What would you like to be remembered for?
You know, I don't expect to be personally remembered for anything in particular beyond one generation. In my career, I've focused on Fun, Fortune, and Fame, in that order. So, since I've not spent much time working on Fame, I doubt that I'll be 'known' for anything down the line.
But I would be very happy if, on my deathbed (choi choi, as we say in Singapore), I could say that I've caused ripples all around me, and that those ripples have had positive impact on many, many people.
What emerging ICT trends are you currently watching closely?
Actually, although I am in the ICT part of the industry, I'm personally more interested in business-side cost-model innovation.
I think that the interaction of legitimate regulatory requirements, new technologies, and a protracted lethargic macro-economic environment means that the cost models that have formed the bedrock of the FSI space for the last 20 or 30 years, have become anachronistic.
I think that in the next 15 years, we will see a return to Prahalad & Hamel-style core competency focus. Processes and infrastructure that are not part of the core value proposition that financial services institutions use to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, will need to be shed. For example, when a big bank goes to a client and tries to convince her to move from a competitor, the six sigma efficiency level of their AML/KYC processes or Swift payment infrastructure simply never comes up. We do not compete on these things. Yet they are expensive to maintain. This, to me, is an obvious opportunity to change.
However, I don't see a continuation of the Outsourcing of the nineties and noughties either. Instead, there will be a new ecosystem-oriented operating model that will look more like Toyota, Amazon or Dell. And there will be new post-ITIL governance paradigms and new technologies like Cloud that will serve as enablers. So when I look at ICT trends, my focus is more on what the technology will do for the business rather than the technology itself.
That said, if you force me to answer the question asked, Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data are all great topics to geek out about as a technology strategist.
Where to next in your career?
Well, I definitely have another decade of doing what I am doing now. If all goes well, I can continue my work at UBS, and hopefully grow my scope to cover even larger global portfolios.
At the same time, I'll continue to support my active portfolio investments, act as a mentor and coach for regional budding entrepreneurs, and continue to teach at NUS and Thammasat University in Thailand, which I started last year.