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Tech Lead Journal

67 EpisodesProduced by Henry SuryawirawanWebsite

Great technical leadership requires more than just great coding skills. It requires a variety of other skills that are not well-defined, and they are not something that we can fully learn in any school or book. Hear from experienced technical leaders sharing their journey and philosophy for building… read more


#14 - Founding Microsoft Office 365 & Digital Transformation - Richard Koh

“Organizations should never set up a central digital transformation office. It should be owned by everybody in the organization. It’s not a CIO’s job. It’s the CEO’s job."

Richard Koh is the CTO of Microsoft Singapore who played a major part in the Office 365 founding team. In this episode, I had an inspiring discussion with him around his journey founding the Office 365, the challenges he faced, and on how to approach digital transformation adoption. Our conversation started with some interesting observations on how organizations in Singapore are adapting to the COVID-19 impact, followed by the unique organizational structure Microsoft has in regional aspects and the regional CTO scope in decision making and shaping of Microsoft’s product and culture.

Richard also shares how the Office 365 team was structured to instil an independent yet collaborative environment, his viewpoints about technical product management and the importance of cloud technologies. Busting the myths of digital transformation, he provided some advice about how organizations should approach it. Last, Richard also shared about his external contributions to the community, including SGTech and some wisdom on continuous learning with a growth mindset.

Listen out for:

  • Impact of COVID - [00:05:59]
  • Richard’s career journey - [00:07:56]
  • Microsoft’s unique regional CTO structure & scope - [00:10:09]
  • The region macro trends - [00:13:43]
  • Founding Office 365 - [00:15:58]
  • The art of Product Management - [00:24:09]
  • Building Office 365 - [00:26:26]
  • Importance of cloud - [00:30:06]
  • Digital transformation adoption - [00:35:02]
  • Community contributions and other interests - [00:40:34]
  • Responsibility Tech - [00:45:01]
  • Richard’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:46:45]


Richard Koh’s Bio

Richard Koh is the CTO of Microsoft Singapore. In this role, he is responsible for engaging with key executive leaders across government, industry and academia; bringing in the macro technology landscape; and helping customers leverage technology innovations for their digital transformation. His focus areas include guiding technology policies, standards, legal and regulatory matters, as well as security, privacy and compliance decisions. Richard was part of the founding product team for Microsoft’s flagship productivity cloud services suite – Office 365.

Follow Richard:

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This episode is brought to you by JetBrains.
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