Reflections: Ng Kim Hung, Exel Asia-Pacific

"2006 will be the year companies understand the importance and the need to fully equip their road warriors with the tools that enable them to do their work effectively and efficiently." -- Ng Kim Hung, IT director, Exel Asia-Pacific

CIO 1-on-1 Q. What has been the biggest lesson learnt or the most memorable experience?
This year came and zipped by quickly. There are no major technology experiences that come to mind for this year. However, one event which I will remember for a long time will be the itSMF Singapore Chapter's first major conference on ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) and IT Service Management which was held in May 2005. (Ng is the president of the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) Singapore Chapter.)

Ng Kim Hung, IT director for Exel Asia-Pacific, hopes to see more Asian businesses place emphasis on achieving higher IT service management standards

The turnout at this two-day event was a surprise. The response was very encouraging. We noticed that the attendees had a big appetite to learn. They wanted to understand the IT service management concepts and the ITIL framework. When we conducted a similar sharing session on a smaller scale a couple of months later, the response was just as overwhelming. We had to include an additional session so as to cater to all the participants.

Singapore's Prime Minister has called for Singapore to place more emphasis on service, to make service a way of life and, hence, a more service oriented society. This coincides with the objectives of the itSMF Singapore Chapter to promote and share best practices in IT service management so that the professionals in this industry will be well-positioned to deliver quality IT services to the business. Therefore, I will dedicate 2005 to the start of IT service management practices in Singapore, which is another pillar for the IT industry. The concept of higher service management standards is making inroads into organizations, re-shaping and re-modeling the IT function.

Q. What will be the top security issue of 2006?
As usual there is that constant nagging fear that an unforeseen catastrophe might strike at our global/regional WAN (wide area network) connection and our regional data centers. Major threats or disruptions to our WAN and regional data centers, which are the backbone of the Asia business, could cripple our ability to conduct business with our customers. We are, therefore, constantly working with our partners to mitigate this risk and constantly looking at ways to ensure that we keep this fear in control and in check.

I think 2006 will be the year companies understand the importance and the need to fully equip their road warriors with the tools that enable them to do their work effectively and efficiently.

Q. What will be the top three technology priorities for businesses in 2006?
People are always on the move these days, and I think in the future we'll see more workers becoming more mobile. More companies are also seeking to globalize. Therefore, I think 2006 will be the year companies understand the importance and the need to fully equip their road warriors with the tools that will enable them to do their work effectively and efficiently. Hence, my bet for the top technology priorities for 2006 is on applications that make use of wireless and security technologies for the mobile worker.

Q. What will be the hot trends or issues in 2006?
With so much on-going news on terrorism and unforseen catastrophes, political disturbances, and so on, I think we can see the trend of companies de-centralizing their nerve and data centers in the coming years. 2006 may just be the start of this trend, where in the older days which we called distributed computing or processing, will be coming back into play. I think companies will be rethinking the strategies of having centralized centers as the growing threat may pose a bigger risk to the business. I think that companies will look to either having their IT systems running in different continents or have multiple disaster recovery sites to support their requirements and needs.

Therefore, I think that there will be a rise in demand for high volume and high bandwidth type of data comms services. Companies will be looking for data services that are faster, safer and cheaper. I think the trend of promoting RFID (radio frequency identification) and RosettaNet standards will continue. The rate of adoption will depend very much on how this technology is applied to business processes and how it is put to use.

Companies dealing with secure technology and security issues... thumbs up to them. I think they will enjoy a good year ahead as many more companies will adopt security technology in view of the constant threats. Similarly also companies having adopted these technologies some years back will seek a renewal.. So I think it will be good news for these companies.

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