Intelligent CIO APAC Issue 01 | Page 80

GET TO KNOW coupled with the contribution we are making to the broader community. What do you think is the current hot technology talking point? Hyper-automation is a topic that is raised with many of our customers right now. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are now being used to simplify operations (not just tasks) in ways that are far more impactful than conventional automation capabilities. These new technologies ultimately make processes and operations run on their own. Hyperautomation involves a combination of tools to help simulate aspects of where the person is engaged in a job. It takes work management to another stage, as hyper-automation understands the range of tasks that can be automated, what’s required to put this into action and how individual elements of the activity should work together to achieve the desired outcome. Whether it’s by managing contracts or fixing IT failings, hyper-automation frees up valuable time for people across the organisation, enabling them to focus on other business-critical tasks. How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office? To unwind, I like to be in the great outdoors as much as I can, preferably on the beach and even in winter. When I spend time in nature, it naturally calms me and gives me a feeling of inner peace. It’s always a bonus if the sun is shining for a dose of vitamin D as well because I find that sunshine is an excellent mood booster for me. Having a round of golf used to always de-stress me as well, however my game is deteriorating at a rapid rate and no doubt helping contribute to the grey hair starting to creep in. What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry? To start with, I am a big advocate that today, all companies are tech companies; and all CEOs are tech CEOs. The technology path you choose now will determine your company’s financial success. Every business, in every industry, is increasingly turning to technology-based innovation to disrupt the competitive status quo. New technologies, including AI and cloud, will open up almost limitless possibilities for transforming business processes by lowering prediction and computation costs. Lifting and shifting applications to the cloud is the major area of current investment in our industry. Migrating to the cloud reduces data storage and computation costs and it is also critical to decouple data from old legacy infrastructure. The strongest leaders in our industry see the cloud not simply as a data centre, but as a catalyst for innovation across silos and businesses. What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in the APAC region? Organisations throughout Asia Pacific are steadily moving business-critical data and workloads to cloud ERP systems, such as SYSPRO. As evidenced by the current COVID-19 crisis, real-time reporting about supply, demand and operations is absolutely critical for manufacturers. Given that ERP systems are the ‘backbone’ for manufacturers, based on the size and complexity of their global supply chains, these businesses need to ensure that the ERP system implemented has the capability to give senior management the correct (realtime) data and information to “ TO UNWIND, I LIKE TO BE IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS AS MUCH AS I CAN, PREFERABLY ON THE BEACH AND EVEN IN WINTER. assist them to anticipate other challenges they may face, to avoid costly delays or disruptions to their operations. One of the biggest challenges of doing business in APAC is the diversity and complexity of all of the countries in the region. Given the diversity of data protection and privacy laws in the Asia-Pacific region and the consequences from violating such laws, companies must always consider developing a strategy to manage data risks. What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months? My role was originally to head up the Australasian region for SYSPRO as the CEO. Within nine months of commencing, my role was expanded to head up the entire APAC region as CEO. This involved the realignment of the business to ensure that it was on track with global priorities and goals. Over the next 12 months, I will look at how the businesses can continue to create operational efficiencies and thereby establish new structures for growth across the APAC region. APAC is a dynamic market to operate in as it has some of the most advanced manufacturing systems in the world. Ultimately our customers and partners are central to the success of our business and they will remain key to my operational realignment priorities and therefore SYSPRO’s ongoing success. • 80 INTELLIGENTCIO