The Power Of Talent

Harvey Nash / KPMG 2016 CIO Survey event: Japan's trust model is broken - security concerns paramount

Japan's CIOs prove there is a bright future for the sector but the talent potential needs to be untapped

Harvey Nash and KPMG hosted the inaugural Tokyo CIO Survey event on 16th November 2016, at the Tokyo American Club. The country'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 Liam Griffith - CIO, Standard Chartered Bank Japan, Yasufumi Hirai - Group EVP, CIO and CISO, Rakuten and Bill Peace - CIO and VP IT, Bayer, took to the stage to discuss pressing issues for those in the CIO role including skills shortages, digital disruption, innovation and cybersecurity. They were joined by the superb key note speaker and panel moderator for the event, William Saito, Special Advisor for the Cabinet Office (Government of Japan), who shared his insights on cyber security in Japan and how to create a culture of innovation.

The evening was kicked off by George Johnson, Managing Director, Harvey Nash Executive Search Japan and Nick Marsh, Managing Director, Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC who shared some of the key global findings from 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 survey's 18 year history. Nick Marsh explained that the CIO role is evolving to that of transformational business leader, technology strategist and business model innovator. 

Whilst 2015 was all about disruption, 2016 is focused on innovation. Although 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.  In Japan that figure stands at 72 per cent. For the majority of CIOs, it is about finding the right people and building the right teams to support innovation. 

Key highlights from the event

During his keynote speech William Saito highlighted the following points:
  • Tech has fundamentally changed - its implementation can make or break a company's fortunes 
  • As a result, communication has changed - traditional methods no longer apply and the model is essentially broken.  We are all hyper connected but choose to communicate only with those we know and like, leading to potential disenfranchisement (Brexit / Trump's election)
  • CAMBRIC - the mega trends contributing to the future of information technology - Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Mobility, Big Data, Robotics, Internet of Things and Cyber Security
  • Japan's ICT utilisation needs to be improved - currently a major concern for the government.  ICT needs to be seen as a competitive differentiator
  • Security drives IT, not the other way around.  We need to have confidence in our systems and cyber security needs to be a key business priority
  • CIOs in Japan have a responsibility to help drive innovation and customer engagement

Impact of digital

Liam Griffith - CIO, Standard Chartered Bank Japan, discussed how Standard Chartered Bank is focused on shaking up the banking industry, working with FinTech companies and partnering with the likes of Ripple to improve the customer experience. 

Yasufumi Hirai - Group EVP, CIO and CISO, Rakuten, highlighted the company's new operating model that was rolled out in July 2016.  For Rakuten, business innovation is driven by business architecture and tech architecture.

Bill Peace - CIO and VP IT, Bayer, discussed the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the disruption the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry is facing.  Many tech companies are entering the healthcare space and therefore retaining relevance to consumers is key.

The role of the CIO has changed dramatically in recent years.  As Bill commented, the role is no longer focused on back office topics but interwoven with all functions from marketing to finance to R&D, so much so the role could be renamed the Chief Innovation Officer.  New technologies such as blockchain were discussed, it's important for Japan to step up and lead in advanced technology and solution services.

Tech talent
The panellists emphasised how many organisations are focused on change management in the digital era and yet grappling with finding the right skills.  Yasufumi discussed how internationalisation is crucial to businesses success for many Japanese companies.  Liam highlighted how he believes that Japan has a wealth of untapped talent - the key to success is finding the 'diamond in the rough'.

Creating a culture of innovation
The discussion centred on the importance of monitoring what your competitors are doing, even those non-traditional competitors, the disrupters.  Bill stressed the importance of talking to peer companies - sharing innovation is integral to the development of industry sectors.  Raukuten is focused on embracing innovation as a fundamental part of the culture.  Continuous communication is required to share creativity.

Japan is emerging as a tech innovator.  People are starting to see the value of empowering themselves.  The panellists agree that Tokyo is at the embryonic stage of a start-up innovation ecosystem, but it's looking at incubators and now is a good time to be an entrepreneur or an investor.

Cyber security 
The panellists shared their security concerns and how they are tackling them - through running regular exercises and experiments to test capabilities and response rates.  Increasing risk monitoring is considered key. Raukuten employs white hat hackers internally - learnings are shared and the company supports criminal investigations.  Liam highlighted how cyber-attacks for business are "not a case of if, but when.  It's all about how quickly you can respond.  The return on investment in terms of cyber security is huge, but it's a lot like the dentist - it feels uncomfortable, but you know it's good for you."

The 2016 CIO Survey events have taken place across the globe this year.  For more information about the survey please visit We will be kicking off next year's survey programme in January 2017, please contact for more information or to get involved.


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.