ConnectGov Seeks To Network Asia’s Tech Leaders

by Swaminathan Balasubramanian    Jul 12, 2016

P. RamakrishnaConnectGov, a two-day knowledge sharing platform exclusively for CIOs of Asia, is holding its annual summit at Bhutan later this month. Organized by the CIO Academy of Asia, the summit would bring together past and present CIOs on a platform to discuss technology-led challenges to business. The organizers have already received confirmations from 100 participants and are going ahead with plans to create break-out sessions that could benefit specific industry verticals. In a brief chat with CXOToday, P. Ramakrishna, the Deputy CEO of the CIO Asia Academy, discusses the event, the growing need for networking amongst CIOs and the challenges faced by them across Asia. 

What is the main purpose behind creating an academy for C-Suite executives across Asia? 

In the current scenario of Digital tsunami and disruption, nothing can be taken for certain anymore. The only certainty is change. Where hard work and experience used to be good enough to forge ahead in the past, today,  the game has changed due to the constant state of flux in the market. Continuous innovation and transformation is required to stay relevant – not just professionally but also at a personal level. The organization that we are pioneering is one where C-Suite professionals can huddle and share their challenges and successes across technology and its implementation. At all our events, we create opportunities for CXOs to share their experiences with peers in an atmosphere of mutual trust. We have a large community of tech leaders across Asia who find this effort useful. 

In what ways do you believe that your forum is different from others that exist in the industry?

Our platform is a sort of building block for such collaborations across both small and medium enterprises as well as technology start-ups. These two groups can come together to building solutions for problems that may exist. Actually, there aren’t many forums that focus where CIOs can come and share case studies and build solutions via disruptive technologies. This is so for both public and private sectors. And, this is what makes our group a rather unique one as our members pan across different industry verticals as well as governments across Asia. 

How would you compare the CIOs across Asia with those across the rest of the world? 

The challenges related to digital transformation journeys are pretty similar for CIOs across the world. Their response to challenges may differ based on the local cultural mindsets as well as differing digital maturity backgrounds. This is where the CIO Academy’s offerings is seeking to make a difference. We have created a platform where CIOs can share and accelerate their learning curve. 

According to you, what are the key challenges faced by CIOs, with specific focus on the Asian region? 

The pace of change in technology has become very fast. Since none of us can be immune to this change, we have to be prepared for it all the time so that you are always in control. While technology has brought about great advancements in terms of connectivity besides helping accelerate global business lifecycles, the pace of such change favors the young – those we call the millennials or the digital natives. Therefore, the older CIOs need to constantly reinvent themselves to retain their relevance. The CIOs are getting younger and many leap-frog to these positions without having to go through the process of rising-through-the-ranks. 

A second challenge relates to coping with the pace of disruption fuelled by the emergent technologies. Many struggle to stand on their feet and require support from their peers. The role of the CIO is also getting complex. They need to be part of the strategy team and raise technology-related challenges. They have to communicate well so that those who spend money on technology get a better understanding of the issues and be able to connect technology investments with their organization’s business proposition. 

These are all global phenomenas and Asian CIOs aren’t immune to such challenges. As I said earlier, the only difference is that their responses are mostly influenced by the local cultural mindsets as well as differing digital maturity levels. 

Can you give us some details about your event? You have called it ConnectGov. How does it work?

Our Group has over-achieved our target of attracting 80 technology leaders to the forum. We will have around 100 representatives attending ConnectGov. We have also over-achieved in terms of country and corporate representations for the proposed summit. The two-day program would see senior leaders from Bhutan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and India attend. 

There would be representatives from government as well as industry. World Bank and Interpol would also be sending their representatives to discuss and create digital solutions for challenges that they face in their respective domains. Techology majors such as HP, RedHat, cyber security organizations like RSA, CyberArk and FireFly besides companies in verticals such as banking, logistics, healthcare and education will join. 

What are your immediate plans for the forum this year?

We are planning our next edition of ConnectGov at Myanmar next year. Details of the theme and the exact dates are likely to be announced during this summit. 

What value do you bring for the sponsors?

Our members have held positions as technology leaders and innovators in our previous professional capacities with both private and public sector. We have a combined experience in excess of 50 years. So, we have built long-lasting relationships that we get via the CIO Academy Asia. In the networking sessions, we encourage sharing of practical insights on the use of technology and catalyze collaborations that go beyond just thought-leadership events. It extends to our partner ecosystem that mostly belong to the sponsor community. 

Can you throw some light on upcoming events?

ConnectGov 2016 is a very exciting 2-day summit. We also have events such as Executive Luncheons on niche technology topics, Digital Transformation Executive Workshops and many more closed-door sessions with shortlisted summit speakers. In addition to this event, we have also lined up a series of Executive Workshops with well-established global universities, a series called the Distinguished CEO Luncheons, an IT Value Management workshop, Cybersecurity events and overseas retreats for our members.