President's Message to ITMA Members

Created: Tuesday, 21 November 2017 Published: Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Posted by Alvin Ong on November 21, 2017

Dear ITMA Members,

Just in case you are not aware, ITMA is a NTUC’s U Associate member since 2 December 2016 and is plugged into the ecosystem of more than 60 professional associations. As an U Associate member, ITMA members can tap into the various NTUC programmes and receive support to up-skill themselves. ITMA is also a supporting partner of the recent U Future Leaders Summit 2017 held on 10 November 2017 and has helped to create a new “Future of Digital Leadership” track for the summit.

At the summit, NTUC Secretary-General, Mr Chan Chun Sing, engaged in a lively dialogue with the 1200 delegates and discussed the triple challenges of time, money and mind-set hindering their ability to re-skill themselves for the new world of work. He postulated that the current model of education and training might take too long to prepare workers to transit into new types of jobs and pushed for a new model of just-in-time delivery of pertinent bite-size information.

As IT leaders, we should be cognizant of these trends and guide our fellow IT professionals to re-skill themselves and prepare for the new world of work. Over the next four months till our 38th AGM will be events galore for ITMA members to network and to learn. Below is a sampling of what’s to come over the next four months.

ITMA Sake Appreciation Night (30 November 2017)
All places for the ITMA Sake Appreciation Night at the Orihara Shoten Bar @ Robertson Walk has been fully subscribed. Members who are successfully registered will learn more about sake, its ingredients used and pairing with food.

ITMA Whiskey Appreciation Night @ Bistro 1855 (21 December 2017)
The upcoming ITMA Whiskey Appreciation Night @ Bistro 1855 will be co-organised with Menlo. Look out for the eDM.

Good Morning CIO Breakfast Roundtable #2 – Rosina Howe (12 January 2018)
Our next distinguished speaker for the popular Good Morning CIO Breakfast Roundtable series will be Rosina Howe, who served as ITMA President from 2005 to 2006. Rosina recently retired from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) after having served 18 years as her CIO and Group Director, Innovation and InfoComm. With her wide and deep experience in many aspects of IT management, she will be eminently qualified to speak to members on the topic “Building a High Performance IT Team - The LTA Journey”. Do expect a talk filled with stories, anecdotes and insights from a well-respected veteran CIO.

ITMA 37th Annual Dinner (26 January 2018)
The theme for ITMA’s 37th Annual Dinner will be “Groove to the Future”. To be held at the St Regis, expect to be teleported into the futuristic world and feast our eyes with the most extraordinary setting and heart-stomping performances as we glide through the future world in the night. Look out for the eDM.

Dialogue with Chairman/CEO Series - IMDA CEO Tan Kiat How (tentatively February 2018)
We are honoured that Mr Tan Kiat How, the CEO of IMDA and Chairman of the TeSA (TechSkills Accelerator) Governing Council has agreed to be our distinguished speaker for the Dialogue with the Chairman/CEO series.

Visits to National Supercomputing Centre and Apple Singapore (Tentatively in February/March 2018)
These visits are being planned for and announcements will be made once confirmed.

ITMA 38th Annual General Meeting @ Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel (28 March 2018)
At the last AGM on 28 March 2017, we invited economist Dr Tan Kee Wee to make predictions about global economic outlook in 2017. Many of you enjoyed his insightful and entertaining talk cleverly based on a Hollywood movie theme. By popular demand, we will invite Dr Tan back at our 38th AGM on 28 March 2018 to review his 2017 predictions and share with ITMA members his predictions on the economic outlook for 2018. By the way, 28 March 2018 is also the date of ITMA's 20th anniversary since its change of name from DPMA to ITMA on 28 March 1998.

31st CIO Workshop (Tentatively 15 to 18 May 2018)
Each year, ITMA and Accenture jointly organise the highly popular CIO Workshop series which comprises a local conference held in Singapore and a short 3D/2N overseas study trip within Asia. Next year, the overseas leg of the 31st CIO Workshop will likely be in Shenzhen from 16 to 18 May 2018. Shenzhen is China's answer to Silicon Valley and the hotbed of IT companies such as Huawei, Tencent and ZTE.

Concluding Remarks
Since 2016, there have been more than 70 new sign-ups for ITMA membership. I would like to thank many of you who spread the benefits of joining ITMA and referred the new members to us. Ideally, if each of us can introduce one new member to join ITMA in 2018, we would have doubled our membership size by 2019.

I would like to thank my busy and hardworking Council members for their commitment and dedication to organise the many excellent events for members. I look forward to your continued strong support at all our upcoming events. It is also the time of the year where many go on their much deserved vacations with their families. On behalf of the Council, I wish you a happy, enjoyable and safe holiday.

Alvin Ong
President, IT Management Association (ITMA)
21st November 2017

President's Message to ITMA Members

Created: Monday, 14 August 2017 Published: Monday, 14 August 2017

Posted by Alvin Ong on August 14, 2017

Dear ITMA Members,

Warmest greetings to you and I trust that you are doing well on both personal and professional fronts. I would like to provide members with a brief update of developments and upcoming events.

11th CIO Study Trip, Stockholm & Prague (2 to 10 September 2017)

In just another two weeks, 49 participants of the 11th CIO Study Trip will be in Stockholm and Prague. This year, the theme of this study trip is “Innovation in the Era of Machine Learning” and the ITMA delegation will get to visit companies such as IKEA, Electrolux, Ericsson and Avast. As usual, delegates can look forward to a great time of learning and networking. There is a group who has been working fervently for the past several months to make this study trip happen. For this, I would like to acknowledge and appreciate the CIO Study Trip Planning Committee led by Alan Goh and his team of Siew Yim Cheng, See Yoong Hwee, Glen Francis, Kwa Kim Chiong, Geraldine Pang, Clara Lee, Kevin Koh and Nancy Lee. There will be a Pre-Trip Briefing this coming Wednesday 16 August 6.30pm at the Nosh Restaurant for all delegates.

Good Morning CIO Breakfast Roundtable #1 – Wu Choy Peng (29 August 2017)

I am very pleased to have our former ITMA President, Wu Choy Peng, to be our first speaker for the Good Morning CIO Breakfast Roundtable series this term. As the former Singapore Government Chief Information Officer and also the former CIO for top local companies such as SingTel and NOL, she has a wealth of corporate and boardroom experience. Choy Peng will share her thoughts and engage members in a highly relevant topic on “CIO Leadership – Remaining Relevant in the Age of Digital Transformation”. There are still a few seats left for members, so please register as soon as possible.

ITMA Toastmasters Club – 14th Anniversary Celebration on 21 July 2017

ITMA Toastmasters Club recently celebrated its 14th anniversary on 21 July 2017 with a birthday cake and the installation of new club officers graced by the highest-ranked District 80 Officer in Singapore. The club was officially chartered on 21 July 2003 by founding members Vivienne Tan, the late Mrs Loh Beng Choo, John Seah, Prem Prakash, Leow Kee You, Ajay Gupta, Kwa Kim Chiong and myself. To cater to the global challenges of the 21st century corporate executives, Toastmasters International has recently modernised its educational program into a new “Pathways” learning experience programme that is tailored to the developmental needs of the individual. You can read about Pathways at The next monthly chapter meeting will take place on Friday 18 August 2017 6.30pm to 10pm at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital’s Learning Centre. You are most welcome to attend as an observer. Just drop an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to inform us that you would like to attend.

Co-opted Council Member – Chong Nai Min

The Council would like to welcome Chong Nai Min into the ITMA Council as our second co-opted council member this term. Nai Min is the Director of the Information Technology Group at Singapore LNG Corporation (SLNG). Prior to his current role, he was the IT Director of NTUC Unity Healthcare. He has been an active member and will be contributing in several initiatives, including ITMA Give Back and ITMA-NTUC U Associate partnership.

Concluding Remarks

This term, the ITMA Council is operationalising and executing its 5-year Masterplan. The Council had some very productive discussions regarding topics on Membership Growth Strategy, ITMA Give Back, Web & Social Media Strategy and Dialogue with the Chairman/CEO. On the membership front, I am glad to report that many new members have joined ITMA and some absent members have re-joined since May 2016. I would like to thank many of you who have recommended your peers and friends to join ITMA. Finally, on behalf of the Council, I look forward to your continued strong support at all our upcoming events.

Alvin Ong
President, IT Management Association (ITMA)
14th August 2017

President's Message to ITMA Members

Created: Wednesday, 12 April 2017 Published: Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Posted by Alvin Ong on April 11, 2017

Dear ITMA Members,
Appreciation to Outgoing Council Members
My warmest greetings to everyone in this new year! ITMA just held her 37th AGM on 28 March 2017 and a new Council for the term 2017/18 has been elected. I would like to thank outgoing Council members Ang Mui Kim, Tan Bee Teck, Kwa Kim Chiong, Eu Kwang Chin, Bruce Liang and Ramesh Narayanaswamy who had served and contributed their precious time and talent to ITMA. The Council is grateful to Vice-President Mui Kim who helmed the Professional Development portfolio for the past two years. Siew Yim Cheng has stepped up as Vice-President and will take over the Professional Development portfolio. Of special mention is Kim Chiong, also affectionately known as KC, who had served since 2002 and is the longest serving Council member in the history of ITMA. He will still be contributing as a planning committee member in the 11th CIO Study Trip committee led by Vice-President Alan Goh.
New Council Members
I would also like to welcome new Council members Mayda Lim, Clara Lee, Kendrick Lee and Alex Chan. If you recall, See Yoong Hwee was co-opted last term and has been elected as a full Council member this term. I also note that with four ladies in the new Council, we now have a better gender diversity ratio of 30-70. During the year, we hope to co-opt a few more Council members to assist in some of the planned activities and expose them to the work of ITMA.
ITMA’s Birthday
Are you aware that the date of our AGM, 28 March, also happened to be the 19th birthday of ITMA? It was on 28 March 1998 that our predecessor association, DPMA (Data Processing Management Association, formed in 1980) merged with the Singapore Information Management chapter of the Singapore Computer Society to form a new association, ITMA. We took the opportunity to celebrate our birthday at our AGM with a birthday cake bearing the ITMA logo and invited ITMA founder Professor Alex Siow and DPMA co-founder Rohan Kamis on stage to join in the cake cutting.
ITMA Masterplan
I am also glad to announce the introduction of the new “Future Ready, Value Creating Digital Leaders” programme for ITMA. This is the outcome of the inaugural ITMA 5-Year Masterplan Workshop held on 28 July 2016. It will be a blueprint for ITMA and is intended to guide our actions over the next few years. I would like to thank Honorary Secretary Mark Tham and his Accenture colleagues for working with me over the past few months to produce the excellent infographics and report. I have attached an executive summary for your reference.
Concluding Remarks
One of ITMA’s strengths is our strong network and camaraderie between members. We are more than a professional association. We are a community and a family in some ways. I am excited and confident that if we work together towards a shared vision, we can make a greater societal impact as ITMA. On behalf of the Council, I look forward to your continued strong support at all our upcoming events. Finally, I wish you and your families an amazing year ahead where nothing is impossible and possibilities become realities. 

Alvin Ong
President, IT Management Association (ITMA)
11 April 2017

President's Message to ITMA Members

Created: Tuesday, 13 June 2017 Published: Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Posted by Alvin Ong on June 13, 2017

Dear ITMA Members,

Time zooms past us very quickly and it is already slightly more than two months into the Council’s new term of office. Our plans for this term are already set in motion and I would like to provide members with a brief update of developments and upcoming events.

30th CIO Workshop – Minister’s Call for Action

The 30th CIO Workshop was a resounding success and saw a new record turnout of about 300 attendees for the conference at Raffles City Convention Centre on the first day and 84 delegates continuing on to the Shanghai site visits which featured AI, Machine Learning, Robotics and O2O technologies. Minister Chan Chun Sing was our guest-of-honour and in his conversational style, he engaged attendees in a dialogue on the topic of future work and workforce. He challenged CIOs to go beyond their traditional technical roles and instead strive to be the business strategist. The CIO must help organizations see upcoming disruptions and the need for proactive change. He ended by issuing a 3-point call for action for CIOs.

  • Be an evangelist to remind their organisations of the rapid speed of change caused by technology disruptions.
  • Partner with the CHRO to identify vanishing jobs and prepare workers for the new jobs of the future.
  • Reskill and up-skill the middle-tier workforce which forms the core backbone of Singapore’s social fabric.

11th CIO Study Trip, Stockholm & Prague (2 to 10 September 2017)

This year, our highly popular 11th CIO Study Trip will take us to visit established and start-up companies and understand technology developments and disruptions in Stockholm and Prague. Interestingly, Stockholm has the highest number of unicorns per capita than any city in the world. The online registration will commence between mid to late July 2017 and while we hope to accommodate as many members as possible, the delegation size will once again be limited to about 50 paxs due to logistical constraints imposed by the venue hosts.

23rd ITBP Seminar - Cancelled

ITMA has been holding the annual IT Best Practices (ITBP) Seminar since the mid-1990s and the conference has served its purpose well in the first two decades. Over the past five years, attendance at our ITBP has been falling. Last year, we organized the 22nd ITBP with an impressive array of speakers and panellists from industry, academia and government. To encourage members’ participation, the Council also waived the conference fee for all our members. Despite the measures, the attendance for the afternoon session fell to about half of the morning session. The Council deliberated and concluded that it is timely to do a deep dive and possibly develop a new product which is more relevant to the changing needs of our members and yet be financially sustainable. Therefore, we have decided not to hold the 23rd ITBP Seminar this year.

In its place, we will introduce the “Dialogue with the Chairman/CEO” series of talks which are more focused on a current topic of interest and allows for more in-depth interactions between our members and the speaker. Our first such event was held on 26 May 2017 on the topic of “Inspiring Innovation in the Age of Disruption” by A10 Network Founder and CEO, Dr Lee Chen. You can read a summary of the dialogue from the ITMA website. Thanks to Clara Lee and Catherine Goh for their tremendous efforts to edit the transcripts for better readability.

ITMA Toastmasters Club – President’s Distinguished Club Award

ITMA Toastmasters Club received the President’s Distinguished Club award at the annual Division U awards event on 9 June 2017. This is the highest form of international recognition given to a toastmasters club that has met its educational, membership growth and training goals. For this, I would like to congratulate former ITMA council member, Alfred Anand, on his exemplary leadership of the toastmasters club. Another ITMA member, Edwin Goh, was also elected as the next Division U Director for the new term starting 1 July 2017. My congratulations to Edwin Goh as well and I am glad that our toastmasters club has become a wellspring for developing leaders and communicators. If you wish to visit the monthly chapter meetings, it happens on every 3rd Friday of the month at 7pm at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

Co-opted Council Member – Lewis Chan

I would like to welcome Lewis Chan into the ITMA Council as a newly co-opted council member. Lewis is the Head of IT for New Creation Church and joined ITMA in 2016. He has been an active member since joining and will be helping ITMA with our website and social media strategy.

Concluding Remarks

ITMA is more than a professional association and is a community of forward looking and dynamic CIOs and digital leaders. Many of our events are of great value and well supported by members. Some of the new members that I have met recently at various events wished that they had heard of ITMA earlier. I urge all members to be our ambassadors and introduce a new person to join ITMA so that they too can benefit from being an ITMA member. On behalf of the Council, I look forward to your continued strong support at all our upcoming events.

Alvin Ong
President, IT Management Association (ITMA)
13th June 2017

President's Message to ITMA Members

Created: Friday, 23 December 2016 Published: Friday, 23 December 2016

Posted by Alvin Ong on December 23, 2016

Dear ITMA Members,

During my growing-up years, I used to frequent an emporium near a HDB flat in Queenstown where I lived. Naturally, as a child, I would gravitate towards the toys and games section of the departmental store and would spend many hours exploring. On one of my many visits, my attention was fixated on the new board games such as Othello, chess and checkers. In particular, I was intrigued by the tagline “A Minute to Learn. A Lifetime to Master” on the colourful box of the chess set. “Is it really so easy to learn but so hard to master?” I thought to myself. I felt the desire to learn the game and bought my first chess set after saving up for several weeks. Upon unpacking the box, I found the instruction manual and started to learn the rules and history of the game. Of course the tagline is not totally accurate as it definitely took me longer than one minute to learn the game.

I was blessed in that I lived next to a neighbourhood public library and in a fortuitous way, it became like my personal reference library for knowledge of all kinds and contributed to my development in chess and life. As I was determined to master the game, I would initially borrow chess books meant for beginners and intermediate players. While reading them, I was totally fascinated by the game’s very logical and yet artistic aspect (the unique way each chess piece functions and how the pieces can combine so elegantly together in the hands of a skilful chess master to deliver a coup de grace) as well as its rich heritage. Then I quickly progressed to reading advanced books written about the top grandmasters of those days and diligently studied the games of the world champions such as Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. At one stage, I had probably read every chess book in the library and hence had to visit other libraries to fulfil my quest for knowledge. I even competed in several chess tournaments and played as many blitz games as my school schedule could allow. However, as hard as I tried, I failed to master the game. There are still so many gaps in my understanding of the game and I was not entirely pleased with the outcome of some of my tournament games. I then realised that mastery is not a destination. It is not a “mountain top” moment of having arrived at the pinnacle. It is but a lifelong journey of self-awareness and continuous improvement. In essence, it truly takes a lifetime to master although true mastery could be an elusive target.

I believe the same principle applies to the mastery of the skills and competencies in our career as ICT leaders. The mastery of oneself is a lifelong effort and can only be achieved through a recognition of our individual strengths and weaknesses and taking deliberate steps to address those gaps. Hence, one of the four pillars of our ITMA Masterplan is about Advancement and Personal Mastery. We are developing a concept plan to support the continuing professional development of ICT leaders, to keep their skills continuously updated and future-ready. Some of you have asked about the outcome of the ITMA 5-Year Masterplan workshop that took place on 28th July 2016. This is still in a work-in-progress stage as the Council needs more time for in-depth discussions on priorities, resources and sustainability of the various excellent ideas before sharing with you.

Let me also provide some updates which could be of interest to you:

ITMA-NTUC U Associate Strategic Partnership

ITMA-NTUC U Associate Strategic Partnership (2nd December 2016)

I am pleased to announce that ITMA has entered in a strategic partnership with NTUC on their flagship U Associate Programme. This partnership will enable both organizations to work closely together to develop a customised programme to help ITMA members stay future-ready and also provide exciting opportunities to contribute their expertise to the society-at-large. A signing ceremony took place on the 2nd December 2016 at NTUC Centre. Minister in Prime Minister’s Office and NTUC Secretary-General, Chan Chun Sing, witnessed the MOU signing ceremony after an engaging dialogue with key council members. We took this opportunity to invite him to be the Guest-of-Honour at the upcoming ITMA-Accenture 30th CIO Workshop, tentatively scheduled to take place in May 2017. I would also like to thank Dr Kwong Yuk Wah, the CIO of NTUC, for facilitating this opportunity to collaborate with NTUC.

ITMA Toastmasters Club

Do you face stage fright whenever you have to deliver a speech to a large group? Do you wish you could deliver a more persuasive presentation at the board meeting? Do you wish you could facilitate more effective meetings? Many of us as ICT leaders do face these type of situations from time to time. Very often, how effectively we present our case can mean securing the budget, getting buy-ins from colleagues and support from bosses. Fortunately, there is a proven system to practise speaking before an audience and receiving feedback which helps in self-awareness and personal mastery over time. On the 3rd Friday evening of each month at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, a group of about 30 toastmasters meet together to deliver prepared speeches, impromptu speeches and speech evaluations. Our ITMA toastmasters club was chartered in July 2003 during the term of past ITMA president Vivienne Tan. It serves as a platform for any ITMA member interested to further develop his or her oral communication and leadership skills. The toastmasters club is part of a global non-profit Toastmasters International organization which has 13,500 toastmasters clubs worldwide, including 200 in Singapore. The ITMA toastmasters club is currently helmed by former ITMA council member, Alfred Anand, who is serving as club president.

10th CIO Study Trip

10th CIO Study Trip (22 to 28 October 2016)

The 10th CIO Study Trip exceeded many of our expectations in terms of learning and networking opportunities. With 50 attendees, it was by far the largest ITMA contingent for an overseas study trip. In six days, we managed to squeeze in 12 site visits, beginning with an exciting game day experience at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday morning and culminating with a visit to Airbnb HQ in San Francisco on Friday afternoon. Many felt that the programme’s pace was just right and didn’t feel rushed despite the packed schedule. There was also ample time to schedule in a shopping trip to the Livermore Premium Outlet for a few hours. At the various site visits, we admired the avant-garde workspaces, meeting rooms and canteens of the famous Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, Dropbox, Google, Intuit and Airbnb, which also helped to attract tech talent. I can’t help wishing for more of such inspiring and innovative office space design concepts in Singapore’s local companies. The planning committee led by Vice-President, Alan Goh, is planning for the 11th CIO Study Trip, possibly centred on Germany or the east coast of USA.

I also need to recount a near accident that happened on the 3rd day which will serve as a good lesson for future study trips in terms of personal safety and contingency planning considerations. As the coach driver applied the emergency brakes to avoid an accident, Nancy, who was at the front of the coach, standing up to retrieve a microphone to brief our group, fell backwards and hurt her back and head. She was in great pain but showed remarkable courage and strength to soldier on the trip. We are extremely grateful for prayers of many members and Nancy’s subsequent miraculous recovery over the next few days. Upon her return to Singapore, she consulted a GP and a Chinese TCM physician and had been given a clean bill of health.

Concluding Remarks

Our first event in 2017 will the ITMA 36th Annual Dinner on Friday 13th January 2017 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore hotel where we will party away to the theme of Rock and Roll. We have also invited a few special guests such as the CEOs of IMDA, GovTech and association leaders to join us on that evening. I hope you have registered and certainly look forward to catching up with you.

As the Christmas holiday and celebrations are just a few days away and the 2016 Year of Disruptions will come to a close shortly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. We all live in uncertain times when change can be sudden and non-linear, where boundaries are blurring everywhere and the old order of things might not apply anymore. Many things will be beyond our control so it is best not to worry too much but to focus on the positive and live life to the fullest!

Alvin Ong
President, IT Management Association (ITMA)
23rd December 2016