After weeks of anticipation and excitement, the CIO Circle of Excellence Awards, in partnership with Cisco, were finally revealed on July 16, 2021. CIOs have been at the frontline of the ongoing pandemic, leveraging digital transformation to ensure business continuity amid disruptions. These awards proved a great initiative to recognise and celebrate these visionary CIOs for their exceptional contribution to the adoption and acceleration of transformative technologies; from networking, security, and collaboration to multi-cloud.
Resilience in focus
Digital transformation has been the most promising solution to the challenges thrown by the pandemic over the last 15 months. Organisations and business leaders alike have been innovating ways to digitise their processes to build seamless operations in the work from home era. From education to insurance, there hasn’t been an industry left untouched by the need for an accelerated digital revolution to stay afloat. Keeping the pressing need for businesses to create sustainable, tech-driven, and future-proof businesses, the focus of this year’s CIO Circle of Excellence Awards was resilience.
Mark Phibbs, VP Marketing Insights and Analytics & APJC Marketing, CISCO in his opening note at the event emphasised the ongoing need for digital transformation for businesses to survive and thrive. He pointed out four key priorities that every CIO needs to focus on to succeed: reimagining applications, team empowerment, infrastructure transformation, and data security.
Ensuring business resilience during the pandemic
The felicitation event was preceded by a panel discussion where CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan, in conversation with the jury members, uncovered various aspects of business resilience. The discussion was centred on the extraordinary contribution made by technology leaders in fighting the odds and ensuring continuity through the past year and a half into the pandemic. The panel included jury members from across different regions and together, they explored how the rapid adoption of technology helped organisations adapt to the transformative change without witnessing any significant business disruption.
Talking about different phases of the pandemic concerning business continuity, Viswanathan Iyer, VP of Architectures, Cisco (Asia Pacific & Japan), said, “This is the most exciting phase of the pandemic because organisations are realising that technology has become the backbone of a business. But moving forward, it needs to become the differentiator for their business. We are seeing this permeate in every industry, every business, and that I feel is how we can evaluate how organisations are navigating through the pandemic.”
Moving forward from a frenetic rush for adopting technology to using it for securing and future-proofing organisations from any similar situation, we have entered a new phase. The ongoing phase will be all about setting up strategies to redefine how businesses will pick up from here. Technology, in this phase, becomes the differentiator that will help achieve ongoing success.
Measuring the success of their efforts for CIOs was a major issue that came up during the pandemic; with no time for pilots and every day bringing with it different, new challenges. Things were being measured on a daily/weekly basis, since no one had a plan in place to face the unprecedented situation. Reimaging from here on took over as a way of making businesses resilient.
Talking about the key imperatives in this phase of re-imagination, Jens Peter Heuer, CIO, Hitachi - Johnson Controls (Japan) shared, “From the point of view of business continuity and crisis management, the key imperative is to address the needs of the stakeholders, both internal and external.”
The CIO Circle of Excellence Awards 2021 and its winners
Over 150 competitive entries were received for the awards from across APJC, which were shortlisted with the help by KPMG. The nominations were then reviewed by renowned jury members who picked 16 winners in three segments of the awards; Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The winners of the awards were felicitated in a virtual ceremony, powered by CNBC-TV 18 and Moneycontrol, which was attended by the jury members, the nominees, and other dignitaries from the industry.
Commenting on the most exciting aspect of judging the awards, Dr Siva Sivasubramanian, VCISO, Octopus (Australia) said, “Every response I saw was trying to build business resiliency on the fly. As the pandemic hit us, all the dreamers suddenly became action heroes. All the technocrats who acted in a matter of days to ensure continuity of operations with teams spread across geographies must be saluted.”
For overcoming the struggles of adapting the new normal to making decisions to outsmart competition using technology, Wayne Bonett (Westpac Banking Corporation, Director SecureNetwork Service), Mohd Isa Mohd Dom (Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka), Lewis Choi (VP of Digital Solutions of Thermo Fisher Scientific), Jun Hyung Noh, (CEO, Lotte Data Communications), Mrityunjay Verma (Global Head Business Operations, TCS), and Deepak Sarda (General Manager IT Dept, Indian Bank) received the CIO Circle of Excellence Awards in the platinum category.
Roger Sneizek (CIO, Coles Group), Pairat Nualsuwan (VP Infrastructure, PTT Global Chemical Company Ltd), Vidal Fernandes (CIO, China Light Power Holdings), Byong Sun Kim (Head of DT Infrastructure, SK Hynix) bagged the Gold category awards for quickly adapting and responding to business disruptions in the face of the pandemic.
In the Silver category, Andrew Cresp (CIO, Bendigo Adelaide Bank), Datuk Fazil Ibrahim (CIO, Tenaga Nasional Berhad), Biswa Misra (Group CTC for AIA Group), Jin Kyu Lee (CIO, LG Display) won the awards for ensuring a smooth transition to the new normal and future-proofing their businesses.
By felicitating these CIOs who have demonstrated grit and resilience by quickly adapting and responding to the business disruptions in the face of the pandemic, Cisco has once again reiterated its commitment to innovation and tech leadership. Helping enterprises build resilience with an adaptive, and transformative infrastructure, the organisation has been aiding businesses with its top-of-the-line innovations to keep them moving forward and upward.This is partnered post.