CXO Breakfast Talk – In conversation with Mr Tan Kiat How, CEO, IMDA

5 April 2017

Mr Tan Kiat How, CEO, IMDA

“We are in exciting times, really an inflection of change where we were 20 over years ago” said Mr Tan Kiat How, the new CEO of IMDA in sharing his thoughts on how IMDA will lead the industry in a nation-wide digital transformation drive.

Mr Tan Kiat How addressing the audience

Addressing an audience of over 120 ICM industry and business leaders at SiTF’s 6th CXO Breakfast Talk, Mr Tan mapped out how IMDA is spearheading and pushing the boundaries on the next phase of development. 
Enthusing that we are in the cusp of another transformation, Mr Tan elaborated on how IMDA will take the lead in driving the digital economy agenda under the Smart Nation initiative with its two pronged effort. 

The first prong is to look horizontal by working with industry partners, research institutes and Institutes of Higher Learning to think about applications of infocomm and digital technologies across the different sectors. “One important recognition is that digital technologies or ICM technologies are really a horizontal enabler that transformed businesses. The transformation this time round is not just productivity or efficiency gains, but much deeper structural transformation of industries in terms of business model, market power, capabilities and workforce,” said Mr Tan.

The second prong is in the area of R&D. Under the RIE2020 (Research Innovation Enterprise) Masterplan, $250 million has been set aside for investments to support development in the technology space,  adding “to support capability building today to service the economy for tomorrow."

Mr Tan elaborated on the four key areas in consideration under this scheme:

1.  AI & Data
2.  Cybersecurity
3.  IoT
4.  Immersive Media

Mr Tan Kiat How and Mr Andrew Chow during the q&a session

Agreeing that the government procurement process is "unfriendly to the small players,” Mr Tan updated on the accreditation programme which is being scaled up to help accredit small companies to have a ‘green link’ for government procurement, getting the thumbs up from the many SME audience members.

The VIP audience in full attention

Briefing on the SMEs Go Digital programme, an important thrust for IMDA, Mr Tan recognized the need to help companies build their capabilities, products and services with digital technologies to help them grow by addressing sector by sector and partnering with agencies like SPRING to upscale and drive capability building in the digital arena.

On retraining and rescaling the workforce, Mr Tan touched on TESA (TechSkills Accelerator), a partnership programme with the industry and agencies like SiTF,  which is looking at building capabilities of ICT professionals to learn new skills and stay relevant.


Mr Tan Kiat How engaging SiTF members

On role of IMDA as the Chief Digital cum Technology Officer, its CEO had this to say, “ultimately IMDA ought to be the change agent in partnership with industry and sectors to change, ”before rallying the audience to “be bold, experiment and push the boundaries!”

At the highly engaging q&a session, many business related questions were raised such as funding, role of the traditional IT manufacturer & services and support for emerging non-pervasive technology providers. The theme of internationalization resonated in many of the questions.  


Mr Tan Kiat How (6th from left), ACE Khoong (2nd from right) with our sponsors and SiTF Councillors

Mr Daniel Ng, Senior Director of Marketing – APAC from Cloudera said that “beyond doing the connection, this session helped to understand the direction of the government and the needs of the industry,” echoing the general sentiment, “this is a great event!”


We thank our sponsors cloudera, Huawei, SP Telecom and Starhub for their generous support.  

Mr Tiong Kuok Thai from I-Magination Solution receiving his gift from Mr Daniel Ng of cloudera

Cloudera was also the sponsor of the lucky draw prize - Parrot Mambo Drone worth $300.

For sponsorship opportunities for the next CXO Breakfast Talk , please contact Jacquie Khoo at 6325 9713 or