Scalability, self-provisioning top CIO priorities

Asia-Pacific IT decision-makers moving away from standardizing corporate processes to focusing on adding scalability and empowering users to take responsibility for their IT needs, analyst reveals.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--CIOs in the Asia-Pacific region are no longer spending their budgets on standardizing corporate business processes. Instead, creating an IT infrastructure that can scale rapidly as well as empowering employees to take responsibility for their IT needs are now top on their lists, according to IDC.

Patrick Chan, chief technology advisor of emerging technologies at IDC Asia-Pacific's practice group, said this shift signals the evolving role of the CIO which is now more aligned with business drivers.

"CIOs in the region are no longer interested in siloed, ivory tower projects but focused on creating a sustainable IT infrastructure," noted Chan, who was speaking at IDC's Asia-Pacific CIO Summit 2010 here Thursday.

Preliminary findings from an IDC survey this week revealed that IT decision-makers are increasingly committing to projects aimed at boosting companies' revenue. The study polled over 400 CIOs across the region, including Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.

Elaborating on the survey findings, Chan said 59.8 percent of CIOs surveyed will spend their budget on refreshing their company's IT infrastructure to allow for better scalability. This is top on their IT priority list, the survey revealed.

Chan noted that this need stems from the fact that rapid provisioning is critical in many situations as CIOs need to respond quickly to dynamic changes in the business environment.

The second critical area of investment is focused on increasing "self-service IT" capabilities, the analyst pointed out. He added that 46.1 percent of respondents said they were looking at facilitating their employees to take responsibility of their own IT needs.

This directive to empower staff will allow enterprises to free up IT resources to focus on new, innovative initiatives that will help drive profitability, help manage cashflow and provide tangible customer service improvements, he noted.

Furthermore, scalability and self-provisioning are characteristics that define cloud computing, he said, adding that this is an area companies in the region are paying more attention to today.

According to the IDC survey, 44.2 percent of CIOs expressed interest in creating an IT infrastructure that supports both private and public cloud, otherwise known as a hybrid cloud. Comparatively, 35.4 percent of CIOs were looking solely at private cloud adoption while 6.2 percent viewed public cloud offerings with interest.

Some 14.2 percent of respondents indicated a lack of interest in adopting cloud infrastructure or services, the survey showed.

Chan said these findings signaled a need for CIOs to look at aligning IT projects to a hybrid cloud model and provide services that will allow IT staff to better manage such environments. This move will also prepare the organization to externalize more of its infrastructure to third-party cloud service providers in the future, he added.

However, he urged decision-makers not to jump into the cloud bandwagon blindly and to move into the cloud business model at their own pace.

He recommended CIOs look into their existing infrastructure and identify hardware and applications that can be re-architected using cloud computing technologies. He added that businesses should engage in conversations with the right vendors and partners to gain the necessary skills to kickstart their journey to cloud.

Best-in-class IT adopters
At the CIO summit, IDC Asia-Pacific also unveiled that nine Singapore-based companies were recipients of its IDC-Enterprise Innovation Award 2010.

They were: the Central Provident Fund Board; Energy Market Company; Jurong Port; Neptune Orient Lines; Singapore General Hospital; Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee; Kim Eng Securities; Resorts World Sentosa (RWS); and YCH Group. Of these, integrated resort RWS and logistic company YCH Group were declared the top two winners.

This award is in its fourth year and aims to recognize companies that use IT in innovative ways to build a sustainable, competitive advantage for their businesses, according to IDC.

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