines).

The remaining top 10 included Yan Mung Hou (Head of Group Technology, CapitaLand –Singapore); Aaron Lee (CIO, Blue Insurance – Hong Kong); Stuart Gurr (Group CIO / CTO, Deutsche Bank – Singapore); Rama Sridhar (EVP of Strategic Customer Solutions, Mastercard – Singapore) and Alvin Ong (CIO, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) – Singapore).

Team of the Year honours spanned Singapore Airlines (Resiliency); NTU (Strategy) and DBS Bank (Talent) alongside joint winners J.P. Morgan and Ministry of Social & Family Development (Customer Value); DHL and Standard Chartered (Innovation) and Maybank and Tokopedia (Culture).

CIO congratulates all honourees in 2022. The top 10 CIOs are ranked – the remaining 90 honourees recognised are listed alphabetically by name.

CIO100 ASEAN 2022:

Charassri Phaholyotin – CIOO, KBTGSuhail Suresh – Group CTO, MaybankRowena Yeo – CTO, Johnson & JohnsonJimmy Ng – Group CIO, DBS BankBryan Leo Asis – CIO, Alaska Milk (FrieslandCampina)Yan Mung Hou – Head of Group Technology, CapitaLandAaron Lee – CIO, Blue InsuranceStuart Gurr – Group CIO / CTO, Deutsche BankRama Sridhar – EVP of Strategic Customer Solutions, MastercardAlvin Ong – CIO, NTUAlan Chiu – CTO, MoneyOwlAllan Wong – Director of IT, Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)Andri Hidayat – IT Director, Prodia WidyahusadaAnthony Buchanan – CIO, ManulifeAries Suswendi – SVP of Digital Services, TripatraArmik Ayoubdel – CIO (Asia Pacific), BGC PartnersAswin Utomo – CIO, TokopediaAthikom Kanchanavibhu – EVP of Digital & Technology Transformation, Mitr Phol GroupAugustine Wong – CIO, Vietnam Prosperity BankAxel Winter – Chief Digital Officer, Siam PiwatBhuvanesh Shukla – CTO, AGD BankBiren Kundalia Regional – CIO, Tokio Marine AsiaBrian Chan – IT Director, Jebsen GroupBudi Tedjaprawira – Head of IT, Starbucks IndonesiaCarlos Santos – Chief Technology and Transformation Officer, AXA PhilippinesChee Yuen Yap – Group CIO, Surbana JurongChew Han Wei – IT Director, Ritz-CarltonChi Chong Lim – Director of Group ICT, S.P. SetiaChoo Hoo Neoh – Head of IT, Singapore Aerospace Manufacturing (SAM)Dickie Widjaja – CIO, InvestreeDodi Soewandi – CIO, Adira FinanceDonseok Ahn – Global IT Director, ReckittDr. Andy Luk – Head of Digital Transformation & Insights, HK Express AirwaysEd Bizaoui – CIO (Asia Pacific), J.P. MorganEdmund Situmorang – Group CTO, Asian Bulk LogisticsEe Kiam Keong – CIO, Gambling Regulatory Authority of SingaporeFilipus Suwarno – Head of Technology Group, OCBCFrankie Shuai – Director of Cyber & Technology Risk, UBSGeorge Wang – SVP of IT, Singapore AirlinesHamid bin Hussain – President, Sepang Municipal CouncilHandi Tjandra – Head of DevSecOps, UOBHenk Van Rossum – Director of Group Cloud International, SOSHerman Widjaja – CTO, TokopediaIchwan Peryana – CTO, Finansial Integrasi TeknologiIshan Agrawal – Group CTO, Funding Societies | ModalkuIvan Ng – Group CTO, City Developments LimitedJeffrey Sheng – Head of IT (Asia Pacific), Sompo HoldingsJim Man – CIO, United Asia FinanceJim Sarka – Regional CIO, Johnson & JohnsonJocelyn Austria – Group COO, One MountJohn Ang – CTO, EtonHouseJohn Hsu – CIO (Asia Pacific), HSBCJulian Brinckmann – CIO (Asia Pacific), OlympusJuliana Chua – Senior Director of Global Digital Acceleration, EssilorLuxotticaKeith Chan – VP of IT, Wilcon Depot

CIO100 Awards – Sponsors 2022

Ken Soh – Group CIO, BH GlobalKevin Li – VP & CIO, GSKLeonard Ong – Regional CISO, GE HealthcareLeslie Yee – IT Director, Pacific International LinesMark Frogoso – CISO, MyntMel Migrino – CISO, Meralco and Women in Security Alliance PhilippinesMiao Song – Global CIO, GLPMohamed Hardi – CIO, National Heritage BoardNilo Zantua – SVP and CTO, RCBCNirupam Das – SVP of Global Digital Transformation, Liberty MutualNorman Sasono – CTO, DANA IndonesiaParminder Singh – Chief Digital Officer, MediacorpPeter Tay – Chief Digital Officer, IncomePoh Cheng Pang – CIO, SkillsFuture SingaporeRahul Shinde – CIO, Coca Cola (Vietnam)Rajiv Kakar – Group CIO, Thai Union GroupRajiv Renganathan – Global Head of Technology, Schneider ElectricRalph Ostertag – Director Digital & Technology (Asia Pacific), HeinekenRichard Lord – CIO (Asia Pacific), HSBC (Wholesale)Richard Parcia – Group CIO, Citadel PacificSachin Nair – CIO, Khan BankSanjay Thomas – CIOSetiaji Setiaji – Chief of Digital Transformation Office, Ministry of Health IndonesiaSetsiri Settaphakorm – SVP of Open Banking, KrungsriShariq Khan – VP of IT, Ergo InsuranceSharon Ng – CIO & Cluster Director, GovTech SingaporeShashank Singh – Group Chief Transformation Officer, Validus CapitalShekher Kumar Agrawal – President of Digital Transformation, Indorama VenturesSiti Rohana Mohamed Amin – Director of Technology, Malaysian Institute of AccountantsSudhanshu Duggal – Regional CIO, P&GSujit Panda – CTIO, BDxSupriya Rao Patwardhan – EVP / Global Head of IT Services, DHL GroupSutheshnathan A/L Sunmuganathan – CIO of International, MaybankTeck Guan Yeo – Chief Business Technology Officer, Singapore PoolsTerence Yeung – Executive VP / Group CIO, China Development FinancialTim Delahunty – Director of Technology, Commonwealth Bank IndonesiaTuan Anh Pham – CIO, Becamex VietnamWanthana Chotchaisathit – EVP of IT, TISCOWart Teao Phoon – Global IT Director, APL LogisticsWay En Yong – SVP of IT, Genting MalaysiaWinnie Rebancos – CIO, Coca-Cola (Philippines)Yee Pern Ng – CTO, Far East OrganizationYee Yu – CIO, Hung Hing Printing GroupYessie Yosetya – Chief Strategic Transformation & IT Officer, XL AxiataYew Jin Kang – CTO, PLUS Malaysia

Team of the Year – Customer Value

J.P. Morgan

As financial institutions embrace digital only solutions, J.P. Morgan is providing a digitally enabled experience for clients – offering a truly personalised engagement and journey empowered by seamless integrations with advisory tools and omni-channel functionalities. Such an approach ensures customers stay up-to-date, enhance communications and execute trades with real-time authority and insights.

Ministry of Social & Family Development (GovTech Singapore)

Government Technology Agency (GovTech) collaborated with Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and National Council of Social Service (NCSS) to deploy transformative initiatives that deliver customer value and support social mobility. Significant investments have been made to develop people, processes and systems – including Social Service Net (SSNet), a case management system enabling the efficient administration of services and programs, such as COVID-19 schemes, all implemented within the space of 3-4 weeks during the height of the pandemic.

Team of the Year – Strategy

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

NTU wins this award in recognition of kick-starting a new phase of technology-enabled transformation to support the University’s five-year strategic plan – NTU 2025. The team designed an IT strategic planning process anchored on four key pillars (LEAP) – (1) Look Beyond Ourselves; (2) Engage Business Direction; (3) Architect IT Portfolio and (4) Prioritise the Way Forward… enhancing the experience of 33,000 students and 7,600 employees in the process.

Team of the Year – Innovation

DHL

DHL wins this award for leveraging the power of cloud-based APIs to capitalise on accelerating market trends in logistics, using new solutions to address globalisation, digitalisation, e-commerce and sustainability priorities. The team developed a Group API Platform aligned to the mission of “delivering best-in-class logistics APIs for everyone” – now allowing the business to process more than two billion requests per month, forming a key cornerstone of the organisation’s innovation agenda.

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered wins this award in recognition of elevating the client banking experience to meet corporate transformation goals – housing a laser sharp focus on impactful innovations to drive commerce and prosperity. The team created observability platform Skynet to resolve the complexities of the end-to-end customer journey, leveraging the power of AI, ML, big data and advanced analytics to ingest 2.1 billion data markers in one day across four markets, six business services and 15 customer journeys – spurring significant revenue growth in the process.

Team of the Year – Culture

Maybank

Maybank wins this award for building a healthy internal culture that strives for excellence, underpinned by the three core principles of Recognise, Energise and Actualise. Recognise in the form of employee awards recognising exemplary leadership, teamwork and innovation; Energise to help staff surpass personal and group goals and Actualise aligned to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Tokopedia

Tokopedia wins this award for creating a culture of collaboration, togetherness and trust, evident by three core company initiatives designed to nurture the next generation of leaders. Tech Bench allows the top 1% of talents to be involved in a structured mentorship program; Challenge Period helps staff work on leadership skills and MyCoach focuses on training and certifications for those with a passion for coaching.

Team of the Year – Talent

DBS Bank

Central to the success of DBS as an example of digital transformation best practice is an expanding team housing industry-leading talent and capabilities – accelerated by coaching and mentoring programs, plus employee awards and technology academies. One such example is RISE (Reskill and upskill; Inspire; Share and Engage), viewed as the foundation recognising, showcasing, and nurturing talent through personalised programs, tools and resources – achieving 92% approval rate from employees across the company.

Team of the Year – Resiliency

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines wins this award in recognition of overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 and a drastic reduction in flight capacity to scale up operations with limited lead-time and changing government regulations. Within the space of three months, the Healthcert Service Layer (HSL) was developed and launched on flights from Singapore to Frankfurt and Munich in mid-July 2021 – offering a digital solution to verify health certificates alongside rolling out a Crew Journey application to optimise operations and enhance staff productivity… a relentless undertaking amid unprecedented difficulties.

CIO 100, IDG Events, Innovation, IT Leadership

Even though 90% of IT leaders in the UK expect an economic downturn, technology spending this year is set to grow at its third fastest rate in over 15 years, and most tech executives expect their budget to rise in 2023, according to the latest Digital Leadership report from talent and technology solutions firm Nash Squared (formerly Harvey Nash Group).

More than half (52%) of IT leaders in the UK polled for the report expect their technology budget to rise, and  56% of UK organisations expect to increase their technology headcount in 2023. Only approximately one in seven believe their budget will fall.

The Nash Squared Digital Leadership Report marks the 24th year the firm has polled leading CIOs, CTOs and CDOs, with this year’s study finding a surprising uptick in global, European and UK tech spending, as organisations accelerate digital transformation initiatives and adapt to hybrid working.

The report polled 1,783 digital leaders across 87 countries, including 746 in the UK, and discovered that improving operational efficiency, customer experience and developing new products and services are the top three priorities for digital leaders— markedly similar to last year’s findings.

It also suggested, however, that many of those same leaders are yet to feel the pinch from the recession and cost-of-living pressures.

“Economic headwinds are gathering and indicators are turning negative—but despite or even because of this, UK businesses know that investment in technology remains crucial. Both to maximise the efficiency of what they already have and to become more agile and responsive in highly unpredictable conditions, technology is the key enabler,” said Bev White, CEO of Nash Squared.

Tech spend is rising, as lines with business blur

Nash Squared’s report, pointedly, highlights that business and technology spending is becoming increasingly entwined, and how businesses define technology spending is getting hazy.

“What defines ‘technology spend’ is a point of debate,” according to the report, which added that the average IT budget for all respondents was a surprisingly high 7% of organisation revenue. “Most would agree spending on IT infrastructure is technology spend. Most would agree spending on Google adverts is not. But in the middle ground sit applications like customer systems, new technology products and apps. Is even defining it as ‘technology spend’ helpful?”

White believes that the growth in spending can be seen as a lasting impact from Covid-19, which gave CIOs the encouragement “to go faster and further”, in particular accelerating their investments in data and cybersecurity.

Alex Bazin, CTO at legal firm Lewis Silkin LLP, said that the Nash report’s headlines echo what he sees on a “day-to-day basis”, with investment rising at his company—a City firm focused on driving internal efficiencies. “We’ve got to keep the investment even, maybe even especially, through economic downturn,” he said.

Part of this investment, he said, can be attributed ton hybrid and remote working, with Lewis Silkin’s new office in Manchester representing a “significant investment in itself.”

Bazin—who said that ROI timeframes remain relatively unaffected, with most projects needing to deliver value within two years—does however note that the lines between IT and business spending are closing. This potentially muddies the waters, in terms of understanding where tech investment growth is coming from, and the impact it has on more traditional IT budgets.

“It’s hard to draw the line sometimes,” he said, giving the example of library services falling into his remit and budget, as subscription services fall into the realm of data and knowledge sharing. He adds that other industries, such as automotive manufacturing, have the additional complexity of IT/OT (operational technology) convergence and budgets falling between the cracks of technology, product and operations.

Tech executives in a variety of industries agree the lines between spending on IT and other segments of business are blurring. Nadine Thomson, Global CTO at Mediacom, gave one such example at the WPP-owned media agency.

“If you think about product, product doesn’t necessarily always sit in an IT or even in a CTO function,” shes says. “In my role, I kind of share product…with our chief product officer. So that’s one example of an area where you wouldn’t necessarily see it all on the IT line.”

Business-led tech is on the rise

There has also been a general increase in business-led technology, she notes, highlighting that this would not be cloud hosting or licensing costs, but rather areas like business analysis and product management.

“I wonder if some organisations are starting to think about how they’re accounting for technology more broadly,” she said, adding that budgets are now under ‘more pressure’ than two months ago.

In fact, a lot has changed recently. The Nash Squared survey was based on responses between 20 July and 10 October— chancellor Jeremy Hunt axed most of the so-called ‘mini budget’ seven days later, with now-former UK prime minister Liz Truss relinquishing her role after 10 days, on 20 October. The political tumult has added to general economic uncertainty.

For Scott Petty, the CDIO (chief digital information officer) at Vodafone, the financial uncertainty represents another opportunity for CIOs to drive change through crisis, even if investments are more acutely focused on projects which can save energy and drive operational efficiencies.

“So things like investments to save energy, and automation. Anything that can reduce power consumption, suddenly has an amazing business case,” he said on the sidelines of Gartner’s symposium in Barcelona, which ended Thursday. “So you’re seeing a wave of investments in those areas,” he said, pointing to data centre consolidation and cloud migration plans moving from “three-year plans to 18-month plans.”

“Will that continue? It really depends how long the downturn lasts, how long the headwinds are and how big the energy upside is,” Petty said.

AI and RPA cuts as projects get prioritised

Even though CIOs seemingly have yet to feel the impact of economic headwinds, some technologies have already been scaled back.  Although investment remains strong in cloud (67% of executives polled by Nash reported large-scale usage in the UK), companies are cutting back their investments in big data and RPA (robotic process automation).

“As the CIO, you want to make sure that you’re putting things on the board that show real value and help the business transform itself, grow and scale be more productive,” said Nash Squared’s White, adding that organisations are committing to bigger infrastructure projects rather than smaller, and more iterative AI projects which “start out small and then permeate.”

Mediacom’s Thomson expressed surprise at the relative fall from grace for RPA, suggesting that efficiency must be king in financially uncertain times.

“We know that talent is getting harder to get, so cutting back on anything that’s going to drive automation or RPA is a strange decision,” she said.

Lewis Silkin’s Bazin has a similar stance on AI, saying that this suite of technologies is “front and centre” to the company’s ambitions, with “nothing on pause.” In particular, he said the law firm is looking to AI for document discovery to help build legal cases and give advice to clients, as well as for contract analysis, contract automation and fact-checking on case law. “Anything that decouples effort from the equation makes a quick difference, and a rapid ROI,” he said.

Skills gap and diversity progress—but sustainability stalls

Elsewhere in Nash Squared’s report, there was concern over how cost-of-living pressures were having an impact on salary demands and thus recruitment, and frustration with the UK government’s inability to tackle the digital skills divide. But there was promising news for gender diversity: Approximately 28% of new hires are female, with the recruitment firm attributing the slight rise in the number of female leaders (up from 12% to 15% year-on-year) and new hires likely due at least in part to greater flexibility in the workplace.

Thomson, though encouraged by the findings, believes that building diverse teams is an ongoing journey. At Mediacom, she points to a “reasonably diverse” technology team, built over three years through partnerships with the likes of D&I organisation Tech Talent Charter, connections in the CIO-CTO world, and internal schemes like WPP ‘Visible Start’, which gives women an opportunity to come back after a career break. But she believes that developing the company culture, as well as active role modelling, is pivotal to get to a point where word-of-mouth drives diversity and employee retention.

“People recommend or bring in other people. And that’s actually really helpful, because they stick—and they stick because the culture is already there. You’re coming into a welcoming culture.”

Big data analysts, cybersecurity experts and technical architects were the top three job types sought in the UK, according to the report, but rising salaries were a concern, with almost two-thirds of UK leaders saying that the rising cost of living has made salary demands ‘unsustainable’.

Sustainability, as was the case last year, remains somewhat down on the CIO’s priority list. In the UK, while 43% of respondents think technology has a ‘big part to play’ in sustainability, only 22% are using technology to measure their carbon footprint to any great extent.

A fifth of digital leaders polled in the UK (20%) think sustainability had only a ‘negligible or no part to play in 2022’, leading Nash Squared to question if there’s a vacuum in leadership responsibility for sustainability. “We expected to see it playing a greater role than when we measured it last year when in fact it appears little has changed,” the report said. “Do digital leaders have their heads firmly in the sand or is the board not focusing them on this?”

Bazin notes that IT concerns about sustainability could differ widely by sector—a logistics company may, for instance, see a bigger environmental impact from haulage by air or sea than from IT—but believes an altogether bigger challenge is focusing on goals for the year ahead. In the study, most UK leaders cited concerns about a lack of focus on digital innovation (21%), followed by under-resourcing (18%) and prioritising ideas (10%).

“IT has been so busy in innovating core IT for the pandemic, and adapting for the hybrid workplace. But it is really important that business owns business innovation, and IT owns its part of that,” Bazin said, adding that getting the right team and process structures in place is at the top of his agenda.

Budgeting, IT Strategy

By Milan Shetti, CEO Rocket Software

For several months now, pundits and economists alike have indicated that we are likely to enter, or already have entered, a recession. Regardless, The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has the final say on whether any period of economic decline qualifies as a recession, and that determination might not come for months.

Whether or not the U.S. enters a recession, businesses must have a plan. By recession-proofing tech stacks, businesses can compete and thrive regardless of market conditions. Consider the following tips when planning to recession proof your technology stack. 

Avoid single sourcing

When it comes to recession-proofing a tech stack, leaders should avoid single sourcing. Supply chains are especially vulnerable where single sources can hamstring a business by causing delays in shipments and leading to an increase in prices and generalized inflation. If a company’s entire product portfolio is made in one location and that location becomes overwhelmed, its operations could come to a halt.

The same thing can be said about IT processes. If a business is focused on a single cloud provider that can shut down operations, whether purposefully or accidentally, the outcomes can be catastrophic. As a recession becomes more likely, businesses must choose partners that do not box their customers into a single source cloud solution. A hybrid approach to IT is always best.

Understand the power of automation

Understanding and investing in automation is a powerful tool when fighting the impacts of a recession. In a recession, businesses must do more with less. Automation can help fill the gaps and ease pressure on overworked employees.

But don’t automate just for the sake of automating. Over-automation could ultimately result in a business spending more resources than necessary. Instead, take stock of where employees are spending their most time, evaluate if the work being done is best done by an employee or automation, and adjust accordingly. Automation can help free up resources to allow employees to focus on more value-driven work.

Speaking of automation and technology in general, it’s always important to take stock of which technologies are considered mission critical and which are not. When the economy is on a downswing, this is especially true. If you’re continuously taking stock of which tools and technologies yield the most value, it will make trimming the excess easier.

Always prepare for a recession

Even in times of economic prosperity, business leaders must operate like a recession is never too far away. As the late technology visionary and former chairman and CEO of Intel Andy Grove once said, “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” A healthy dose of paranoia can help businesses lessen the blow of an economic recession by reducing the urge to overspend on unnecessary technology that does not bring a certain level of value to the company. It’s important to plan not just for the good days, but the days that might not be great, as well.

Businesses should view a recession as an opportunity: a chance to reevaluate what’s important and make sure its tech stack is fueled by technology that brings the highest level of return to the business.

To learn more about recession proofing your tech stack, visit Rocket’s homepage.

Digital Transformation

Huawei kicked off its Huawei Connect 2022 tour in Bangkok as it embarks on a world tour. The massive exhibition brings together ICT leaders, experts, and partners to unleash digital productivity, build stronger digital ecosystems, and promote the digital economy.

CIO Editor Andrea Benito visited the exhibition and sat down with Derek Hao, President of Global Marketing, Huawei Enterprise Business Group, on why the key to accelerating digital transformation is matching the right technologies to the right scenarios.

Asia Pacific is leading the shift toward digital-first business process and will generate more than 30% of revenue from digital products and services by 2023, IDC predicts.

It’s not hard to see why; the degree of uncertainty created by the pandemic around workforce availability, and customer preference shifting towards online has created a set of powerful catalysts for change.

Connecting technology with transformation

Huawei Connect 2022, themed “Unleash Digital”, kicked off in Bangkok in September. The key message from Huawei was that to ensure successful digital transformation, the right technology must be selected for each scenario.

During the second day keynote on Innovative Digital Infrastructure Accelerates Digital Transformation, Bob Chen, Vice President of Huawei Enterprise Business Group, emphasised the importance of finding the right technology for the right scenario, further citing how “data is at the core of digital transformation and Huawei provides full-stack products and product portfolios to support end-to-end data processing.”

Data the key to deeper digital transformation

During our conversation, Derek Hao, President of Global Marketing, Huawei Enterprise Business Group shared that while many businesses have implemented basic workflow in a digital equivalent, fewer have taken full advantage of the data available to them to inform their processes.

According to Hao, data is key to deeper transformation and a cornerstone of Huawei’s strategy to help customers more comprehensively transform their business processes.

“Huawei believes that the way to deepen digital transformation and drive continuous innovation of industries is to ‘find technologies for scenarios’, which requires combining technologies. Data is, after all, the core of digital transformation. That’s why intelligent industry upgrades must be based on data,” Hao observes.

“To meet the requirements of different industries and specific scenarios, Huawei provides customers with a wide range of full-stack products and portfolios, covering full-stack data ingestion, transmission, storage, computing, analysis, and more, which effectively support E2E data processing,” he says.

Sector-specific solutions on display

Huawei has developed initiatives to help specific industries digitise and will be in showcasing them at Huawei Connect 2022. In the Bangkok edition, the exhibition demonstrated digital transformation cases across different industry sectors, divided into three key zones:

Industrial Digital Transformation showcased innovative applications and industry solutions in different scenarios including Education, Ports, Roads, and Electricity.

Innovative Digital Infrastructure showcased Huawei’s latest innovations across data centres, campuses, digital sites, and WANs, four types of product portfolio solutions provided by Huawei.

HUAWEI CLOUD and Eco-partners showcased HUAWEI CLOUD’s successful practices in technological innovation and ecosystem development.

Understanding customers’ challenges

According to Huawei, one of its key focuses is to work closely with customers to first understand their unique challenges, which will allow its technology subject matter experts to match the right technology solutions for different scenarios.

Huawei recently worked closely with a municipal government in an Asia Pacific country to understand its problem space and identify a series of issues in its environment, including isolated IT systems, lack of virtualised management rules, inefficient O&M, and slow response.

This enabled Huawei to build a centralised cloud platform for the customer, leveraging the HUAWEI CLOUD stack, which migrates multiple services to one cloud and ensures resources can be requested by multiple departments at the same time, improving office efficiency.

Huawei was also able to deploy a multi-data centre disaster recovery and backup system to ensure service continuity.

The result has been much-improved efficiency and stability for the systems, allowing the government workforce to improve its productivity.

Go digital in the changing environment

To assist partners with solution design, Huawei has developed more than 100 scenario-based solutions with partners covering over 10 industries.

While the pandemic is slowly resolving, the world remains a very different place from what it was before COVID-19. A set of fundamental assumptions that underpinned global trade and economies have shifted. As the world charts the uncertain path ahead, one thing is certain: businesses will have to comprehensively transform their processes toward digital to survive and thrive.

“We look forward to working with more customers and partners to dive deep into scenarios and jointly innovate to upgrade infrastructure, unleash digital, and build a fully connected, intelligent world. In the future, we are still confident in the digital development of the Asia Pacific,” says Hao.

Register today to visit Huawei Connect 2022 Dubai

Digital Transformation

CIO Middle East is proud to unveil the expanded CIO50 Middle East Awards in 2022, recognizing the top 50 senior technology executives driving innovation, strengthening resiliency, and influencing rapid change across the Middle East.

The CIO50 Middle East Awards are aligned to Foundry’s global awards program and viewed as a mark of excellence within the enterprise. Last year, CIO Middle East launched the first edition of the CIO50 Awards in the region, judging four core pillars of Innovation, Diversity & Culture, Workplace, and Data Intelligence, honoring transformational, inspirational, and enduring CIOs at both in-country and regional levels across the Middle East.

Technology leadership in numbers and words

Leaders of the CIO50 Middle East award winners collectively hold responsibility for more than 40,000 IT employees across the Middle East, averaging more than 500 staff members per organization. The list covers a range of technology positions, spanning CIO, CISO, CTO, and CDO, in addition to transformation, business, and executive roles across five countries: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain

More than 15 industry sectors were represented as well, including financial services, healthcare, insurance, banking, real estate, telecommunications, aviation, government, transport, utilities, and trade unions.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, technology leaders remained resilient and pressed ahead with change-agent activities, evident through a transition away from being merely custodians of the IT department to entrepreneurs driving new ideas and strategies.

The CIO50 Middle East awardee list highlights technology executives focused on creation and development, building first-to-market projects capable of overcoming the pandemic and setting the business up for future growth.

Such work also cements CIO50 Middle East as the leading awards program for technology leaders in the region, forming part of a broader worldwide initiative alongside the CIO50 Australia, CIO50 New Zealand, CIO75 ASEAN and CIO100 India Awards. These are in addition to CIO100 Awards in the US and UK.

Ali & Sons’s Shumon Zaman takes top honors

The top-ranked technology leader in 2022 is Shumon Zaman, CIO and CDO at Ali & Sons. Saman and his team are leading a digital-first agenda, enabling Ali&Sons’ digital transformation journey while supporting the efficient and profitable operation of the company

Over the last year, Ali & Sons has started its digital transformation journey called Quantum, which is revolutionizing how the group operates and is a key enabler of its long-term double-digit growth. Quantum is set to help the company innovate, transform, and lead the industry with its multiple phases. In the initial phase, for instance, they’ve developed several different data harvesting platforms (collecting structured and unstructured data) that have already unlocked operational efficiencies to exceed over AED 14 million this year and is now providing new insights to help predict the future for our employees using embedded AI and ML tools.

The top 10 CIO50 Middle East awardees:

1. Shumon A. Zaman, Chief Information and Chief Digital Officer at Ali & Sons (UAE)

2. Jason E. Roos, CIO, KAUST University (KSA)

3. Mario Foster, CIO, Al Naboodah Group (UAE)

4. Veneet Purushotaman, Group CIO, Aster DM Healthcare LLC (UAE)

5. Anthony Lynsdale, VP Information Technology, Atlantis Dubai (UAE)

6. Abeer Khedr, Head of Cybersecurity, National Bank of Egypt (Egypt)

7. Heide Young, Manager Cyberstrategy and Engagement NEOM (KSA)

8. Murat Özkan, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Anadolu Efes (Turkey)

9. Sirin Aktas, CIO, Edenred Turkey (Turkey)

10. Mohamed Al Doseri, CISO, Tasheel Finance (KSA)

The complete list of CIO50 Awards winners listed alphabetically:

Ahmad Yahya, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Information Officer, American Hospital Dubai (AHD). Ali Juma Alajme, Digital Health Department Director, Ministry of Health and Prevention UAE.Aliasgar Bohari, Senior Director – IT, Zulekha Hospital.Arul Jose Vigin, Head of IT, DIFC Courts.Atul Aggarwal, Area Director of IT, Caesars Palace.Aysegul, CIO, Index Group.Damian O Gara, Chief Digital and Information Officer, Kent.Dr. Reem Faraj Alshammari, CISO, Kuwait Oil Company.Erol Ozguner, CIO, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.Fusun Borluq, Director of IT agile management, robotic process automation and quality, IGESA.George Eapen, Group CIO, Petrofac Limited.Germin Abouel, CIO, The British University in Egypt.Gigi Matthew Thomas, Group Head – IT & Digital Transformation, Ittihad International Investment LLC.Hajar Al Maazmi, SVP – Head of Information Technology, Ajman Bank.Hana Fareed Alsaleh, Head of IT, Al Jabr Finance.Hayriye Karadeniz, CIO and CDO, Ford Otosan Turkey.Hesham Daabes, CIO, Banque du Caire.Hisham Mohamed Aly, CISO, Emirates NBD Egypt.Hoda Alkhzaimi, Director, Center of Cyber Security in New York University Abu Dhabi.Jacob Matthew, Head of IT, Government of Abu Dhabi.Jijish Gopi, CSO, Department of Finance Dubai.Krishnan Gopi, Group Chief Disruption Officer, GEMS Education.Lars Gerhmann, Group Chief Digital Officer, Qatar Insurance Group.Mai Bader Alowaish, Chief Data and Innovation Officer, Gulf Bank of Kuwait.Manal Allam, IT Head and Business Partner, MerckMuath Alhomoud, CISO, Smart Digital Payments Holding.Mubarik Hussain, IT Director, Bloom Holding.Nani Mohammed Butti, Director Information System, Ministry of Youth and Sport Affairs Bahrain.Nicole Webb, Manager Information Technology, Atlantis Dubai.Pankaj Bajaj, Head of Technology, Capital Health Abu Dhabi.Ph.D. Mohamed Hamed, CIO, Platino Group.Shahrin Oli Mohamed, Head of Information & Digital Technology, Shell LNG Trading.Sreedhar Suragouni, CIO, Oman Insurance Company.Sunil Nair, Group Chief Information Officer, GMG.Umesh Moolchandani, CIO, Bin Dasmal Group.Venkatesh Mahadevan, CIO, Dubai Investments PJSC.WILFREDO PÉREZ RIVERO, CIO, Infinity des Lumieres.Wissam Al Adany, Group CIO, ADES Arabia Holding.Yahyah Pandor, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Fine Hygienic Holding.

CIO of the Year

 Shumon Zaman, CIO and CDO at Ali & Sons

Leadership in Innovation

Veneeth Purushotaman Group CIO at Aster DM Healthcare LLC

Leadership in Culture and Diversity

Shahrin Oli Mohamed, Head of Information & Digital Technology at Shell LNG Trading

Leadership in the Workplace

Umesh MoolchandanI, CIO at Bin Dasmal Group

Leadership in Data Intelligence

Ahmad Yahya, COO and CIO at American Hospital Dubai

Leadership in Cybersecurity

Abeer Khedr, Head of Cybersecurity at National Bank of Egypt

IT Team of the Year

Atlantis The Palm

The CIO50 Middle East Awards criteria

CIO50 Middle East was judged on the core pillars of innovation, culture and diversity, workplace, data intelligence and cybersecurity, honoring transformational, inspiring, and enduring CIOs at both in-country and regional levels within the Middle East.

All entries were reviewed by a select and independent CIO50 Middle East judging panel, John Barton, ex-CIO at Abu Dhabi Airports, Shafique R Ibrahim, ex Chief Information Digital Officer, Debbie Botha, Women in AI Global Chief Partnership, Carmen Marsh, President and CEO at United Cybersecurity Alliance, Mario Moreno del Toro, Editorial Coordinator Computerworld and CSO Foundry Spain and Victoria Mendes, Research Manager at IDC MEA, who rated each section of the questionnaire to determine the final list. The most powerful nominations provided real-world examples of where technology and digital chiefs are successfully providing value to organizations, driving innovation and leading teams.

Foundry congratulates all CIO50 Middle East winners and finalists in 2022.

CIO

Businesses must prioritise fostering an inclusive company culture in order to improve the professional experiences of young tech workers from underrepresented groups, according to Wiley Edge’s second annual ‘Diversity in Tech’ report.

The report is based on a survey that asked UK respondents about their perceptions of the technology industry, to establish what is currently being done to actively improve diversity in tech teams, and where more work is still required.

The report comprises responses from 2,000 18-to-24 year-olds—44% of whom were already working in tech roles—and 200 senior business leaders in key industries, including financial services, insurance and pharmaceuticals.  to establish what is currently being done to actively improve diversity in their tech teams, and where more work is still required.

When asked to describe their experience of the industry so far, 50% of respondents rated it as either ‘entirely positive’ or ‘mostly positive’, with 30% having mixed experiences and 11% describing their time in the tech industry so far as ‘mostly negative’.

Uninteresting and difficult work were cited by 10% and 13% of respondents, respectively, as factoring into their negative experience. For those who have had a more positive experience, 28% said they have enjoyed the work, with the same figure having found the work interesting. Twenty percent of those surveyed said that they like their company’s culture, while another 20% said they have felt welcomed by their colleagues.

However, one of the key takeaways from the survey was that the benefits of pursuing a career in technology remains low amongst 18–24-year-olds. Of those surveyed for the report, only 26% of respondents who are not currently working in tech said that they believe it offers excellent career opportunities, while 29% said that they think that it offers a wide range of career choices, and 24% believe tech careers are likely to be among the most futureproof.

What is driving the racial and gender talent gap?

The survey shows there is still a lot more work to be done to hire and retain diverse talent.

In comments published alongside the report, Tom Seymour, senior director of HR at Wiley Edge, said that while it’s great that half of young tech workers have enjoyed their time in the industry so far, it’s concerning that a significant proportion have encountered some challenges.

“Our findings seem to indicate that it’s not the nature of the work itself that is an issue for most unhappy young tech employees,” he said. “Instead, the research suggests that many businesses are still struggling to establish an inclusive, welcoming environment which is having a negative impact on the wellbeing of their tech teams.”

Nearly half of the young tech workers polled, 48%, have felt uncomfortable in a job because of their gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background or neurodevelopmental condition.

The report also found that women were 22% less likely to say they have felt welcomed by their colleagues than men, and 22% less likely to say they like their company’s culture. They were also 45% more likely to say they had not had enough personal support.

Eleven percent of those surveyed said that they believe the tech industry is too male dominated, rising to 19% of women.

With regards to ethnic minority employees, white respondents were more likely to say they liked their company’s culture than any other ethnic group, 23% compared to an average of 20%, respectively. Black African respondents were the most likely to say they do not feel welcomed by their colleagues, to say that they actively do not like their company’s culture, and were also the most likely to highlight the issue of a lack of role models.

In addition to creating a potentially hostile company culture, the less diverse an organisation, the bigger the gender and ethnicity pay gaps at that organisation will be, the research suggests.

However, the survey found that only 31% of UK business leaders believe they have a gender pay gap problem, despite the latest ONS data showing that about 78% of reporting employers are paying their male employees a higher median hourly wage.

And while employment rates have been rising across all ethnic groups across the last two decades, a 2021 report by PwC found that white British people earn more on average than people from almost all other ethnic groups.

Furthermore, the report found that while only 25% of businesses admitted to having a race and ethnicity pay gap problem, more than a quarter (26%) of businesses are still failing to collect data on the demographic composition of their workforce.

What should businesses be doing better?

The lack of diversity in the technology industry is not a new talking point and while recent statistics show that the dial is moving the right direction, reports such as that from Wiley Edge show there is still more that needs to be done.

The report found employers are not unaware of  diversity and inclusion issues, with 87% of businesses acknowledging the continued lack of diversity in their tech teams. According to the survey, 42% of those polled have noticed a lack of gender diversity, 44% a lack of ethnic diversity, 35% a lack of neurodiversity, and 35% a lack of socio-economic diversity.

Having a diverse workforce is not something that will happen without organisations taking active steps to reduce bias and address some of the long-standing issues that have become pervasive in the tech industry, according to the report. But when it comes to improving the hiring process and developing a more diverse talent pipeline, only 40% of businesses surveyed currently invest in anti-bias training for hiring managers, while 61% of respondents do not use deliberately neutral job descriptions. Even fewer businesses, 32% of those surveyed, currently anonymise CVs and only 38% said that they request diverse shortlists from recruiters.

However, there has been some progress. Only 4% said that they have no anti-bias hiring practices in place at all, compared with 9% in 2021, and of those that do, 88% have noticed an improvement to some extent.

Diversity and Inclusion, Hiring

While a new forecast released Monday by Spiceworks/Ziff Davis said that overall IT spending will be largely unhampered by recessionary trends in the economic outlook, much of that spending will be driven by large enterprises, leaving the picture much murkier for small and medium-size businesses.

The forecast is based on a survey of IT professionals in the US and Europe, which was performed this summer by Aberdeen Research. Fully 90% of respondents said that they either planned to increase spending or keep it steady in 2023. However, the impulse to buy is not evenly distributed across companies—while 61% of large enterprises said that they plan an expansion of IT spending in 2023, just 41% of smaller companies said the same.

Counterintuitively, the researchers said, companies more worried about the effects of a possible recession were more likely to have bigger IT spending in their future plans than those who were not. Just 30% of companies with “no plans” to make major preparations for a recession reported that they were getting ready to hike IT spending, in contrast to solid majorities—68% and 55%—for companies who were already making recession plans or planned to in the near future, respectively.

That level of preparedness, coupled with the fact that some companies may be planning to reinvest cost savings from other areas into IT, reflect lessons learned during past economic downturns, according to Jim Rapoza, vice president and principal analyst at Aberdeen.

IT spending during a recession shows benefits

“Businesses that invested in technology during the pandemic saw significant benefits,” he said on a conference call announcing the study’s results. “Our research revealed improvements across performance, reliability, security and even reduced overall IT costs among organizations that modernized their infrastructure —even if that was initially out of necessity.”

Essentially, he said, recessions shouldn’t spur IT cutbacks. Companies that did so in 2001 and 2008 were frequently punished for it by the market. Hence, larger businesses , particularly those that have already weathered past economic crises, tend to be much more likely to either maintain their IT spending levels or even to increase them during economic headwinds.

That trend is already recognizable in the figures for uptake of newer technologies, the study found, particularly 5G, edge, serverless computing, and AI. Part of the reason for that is that many of them are interrelated. The type of connectivity enabled by 5G makes it easier for some companies to deploy edge computing, which creates the volumes of data required to feed AI models, and so on. Hence, companies with the financial wherewithal to either build those capabilities out on their own or hire managed service providers to take care of them—that is to say, big businesses—are much more likely to be working on them, and thus are more likely to reap the benefits.

That fact, along with the higher uptake of managed services in general among larger companies, could mean that such enterprises are better prepared to weather an economic downturn, or any other kind of large-scale headwind on the market, according to head of tech insights at Spiceworks/Ziff Davis, Peter Tsai.

“The pandemic’s not over—what if there’s another deadly wave that forces everyone to go remote again?” he said on the conference call. “Having that hybrid infra makes it easier to flip that switch to ‘remote’ back on.”

Budget, Technology Industry

A report issued Monday by private investment company Bain Capital indicated that, despite the numerous disruptions to the technology industry—including a global supply chain crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—most IT decision makers foresee either stable budgets or increases for the coming year.

Over the past two years, the pandemic’s effects on that figure have been noticeable—at the onset, less than half of those polled said that they expected anything but a decrease in their budget for the coming year. The number changed rapidly as the economy emerged from the worst effects of the COVID crisis, however, with 75% in 2021 and 90% in 2022 saying that they expected stable or increasing budgets to come.

That number shrank in the latest report—to 77%—but that’s still an indicator of strong demand for products and services in a sector that’s still facing more than its share of headwinds, according to the head of Bain’s global technology practice, David Crawford.

“CIOs and CTOs are increasing their technology spending,” he wrote in the report. “Of course, there may be budget pressure in the future, but over the long term, to them—and to us—tech is not so much a cost as an investment that spurs productivity.”

Much of the report is devoted to vendors and their potential best moves to weather a tough economic situation, which offers some insight into what IT departments can expect from companies they deal with in the future.

Along with changes to streamline sales and reduce travel, businesses can expect some of their vendors to move in the direction of consumption-based pricing, thanks to higher demand for that model, and to do more strategic work around product development, as Bain’s research shows that return on investment for R&D spending is frequently not at the level that management is looking for.

The chip shortage, according to Bain, is gradually easing, but recovery isn’t unlikely to be particularly fast or painless. Given global economic conditions, a simple lessening of demand may be one of the most important contributing factors to the silicon market’s recovery, and the company’s researchers identified two other factors likely to determine how short—or long—the recovery is.

Extreme ultraviolet lithography equipment—$150 million machines that are necessary for the latest generation of silicon, and are only made by one manufacturer—represents a present bottleneck to building out fabrication capability.

Moreover, geopolitical friction among numerous countries presents its own stumbling blocks to recovery, as import restrictions make it difficult to source key resources. Russia’s restriction on the sale of noble gases like neon, which is important to silicon fabrication, Japan’s tightening of control over the supply of high-purity hydrogen fluoride, and similar trade issues are likely to exacerbate the chip shortage in the short term unless those issues can be resolved.

Budgeting, IT Strategy, Technology Industry

Government organizations have the longest average buying cycle for technology when compared to other sectors, with procurement laws injecting complexity into the procurement process, according to a Gartner report.

The report, which is based on a survey of 1,120 executives with the inclusion of 79 public sector employees across the US, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, Australia and Singapore, showed that the average buying cycle for government entities is 22 months.

This is in contrast to at least 48% of all respondents saying that their buying cycle for technology averaged around six to seven months.

“Technology acquisition brings challenges to the public sector that do not commonly exist in other industries,” said Dean Lacheca, vice president and analyst at Gartner.   

“Each jurisdiction has its own procurement laws and policies, and within that, each agency or department can have its own interpretation of them. A failure to conform to the rules can have serious consequences, from unwanted publicity to personal risk of prosecution,” Lacheca added.

Some of the other reasons behind the delay include changes in scope, research and evaluation along with reaching an agreement around budgeting.

Many respondents also said that these delays occur before the beginning of the procurement process, with at least 74% of public sector respondents claiming that developing a business case for purchases takes a long time.

More than 76% said that scope changes requiring additional research and evaluation was also another major factor resulting in delays, Gartner said, adding that 75% of respondents listed reaching agreement around budgeting as a major concern for delays in the buying decision.

“While government buying cycles can be long, it is important to note that these time frames are not set,” said Lacheca.

“Initial planned timelines can be delayed as a result of a combination of both controllable and uncontrollable factors, especially when no external deadlines exist.”

Government procurement teams are large

A typical public sector buying team has 12 participants, with varying levels of participation in the process, Gartner said, adding that government C-level executives tend to be less involved in the technology buying process when compared to the private sector in order to avoid association with the process and creating the perception of political influence in the outcome.

This also makes government C-level executives less willing to defend the process if challenged by unsuccessful vendors or the media, the research firm said.

Further, the survey shows that public sector buying teams are more likely to be composed of lower-level operational staff, who act as subject matter experts providing recommendations to their C-suite.

At least 68% of public sector respondents claim that another reason for delay is their inability to obtain specific product or implementation requirements details from the provider, Gartner said.

The research firm adds that public sector organizations are significantly more likely to value references from existing clients than non-public sector buyers, partly because public sector organizations are rarely in direct competition and often share common challenges.

Government IT