The markets in Asia, particularly China, present a wealth of new business and growth opportunities for Australian organisations looking to extend their international footprint. Culturally diverse and complex, the region has a challenging legislative and political landscape but for those that can succeed, it holds huge economic rewards. It is also a market no business can afford to ignore, particularly as China continues on its path to become the number one player in the international marketplace.
So what does it take to succeed in Asia? Beyond a compelling market proposition, price point and proven demand, the IT and communications assets of an organisation are pivotal to the seamless migration to an overseas market. To do this effectively, it falls to the CIO to help facilitate this growth.
A new breed of CIO
Whether through mergers and acquisitions or solid organic growth, Australian businesses are expanding into the buoyant Asian market. These fundamental shifts in business are having a knock-on effect on the role of IT within organisations and the role of the people who lead these divisions. IT is critical to successful international expansion and, at the heart of this success, is the CIO, for whom the business landscape is changing.
Gone are the days where IT is perceived as a pure commodity. Effective IT deployment is now a critical part of almost every business growth strategy and CIOs play an important role in business management at a boardroom level.
This requires new skills and professional development and CIO’s are looking to understand how IT innovations can enable collaboration across geographies, time zones and devices under a single communications infrastructure. On top of technology leadership and expertise, CIOs have a critical role to play in navigating complex business strategies, undertaking cost benefit analyses and risk management profiles to deliver professional service excellence. One fact is clear, CIOs are a core part of the management team and have a mission critical role to play.
Facilitating international expansion
To effectively capitalise on the potential of the Asian market, organisations must find ways to consolidate their IT operations to achieve greater efficiencies around resource allocation and costs. Regardless of whether you’re in the business of providing online travel insurance quotes or selling enterprise software, customers are quick to vote on their feet and IT needs to create a seamless experience for the customers you serve and the staff you employ.
Operating from a single set of communications architectures can be an effective way of addressing these complexities as it provides a uniform tool from which to manage all IT assets. It also helps to facilitate borderless communications and seamless access to information, regardless of where an employee is based or the end-point they are using.
It is here where conversations around transitioning to the Cloud are coming in to question, with many CIO’s seeking to understand which services they should place in the Cloud, which should be kept on-premise and which to combine.
In the area of Cloud services, hybrid models are emerging that combine multiple Cloud offerings, provide more tailored services, more integrated security and better service level agreements. It is also possible to combine private Clouds and existing on-premise services, with those located in the public Cloud. The advantage is that CIO’s can then view technology investments as a stage in a progressive migration path that focuses on strategic business needs, rather than a huge upfront cost. In effect, CIOs can break down big decisions into smaller, less risky ones.
Ensuring the longevity of IT assets
Business models have to evolve to remain competitive. They must deliver services much more effectively and IT is a central component of this process, delivering services in the most technologically advanced way possible. As such, questions in the boardroom must be raised around the longevity of existing IT assets and of current IT capabilities to support business transformation.
Against this backdrop of changing attitudes towards IT, the business case boils down to efficiency of service and customer experience. Organisations that can operate more efficiently on both a human and IT level and then measure the effectiveness of these changes and benchmark success, stand to do well.
The dawn of dynamic collaboration
In today’s highly connected and competitive world, being at the forefront of communication is one of the most critical factors for business success, especially when operating in an international marketplace.
Successful business transformation requires an increased focus on IT to enable businesses to adapt to market changes and reduce operational costs. So in a climate where the next change is around the corner and the pace of technological change shows no signs of abating, businesses must react quickly or risk falling behind the competition — a fate no organisation wishes to fall victim to.
Paul Migliorini, managing director, BT Australasia, discusses the transformational role of the CIO and why a centralised IT infrastructure is essential to successful expansion into the Asia Pacific market.
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