Mohamed Ariff Ameedeen: Experienced Director Of Excellence Strategizing Digital Transformation For Educational Institutes
Mohamed Ariff Ameedeen
'Great CIOs are great storytellers, envisioned and able to communicate a full-fledged, people-centric digital transformation'. The role of a CIO has expanded over the years. They have become the key contributors who understand how technology can be leveraged to further grow a business. Today, CIOs lead digital transformation initiatives, as well as efforts that result in broad organizational change. Mohamed Ariff Ameedeen, CIO at Universiti Malaysia Pahang is working towards the same. He has developed a Smart Campus Blueprint, a five year digital transformation strategy for Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP).
It is a public technical university in Pahang, Malaysia. It was formerly known as Kolej Universiti Kejuruteraan dan Teknologi Malaysia.
In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights Asia, Mohamed talks about his professional background and his role at Universiti Malaysia Pahang.
Tell us about your professional background & experiences that led to Universiti Malaysia Pahang. What are your key roles and responsibilities?
I am an academician and have been in this field since 2006. After completing my PhD from the UK, I became a Senior Lecturer at UMP and then to Director of the IBM Centre of Excellence. The goal of the centre was to bridge the gap between industries and academia. During my tenure there, I learned a lot about industry pain points and requirements. It was through this centre where I was approached by numerous industries as well as academic institutions to help address some of the issues they were facing in a consultancy basis. So when the opportunity to become a CIO came my way, I decided to pursue it and I have been the CIO at Universiti Malaysia Pahang since 2018.
We live in an age where technology is no longer outside anyone’s reach. It has become so accessible that even a child with no training can operate computers, mobile phones and tablets effectively. My job here is to try and keep all the stakeholders happy, from students, staff, Board of Directors, Ministries as well as the general public. Obviously it is not always possible to keep everyone happy at all times, but my team and I drafted a five year ICT strategic plan, a Smart Campus Blueprint to guide us and envision the needs of all the stakeholders. We have already started to execute some projects based on the blueprint, and others are following suit.
What are the key aspects of your institution– Universiti Malaysia Pahang?
Established as a technical university in 2002, Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) is a public technical university in the East-Coast of Malaysia. UMP has two campuses in the state of Pahang located in Pekan and Gambang. UMP offers a variety of engineering and technology-based technical programmes, including high-level Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Ranked as one of the best in Research and Innovation within the classifications of Malaysia Technical University Network (MTUN) and Non-Research University (Non RU), UMP is steadfastly committed to innovating and developing unique academic programmes through strategic international collaborations. A milestone of such innovation is UMPs world class dual-degree engineering programme offered in collaboration with Germany’s Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HsKA), now seen as the benchmark for other public institutions of higher learning in Malaysia. In the field of research, UMP collaborates with local industries to focus on industry-related applications. Such research collaboration enriches the teaching and learning modules at the university, while simultaneously promotes commercialization of research output and products.
What has been your success mantra that constantly helps you arrive at positive outcomes?
Our success mantra through the years has been to ‘listen’. Every Stakeholder is heard and given what they want. We respect their vision and try to always inculcate their ideas in our design. However listening doesn’t end with stakeholders, team members should also be heard. I strongly believe in giving opportunity to my team to express their ideas and concerns, and to provide opportunity for them to flourish. Teamwork is at the core of what we do and that has pushed us to always work together. That, I believe, has helped us succeed.
What are your goals for the future & why do you strive to achieve them?
At this stage, the biggest goal is to have the Smart Campus Blueprint completely implemented by 2025. Through in-house upskilling of employees, joint venture programmes, and research & development, we hope to develop our own projects that fits into the blueprint as well . We have expertise here in UMP through various disciplines. There has been successful implementation of IoT projects, drones, healthcare, green products and so much more. There is also an Autonomous Bus awaiting launch soon! We want to continue on that path and complete successful projects with tech-infused research. We strive to be a world-class technology-based knowledge center and hope to cultivate the culture of knowledge management in a creative and innovative way in supporting education, research and consultancy. I believe it is my role as the CIO to allow these great minds to flourish and facilitate how their inventions could be used in UMP.
Based on your strong professional experience, what advice would you give to the upcoming leaders in the same industry?
Stay with the trend, Do not fight it. The world is everevolving, and it is important to be in line with the trend if you do not want to be left behind. One more thing from me, always remember that Data is your best friend. Understanding data, visualizing it and analysing it will provide meaningful insights that would be useful for your organization.
Mohamed Ariff Ameedeen, CIO, Universiti Malaysia Pahang
An experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry, Ariff was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1983. He is skilled in Blockchain, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Strategic Planning, and is a strong professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) focused in Computer Science from University of Birmingham, UK.
• Favorite Cuisine : Italian
• Favourite Travel Destination: Cameron Highlands
• Awards & Recognition: IBM Certified Solutions Advisor - Cloud Computing Architecture
• IBM Certified Database Associate
• National Information Security Steering Committee Member
• National Steering Committee Member for Professional Competence Framework
• National Blockchain Policy and Technology Roadmap Invited Member
• Huawei Global Education Transformation Summit (Shanghai) Invited Speaker
• Consultant for Government and Private Entities