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Tech Lead Journal

66 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


#32 - CIO Leadership Lessons from Singapore's First CIO - Alex Siow

“The CIO is a person who uses IT to facilitate and enable a company so that it becomes more competitive, and it becomes more profitable."

Alex Siow is currently a Professor in the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Director of NUS’s Advanced Computing for Executives. With a career that spans over four decades, Alex Siow is well-known as Singapore’s first CIO in the 1990s. He recently published a book, “Leading with IT: Lessons from Singapore’s First CIO”, which is written for the next generation of CIOs, CTOs, and other executives who work closely with technology that offers practical tips, case studies, and personal insights that shed light on the central competencies required of CIOs.

In this episode, Alex shared with me his insights on the important role of a CIO, the traits of a good CIO, and how a CIO manages priority, risk and governance. Alex also shared with me his inspiring leadership philosophy and the true essence of servant leadership. Towards the end, Alex shared his views on the future of technology and remote working.

Listen out for:

  • Career Journey - [00:04:52]
  • “Leading with IT“ Book - [00:09:43]
  • Role of CIO - [00:12:57]
  • CIO and Other Title Variants - [00:14:46]
  • CIO’s Job of Supporting the Business - [00:16:50]
  • Good CIO Traits - [00:18:41]
  • Aligning Business Vision, Mission, and Values - [00:21:48]
  • Keeping Up With Technologies and Talents - [00:24:49]
  • CIO Time Organization - [00:28:47]
  • On Prioritization - [00:32:13]
  • Managing Governance - [00:33:51]
  • Outsourcing - [00:36:35]
  • On Grooming Technical Leadership - [00:39:49]
  • Leadership Philosophy - [00:42:24]
  • Servant Leadership - [00:44:07]
  • Future of Technology - [00:45:04]
  • Remote Work - [00:48:44]
  • 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:50:31]


Alex Siow’s Bio
Prof Alex Siow is currently Professor (Practice) in the School of Computing, NUS and concurrently Director of the Advanced Computing for Executives Centre, the Strategic Technology Management Institute (STMI) and the Centre for Health Informatics.

Prof Alex’s expertise is in IT Governance, Project and Portfolio Management, Enterprise Risk Management, Management of Emerging Technology, Technology Roadmap Planning and Cloud Security.

Alex recently published a best-selling book, “Leading with IT: Lessons from Singapore’s First CIO”, which was released in January 2021 by John Wiley and Sons.

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