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APAC CIOs told to take the gloves off

IDC warns skills shortage may hold them back

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Asia Pacific CIOs had better brush up their combat skills because they’ll need to “hyper compete” in 2013 if they want to attract the best staff and innovate their way to success, according to analyst IDC.

Speaking at the Asia Pacific Summit 2012, IDC group vice president Sandra Ng argued that the region is the most competitive in the world, thanks to pressure from the emerging giant economies of China and India.

In their continued efforts to support the organisation’s strategy of attracting new customers, reducing costs, gaining a competitive edge and building customer loyalty, IT leaders need to look at the four pillars of cloud, mobility, social media and Big Data, said Ng.

“This market is a lot more competitive because of greater customer expectations, greater competition [from countries like China], and more business investment in the region,” she told The Reg.

“Because this trend will only intensify, it’s not only important to use technology more aggressively but IT leaders need to know which technologies are coming into the marketplace and then learn from what others are doing to come up with innovative uses and be disruptive.”

She gave the rather incongruous examples of a waste disposal company and a luxury fashion brand as two firms competing and winning in Asia Pac thanks to this approach.

Muck management firm Veolia has taken to using mobility technology in Singapore.

The bin-loaded sensors track and measure the volume and type of goods families are recycling so the data can then be used to generate reward vouchers and credits, explained Ng.

A nameless top European luxury fashion brand in China, meanwhile, is using digital signage and video streaming tech in innovative ways to show shoppers what various labels look like on catwalk models.

However, in this hyper-competitive environment, Asia Pacific CIOs are being held back by the lack of skilled IT professionals, warned Ng.

“IT skills shortages are becoming increasingly severe across the region,” she said. “It’s most severe in emerging markets but Hong Kong is unique [in also suffering] because the government doesn’t prioritise the technology education program.”

Cloud architects and Big Data analysts are in particularly short supply, as firms look to such technologies to spur their efforts at differentiating and attracting new customers, Ng warned.

Interestingly, Hong Kong IT pros are the least optimistic about their job prospects of all professionals in the region, according to the latest research from recruiter Michael Page.

Just nine per cent said they were optimistic about career prospects 2012/13 as a sluggish financial services sector continues to impact the tech jobs market. ®

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