In this segment of the Speaker Spotlight series, we interviewed Ts. Saiful Bakhtiar Osman, Head of IT for the APAC region at The Ascent Group, a Singapore-based independent fund administration company, as well as a CyberEdBoard executive member.
Osman has more than two decades of experience in IT security and strategy and risk management in diverse industries including fund management, oil, and gas, aviation, and banking. He is responsible for providing technology solutions, security, and support for all Ascent Fund Services offices in the Asia-Pacific region.
Digital transformation presents organizations with the opportunity to re-imagine the way their businesses are run. Here are Ts. Saiful’s insights on accelerating Digital Transformation;
- What are the core values that you can share with your audience? Why do you have that burning passion for transformation?
I’m very passionate about technology. It’s about building better tools and tools by definition help you do work. Whenever I get the opportunity to, I always learn new technologies for a competitive edge. It is exciting to discover new technologies, learn about them and implement them. It benefits our business and our lives.
I also believe that emerging technologies will make a big difference and can have many benefits — one such improvement being the boost of a nation’s economy.
- Being awarded as one of the world CIO 200 for 2 consecutive years and not all IT Leaders get a chance to have that kind of recognition for 2 years in a row. Can you share how you managed to do that? Did you aim or plan for it to get such an award?
Knowing how to set goals and achieve them is an important process. It helps us take a step back and get some perspective on what’s important in life. It’s really an honor for me to receive these awards. For the past years, I ranked as CIO75 for ASEAN in 2021, also CIO50 for the years 2019 and 2020, by the International Data Group (IDG). I also received the World CIO 200 recognition, by the Global CIO Forum, for 2 years in a row (2020 and 2021).
I started getting involved as my way of giving back to the industry, by sharing my knowledge and expertise which hopefully benefits the people, the CIOs, the head of IT, who may still be looking for direction, who are looking for ways to improve their organization, this is what I believe in.
- As an IT leader and practitioner, can you share one of the most challenging moments you had?
In 2015, I was able to become one of the pioneers of the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM), established under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015. The MAVCOM regulates economic matters relating to civil aviation, such as improvement of connectivity for promotion of trade and investment, competition in the civil aviation industry, and consumer protection matters.
Back then, MAVCOM had set the trend by being an early cloud adopter. As an independent regulatory body, we needed to set an example in terms of technology adoption for them to follow. We cannot be far behind. This is very challenging because, back then, people still hesitated to adopt the cloud.
Many are concerned that having their data moved to the cloud makes it more vulnerable to breaches and hacks. The truth, however, is that information stored in the cloud is likely to be more secure than conventionally stored.
- What is your message to all the tech leaders in the country?
Everybody knows technological innovation is reshaping the world faster than ever before. This is a very important time for all of the IT leaders to step up as traditional IT operating models are too slow to keep up with modern business demands. Nowadays, technology defines businesses. It is not just essential for day-to-day business processes, it also allows businesses to achieve growth and success when utilized effectively.
Be sure to review the agenda to learn more details about Osman’s keynote presentation and register for the event to get inside perspectives and lessons from some of the industry’s leading companies and organizations.