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Harvey Nash / KPMG 2016 CIO Survey event: There has never been a better time to be a CIO

Ir Allen Yeung, CIO, Hong Kong Government calls on businesses in the city to support IT internships and prove there is a bright future for the sector

Harvey Nash and KPMG hosted the Hong Kong 2016 CIO Survey event on 8th September 2016, at the Kee Club. The city's top IT leaders gathered for the evening to explore the results of this year's Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey and discuss the key issues facing CIOs in the region.

A diverse and experienced panel made up of Andre Blumberg, Director of IT, CLP Hong Kong, John Brisco, CIO & COO, Manulife Asia, and Robyn Randell, VP for IT, Burberry APAC took to the stage to discuss pressing issues for those in the CIO role including skills shortages, digital disruption, innovation and cybersecurity.

The evening was kicked off by Nick Marsh, Managing Director, Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC and James O'Callaghan, Partner CIO Advisory, KPMG, who shared some of major global findings of the 2016 CIO Survey. The results paint a picture of just how radically the world is changing, and how quickly CIOs have to adapt and respond.

The rise of digital is having a dramatic impact on organisations, described by many as the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution'. CIOs are becoming central to corporate thinking, with 34 per cent now reporting directly to the CIO, up 10 per cent on last year, and 57 per cent sitting on executive boards, the highest proportion in the history of the survey. Nick Marsh explained that the CIO role is evolving to that of transformational business leader, technology strategist and business model innovator.

James O'Callaghan felt that whilst 2015 was all about disruption for CIOs, 2016 is focused on innovation. CIOs are faced with a choice - to drive innovation or build a business on fast following, but they cannot afford to stand still. Whilst nearly 70 per cent of organisations are already focusing on innovation, or planning to do so, 59 per cent of CIOs felt they did not have the right resources or investment to drive innovation. For the majority of CIOs, it is about finding the right people and building the right teams to support innovation.

The keynote speaker, Ir Allen Yeung, CIO, Hong Kong Government, shared his insights on the opportunities for Hong Kong talent in a digital future. He called on businesses and CIOs in Hong Kong to help drive the development of IT talent by offering more internships and industry-led IT training, and to make it clear that the future is bright for those in the industry.

Mr Yeung's presentation also highlighted:

  • The CIO role is changing, from managing back office functions, to becoming a strategic leader and innovator
  • Disruptive technologies like Big Data, Cloud and Cybersecurity are driving new IT careers and skills
  • Salaries of ICT graduates are growing, but the industry is still struggling to attract the best talent
  • The government's IT Programme is expecting to help 9,500 students improve their IT skills through a variety of activities and workshops in 2016

Following Mr Yeung's presentation, panellists were asked a series of questions by Angie Lau, TV Anchor for Bloomberg Asia, about their experiences leading IT organisations.

The discussion was focused around some central talking points:

Impact of digital
Robyn Randell highlighted the importance of getting digital buy-in from the wider organisation, particularly as digital now touches all parts of Burberry's business. With customers expecting a super-fast, high quality experience, it is up to her team to respond and deliver digital services wherever the customer needs them.

John Brisco explained that customer experience in the life insurance sector has traditionally been poor and that Manulife needed to embrace digital to become a customer first organisation. He focused his team on delivering 'moments of magic' for the consumer - integrating technology seamlessly into their lives to deliver a better experience. This included enabling customers to purchase insurance and make claims on the apps they already use, such as WeChat and Line.

Tech talent
All panellists felt that there is a shortage of talent in the IT sector. Andre Blumberg shared that, after looking for a head of cybersecurity for almost 16 months, CLP decided to change its approach and look internally. In the end they identified a member of the engineering team and supported them with cybersecurity training to make them ready for the role.

Robyn Randell explained the importance of looking for talent in other sectors when building an IT team, stating that Burberry looks for candidates that can demonstrate the ability to challenge, innovate and always keep the customer top of mind - stellar communication skills are essential. Andre Blumberg also pointed to the importance of diversity in supporting better ideas and innovation.

Changing IT processes
John Brisco urged CIOs to think differently about their approach to IT and to make sure they constantly look at the market, taking inspiration from others, and challenge the business to embrace change. Robyn Randell highlighted the importance of re-prioritising the role of IT. She has repositioned her team away from merely fixing computers or replacing keyboards, and ensured they are central to store performance, integral to the sales team and the touchpoints where customers interact with their systems.

Cyber security
Each and every speaker highlighted the growing importance of the cybersecurity role, explaining that attacks have come as a result of both external and internal threats. Whilst many are setup for the former, resolving the latter has meant better security training and creating an open dialogue with employees so they feel they can ask questions about how their behaviour impacts wider enterprise security.

The 2016 CIO Survey events are taking place across the region. For more information about the survey, or to register for an event, please visit We will be kicking off the next survey programme in February 2017.

To get involved in the Hong Kong Government's initiative to support IT's bright future, please contact for more information.


About the Survey
The 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents. The survey of 3,352 CIOs and technology leaders was conducted between December 12, 2015 and April 10, 2016, across 82 countries.

Posted on September 15, 2016 12:16 PM |