MTR Corporation: Business-Driven IT Strategies
Daniel Lai, a speaker at the marcus evans CIO Asia Summit 2010,shares his IT and business alignment
CIO Asia Summit 2010
September 08, 2010 10:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time
MACAO, China--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--
CIO Asia Summit 2010
Macao, China, 18 - 20 October
Interview with: Daniel Lai, Head of IT, MTR Corporation - Hong Kong
Information technology (IT) leaders should be creating business-driven strategies to support the business, instead of
strategies driven by technology, says Daniel Lai, Head of IT at MTR Corporation in Hong Kong. IT needs to be
aligned to the business, which is a challenge that may be solved by creating new business models. A speaker at the
marcus evans CIO Asia Summit 2010 taking place in Macao, China, 18 - 20 October, Lai talks about adopting
business-driven technologies, the roles that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) need to juggle and innovating IT.
What should CIOs make other executives aware of?
Daniel Lai: “Whether we are experiencing good times or bad times, IT needs to play a role where it can be adopted
to enable and support the business. IT should not create technology-driven strategies; strategies need to be business-
driven and IT must be developed around common objectives that demonstrate success.
There are various roles that the CIO needs to take; one that requires full exploration and assessment role, another
may involve marketing and selling of new concepts and technologies, and one of adopting and developing sub-
technologies to support the business.”
What initiatives to improve IT productivity and efficiency would you recommend?
Daniel Lai: “Do more with less. One strategy could be to see if non-core functions within IT can be outsourced for
better quality and cost effectiveness. CIOs should look at improving IT continuously; techniques such as Six Sigma
or the IT Infrastructure Library enhance IT efficiency and various other operations. CIOs should also look at
standardising IT and consider virtualisation.”
How can IT be more innovative?
Daniel Lai: “Innovation is not about creating new technology; it is about creating new business models and solutions
with our imagination. For example, companies can buy a certain technology and transform it into a solution that
supports the business in an innovative way.
Aligning IT and business is a challenge, which can be solved by creating new business models. Reducing time to
market is difficult, but there are technologies which can deliver solutions rapidly. There is not a single cure-all for the
wide spectrum of business challenges, but technology could be more innovative in coming up with solutions for the
What trends do you expect to play out in the near future?
Daniel Lai: “Cloud Computing is certainly a hot topic, and more services should be offered using this as a platform
and software as a service. Time to market can be shortened by introducing new services, and there is the
opportunity to deal with capital and asset protection. Virtualisation can also save energy, reduce costs, power and
CO2 emissions. CIOs ought to look out for new technologies and determine the crucial ones to implement within the
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