Interview – Jon Milford – Riverbed Technology

Jon Milford is Leading a Center of Excellence of specialised Sales Engineers & developing new strategy / programs / processes to accelerate ramp to market for Next-Gen Networking (SD-WAN, SD-LAN, SD-EDGE), Digital Experience Management (End User, Network, App) and WANOP-SaaS Acceleration.

Previously focused on Cisco Business Development for Multiple Architectures & Verticals (Enterprise Networking, Collaboration, Data Center, Security, Commercial, Meraki) in various Regions (APJ, EMEAR and Global)

While at HP for 5 years his roles included Product Management and Channel Development for Enterprise Servers and Storage, focused on portfolio growth and competitive acquisition.

Q. Who are Riverbed Technology and where do they position themselves in the Malaysian market?

A. Riverbed helps organizations maximize digital performance so that they can deliver more compelling user experiences and drive positive business outcomes. We do this through the Riverbed Digital Performance Platform – a powerful combination of Digital Experience Management (DEM) and Next-Generation Infrastructure solutions.

Our DEM offering helps an organization see what’s happening across networks, apps, infrastructure and end user devices and delivers business-relevant insight that empower organizations to proactively measure, assess, and improve digital experiences. The result: higher levels of user satisfaction and faster innovation. Our Next-Generation Infrastructure offering includes capabilities like SD-WAN and application and cloud acceleration, which enable organizations to move faster and more securely by making distributed IT more efficient and providing greater agility and performance to deliver better customer, partner and employee experiences.

Q. What differentiates Riverbed Technology’s range of services to other suppliers within their field?

A. We’re the only vendor in the market that brings these capabilities together (DEM + Next-Gen Infrastructure) to help organizations measure, manage and enhance digital experiences.

Q. What does Riverbed Technology see as some of the key challenges facing senior IT executives within their space?

A. Nearly 2 billion humans in Asia-Pacific are digitally connected. Billions of dollars are being spent on digital transformation. The stakes for IT leaders have never been higher. Performance is critical and user expectations are higher than ever. If digital services crash, are slow or don’t satisfy user expectations then customers leave, orders aren’t fulfilled, employee productivity is impacted, projects are delayed (or fail altogether), and the business suffers. However, what we’re hearing time and time again in our conversations with senior IT leaders in Malaysia, is that they’re struggling to progress on their digital journey for three key reasons: One, limited budget. Two, limited visibility into the user experience – they have no way to measure success of digital initiatives, or to see how actual humans are experiencing new apps and services. And three, legacy network infrastructure is holding them back. It makes sense – they were built long before the cloud was formed. For digital technology to reach its full potential, we need to be able to measure, manage and enhance what matters most – the experience of humans: employees, customers, citizens, etc. This is exactly what we do at Riverbed.

Q. Can you share some examples of how you’re helping actual customers improve digital performance?

A. Absolutely. What’s important to remember is that behind every digital experience is a human one – a citizen, an employee, a client, a patient, a customer. What’s exciting to me is that the work we’re doing is about more than just making apps go faster, making connectivity reliable and secure or understanding where the problems are we need to fix. It’s about helping companies boost digital performance so that they can advance the human experience. For example: Maersk is using Riverbed’s DEM solutions as a key part of their digital journey, measuring customer experience on apps used to pay for and track shipping containers, enhancing the global supply chain experience. Five years ago, 20% of Maersk’s revenue was digital, and today it is over 90%. POS Malaysia is using Riverbed’s DEM solutions as part of a nation-wide digital transformation project which, at its core, is about transforming the experience for increasingly digitally-savvy customers. As they continue down the path of rapid innovation, our technology allows them to measure the impact of IT change on the infrastructure and the end user to mitigate risk and ensure amazing performance. Philippines based microfinance organization, Negros Women for Technology Foundation, Inc. (NWTF), uses Riverbed SD-WAN and app acceleration to bring microfinancing and developmental services to marginalized urban and rural women of the Central Philippines. IT transformation has enabled NWTF to open branches in remote areas with limited connectivity and provide digital services on par with commercialized banks. With every branch opened, NWTF is able to help more women move out of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.

Q. What does the future look like for an organisation looking to work with Riverbed Technology?

A. We worked with many of our customers since our early days of pioneering WAN optimisation. That was more than 15 years ago. So many of those customers – 30,000 globally in fact – are with us today because of the innovation we’re leading. We believe we’re delivering the right technology at the right time. We’re skating to where the puck is going with a laser focus on what will matter most for decades to come: advancing the human experience.

Interview – Syed Ahmad Nazri Sheik Nor – HRSB Holdings

Syed Ahmad Nazri Bin Sheik Nor is a young IT leader in HRSB Holdings Sdn. Bhd. and has more than 5 years of experience in the IT field. He got started in the company in January 2019 as an IT Executive and his .role is to transform the company towards Digital Transformation. Alongside, Syed has developed several services and systems such as File Server, Virtual Private Network (connecting all branches network), a new firewall system, multi-wan solution, new network infrastructure, a new modular website, new online assets management and he is doing all these alone in a 3 month period and was promoted as Head of IT at the end of  March, 2019.

Previously, in 2013, Syed was a top 10 finalists from 1000 participants for the Malaysian Skills Competition 2013 in IT Network System Administration (now known as WorldSkills Malaysia Belia) which is a skill competition held annually aimed at recognizing trainees and skilled workers with superior skills.

 Q. What do you feel are the biggest challenges IT leaders are currently faced with within their business?

A: I feel the biggest challenge IT leaders are faced in their business is Data Management from external and internal cyber threats and to inform all employees about cyber awareness.

Q. As an IT leader, what do you feel businesses continue to get wrong when it comes to their marketing strategy?

A: From my perspective, I feel that the lack of use of the latest marketing technologies to analyze data from analytics will make business marketing go backward.

Q. What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?

A. My prediction of the future that will be surfacing on the market is:

– IoT Products that automate the process of many things around us.

– Rise of modular products such as desktop or smartphone.

– Cloud-Based Operating System.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

A: The best piece of advice I’ve received within my job is from my Executive Chairman himself who gave me this quote from Steve Jobs” It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do, we hire smart people so they can tell us what to ”

Interview with Kurt Bergmans from BP

Kurt Bergmans is a senior executive with over 20 years in international IT management and roles ranging from COO to global programme director and currently Head of global IT Service Operations at BP.

Kurt has a successful track record in managing multi-million euro IT contracts for international clients including Shell, ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes, Merck, Malaysia Airlines, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Johnson &Johnson, BASF, and Dell.

During this exclusive interview, Kurt discussed his view on the challenges facing IT Leaders today,  current industry trends and insights into successful IT strategies.

Interviewer: “What do you feel are the biggest challenges IT leaders are currently faced with within their business?” 

Kurt: “The pace at which change is happening within our industry due to new digital business models makes it very challenging for IT to keep up with digital transformation. It requires us to be fast in learning new technologies and agile in delivering new IT services and products that meet the business demand.”

Interviewer: “As an IT leader, what do you feel businesses continue to get wrong when it comes to their IT strategy?”

Kurt: “Businesses who still see IT as a cost centre will have a hard time dealing with digital transformation. IT is and should be at the core of business operations and business strategy as an enabler to transform the way your business interacts with clients and suppliers and how it brings new services to the market.”

Interviewer: “What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?

Kurt: “A hybrid between human and machine, where Artificial Intelligence and Automation will change the way employees operate. Mundane activities will be automated, and employees will be able to provide more value by using data insights and analytics.”

Interviewer: “What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

Kurt: “Get out of your comfort zone. Be eager to learn new skills and always challenge the status quo.”

Interviewer: “What is one key takeaway you hope our IT audience leaves with after hearing your presentation at the CIO Leaders Summit, Singapore?

Kurt: “Digital Transformation is about changing the culture and organisational structure. You cannot transform the organisation if you stick to old processes, tools and ways of working.”

Interview – Hor Kong – ELMLAB

Hor Kong is the Chief Technology Officer of ELMLAB.

ELMLAB group is driven by passion for technology. They provide solutions for hardware computing systems and web/mobile systems for integrated applications.

Hor’s role includes designing and reviewing the products and systems in the company and with their partners or subsidiaries, to oversee the operation methods of technology research and development. Hor has the responsibility to prevent scalability issues with hardware and software architecture, and to manage the resources for its development.

 Q. What do you feel are the biggest challenges IT leaders are currently faced with within their business?

A: For SME like us situated in a remote area, it is especially difficult to acquire talents while competing with corporates. Moreover, it is uncommon for newcomers to adapt quickly to our working culture, requiring rapid decision making based on technical or scientific research. However, I believe that even corporates in Malaysia may be struggling to build teams with strong expertise in building in-house technology to compete in the industrial revolution globally.

Q. As an IT leader, what do you feel businesses continue to get wrong when it comes to their marketing strategy?

A: Businesses in Malaysia are too focused on acquiring products with immediate returns rather than investing a good amount of time the underlying technology. A good design with a simple idea can improve efficiency and create demand, while good ideas alone may just end up as a stepping stone for others. We may have the wrong strategy when it comes to generating profit, but I believe that true value is achieved from diving into R&D, to build an ecosystem that can power the future.

Q. What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?

A. I believe we will see a wider adoption of smart infotainment systems and WAN connected machines, and a focus on information security and identity management systems for banks, institutions, corporates…etc.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

A: Not so much of an advice I have received, but an advice I made from the experiences I’ve had, applicable to today’s fast-growing world of IT: “Never let your past techniques restrict how you form the future.”

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