The PIKOM CIO Chapter

When the National ICT Association (PIKOM) began its CIO Chapter six years ago, it was to represent the IT user communities in the local industry. Current CIO Chapter chairman, Hood Abu Bakar, who is also Group CIO of the Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Group said, “PIKOM realised the fact that they represented the technology vendors, and they wanted us to be the voice of IT users.”

“(Members) do not represent their company per se, but they represent themselves as the IT head of that organisation,” Hood explained, adding that this leads to more freedom of expression by members.

The objective of the Chapter, in a nutshell, is for its members to share information and knowledge with one another, and they certainly haven’t held back using technology to do so.
Popular messaging service, WhatsApp, is one way these CIOs keep in touch and share information with each other; there is a total of six chat groups at the moment.

There are also annual 8 day-trips abroad that promotes a spirit of camaraderie amongst these IT folks and allow them to engage different tech vendors all at the same time.

However, it is the forums that are turning out to be the most effective way of knowledge sharing, according to Hood who said, “Nothing beats face-to-face communication.”

Strength in numbers
Having IT leaders of some of the largest enterprises in Malaysia, as members of the CIO Chapter led to a few significant outcomes, no doubt. One third of members are from the financial services industry, one of the few industries that spends a lot on information technology in Malaysia, at the moment.

These folks, all movers and shakers in their own right, command IT spending amounting to millions of Ringgit, each.

“We wanted CIOs to represent the user group, but who are also substantial enough so vendors would listen to us as a group,” said Hood. He added, “Quite frankly we wanted CIOs of fairly large organisations, who can influence the community and the industry as a whole.”

These CIOs also have enough pull for example, to break the stranglehold or ‘monopoly’ of certain vendors or technologies, and let smaller brands or emerging technologies gain some visibility in the market.

Solid state disk (SSD), for example.

Hood said, “SSD is mostly known as a storage technology for PCs.

“But, we know there is opportunity to use it (in the enterprise), and during the last CIO Chapter trip abroad to Korea, we engaged a vendor and tried to ascertain SSD’s cost effectiveness for implementation in our respective organisations.”

Best of all perhaps, it becomes less of a gamble for a CIO whenever he or she adopt a new IT platform, because of the reference points he or she can get from others in similar shoes.

Hood concluded with a message for his fellow CIOs: “You have to see how you can add value to your organisation. Join us and learn from others as well.

“Knowledge shared, is knowledge gained.”


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