Low Digital Literacy Amongst Malaysian Business Leaders May Hamper Business Growth

Business leaders must embrace the true value of technology according to CA Technologies’ new global ‘The Future Role of the CIO; Digital Literacy’ report. The study reveals that 93 percent of the Malaysian CIOs interviewed believe a lack of digital literacy amongst senior executives could be hampering business growth.

Only seven percent of Thai CIOs in the study felt that their management fully understand the capabilities and impact of new and emerging technologies. This is less than half as compared to the 20 percent in Asian markets who felt the same way.

A total of nine Asian markets were involved in the global survey, including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

The study showed that while business leaders may lack digital literacy, they largely do understand the role of technology in their organizations, where about 66 percent of Malaysian CIOs in the study felt their management team consider IT to be strategically important.

CIOs fear senior-level digital illiteracy is causing a lack of market responsiveness, missed business and investment opportunities, poor competitiveness and slower time to market. Further, a third (33 percent) of the CIOs interviewed in Malaysia believe the C-suite does not understand the impact of new and emerging technologies.

“Asian business leaders today have largely accepted that IT has a role to play in enhancing the competitiveness of businesses. For IT to be truly transformational to businesses, leaders need to elevate the role of CIOs to be more strategic than operational,” said Zulklifi Md. Ghairi, Country Manager, CA-IT

The Future Role of the CIO; Digital Literacy report highlights that 75 percent of CIOs in Malaysia believe senior executives do not understand the potential of IT to grow the business, make processes more efficient and introduce greater agility and competitiveness.

As a result, it is not surprising that only 37 percent of CIOs here are involved in the strategic decision making process, impeding the digital strategic thinking of the senior leadership team.

Notably, CIOs in Malaysia feel that their conception of the CIO role does not mirror the conception of the management team. 30 percent of respondents said the definition of the CIO role in their organizations were not at all similar to the conception held by the board.

40 percent of the respondents from Malaysia felt that their organizations were not fully using IT to grow their businesses. 32 percent of these CIOs in Malaysia felt that missed business opportunities, and 55 percent cited lack of responsiveness as possible areas impacted by the low level of digital literacy amongst the management team.

(L-R:) Pierre-Francois (PF) Vilquin, Chief Technology Officer for Asia South, CA Technologies, Nutapone Apiluktoyanunt, Country Manager for Malaysia and Thailand, CA Technologies, Stephen Miles, Vice President of Service Assurance for Asia Pacific & Japan, CA Technologies, and Zulkifli Md Ghairi, Country Manager for CA IT Infrastructure Solutions Sdn Bhd.

Professor Joe Peppard, Director of the Information Systems Research Centre at Cranfield School of Management, believes senior managers must acknowledge that the value from IT comes not from technology, but from the ability to manage and exploit information. “A lot of organisations just wouldn’t be able to survive for very long without their IT systems,” says Peppard. “CIOs are transitioning into the role of brokers of IT services; they will also be orchestrators of decisions concerning the architecture of the enterprise, innovation with IT, compliance and policies, and will have closer involvement with line of business managers in realising value from their digital strategies.”

Peppard believes that by working in this way, both the IT organisation and the CIO role will evolve and be able to lead discussions and education about how they drive the business forward through IT innovation.

“CIOs are in a good position to become more involved in strategic discussions. This will enable them to demonstrate how a particular digital strategy or project can deliver value, and win the credibility to take it forward,” Peppard concluded.

“We regularly work with CIOs to help ensure they have the tools they need to communicate value effectively to the business. We see CIOs becoming more involved as a member of the business leadership team and communicating the value of technology more effectively. CIOs are much more in tune with their businesses than they were 10 or 20 years ago,” said Zulkifli. “It is only when the potential of technology is fully embraced by the management team that the CIO’s role can be transformative.”

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