CIO Summit: Global business


Panelists: Ed Anderson, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Peace Corps; Bob Greenberg, former Chief Information Officer, Nissan USA; John Stevenson, former Chief Information Officer of Sharp Electronics, President of JG Stevenson Associates; Di "Bruce" Sun, Chief Information Officer, Shenzhen Development Bank; Huan Wu, Chief Information Officer, D.Phone Company


[Remarks are paraphrased]

Question: Is there an IT talent shortage in China? Do you go global to hire?

Sun: Yes. US a good environment for IT people. A lot of professionals would like to move to China, at least big cities, work environment OK. Language and communication still a problem. Younger Chinese speaking more English. Living environment, quality, services are attractive there. More and more American professionals will follow Hong Kong and Taiwan professionals to China.

WTO rules make it easier to put outsourcing sites in China rather than North Dakota or North Carolina. China has become more competitive vis a vis India and US.

Wu: In house, we are still local and work on core business process. And salaries are high.

Greenberg: Cost pressures hitting Indian companies, looking to hire in other countries, build in South America, China. US companies push back on intellectual property and ownership. How Chinese companies deal with this?

Sun: Chinese companies realizing that infringing on IP is bad for Chinese themselves.

Question for Anderson, how do you staff globally?

Anderson: We look for local talent. Try to hire someone who speaks the local language and ways of doing business, with IT skills and ability to do training, vendor negotiation. Likely to bring people from a region into US to support their home region, just brought a guy from Samoa in to support Pacific islands.

Question: How do you keep vision and communications intact?

Anderson: Web communications of schedules, issues, vision. WebEx, Sharepoint. Every third year, we refresh the world from hardware and software perspective, now refreshing inter-Americas, bring staff to DC for 10 days of training and face time.

Question for Greenberg: How to manage with global outsourcing?

Greenberg: Moved from single source to multisource, added to cascading governing process, daily updates and regular management meetings, vendor management contracts with SLAs, contracts have to be flexible to reflect environments that change over time. Develop relationships with vendors. Rotate people from offshore and rotate through US, and vice versa. I'd spend time with IBM in Brazil, doing account review. A constant process.

Question: New markets for talent and outsourcing?

Stevenson: Rim countries, Thailand Malaysia etc. South America. Looking for regional providers, or global centers for US and European companies. Need to consider why you are sourcing, economics quality or capability?

Question: CIO skills need for global markets?

Greenberg: Start with basic business skills, ability to analyze complex environments. Understanding of managing on global basis, understand many cultures -- innate, interpersonal flexibility.

Sun: We use simultaneous translation for a lot of business to overcome language barriers. CIO is a new job in China. You have to think big, have big vision, keep at strategic level -- bottom line, efficiency, and more importantly alignment with strategy -- and be salesmen, sell project ideas to board, regulators.


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