President and Chief Executive Officer, Wyvern Infotech
Chief Technology Officer and General Manager, Greater China, SAP
Chief Technology Officer and Deputy GM, Retail Banking and Credit Card Center, Bank of China
Chief Information Officer, FordDirect.com
BS, Peking University
MA and PhD, Rice University
Big data and analytics
“A successful leader has three essential traits: humility, hunger, and determination.”
Enterprise Strategist & Evangelist for Greater China since 2015, Xia Zhang helps CIOs and CTOs, from large and small companies, to learn and adopt the cloud to innovate and transform, creating business value.
A seasoned leader, Xia brings over 20 years of experience in IT, business development, and enterprise technology and management, having held senior leadership positions at companies including SAP, Bank of China, and Ford. He has led numerous large-scale technology adoption and IT projects, from developing infrastructure and modernizing applications, to building data and e-commerce platforms, to driving innovation for the business.
Xia believes the disruptive nature of cloud and its capacity to reshape IT are now the new normal. It is no longer a question of whether to adopt cloud or even when. The time is now. Growing and scaling a business in this new environment takes a different approach than in the past. For Xia, that means IT functions also need to evolve—they must become high-frequency engines capable of supporting business innovation. In other words, they need to be able to iterate quickly and often, and to move away from big, long-term projects to pursue smaller, short-term wins and rapid iterations.
This thinking is the basis for Xia’s most important advice for leaders: Jump in and don’t be afraid. Working on smaller-scale projects means the risk of failure is much less than it used to be. And each failure, should they occur, brings you closer to breakthrough innovation. The other important element lies in ensuring your teams are ready to join you in your cloud journey. Equipping them with the right skills and knowledge helps them get started. They will learn the rest as they wade into the cloud and start using and experimenting with it.
As he talks with customers, Xia’s approach is to put himself in their shoes to understand their perspective and to use that knowledge to help find the most suitable solutions. He also draws from his own experience to share important success factors with other leaders. It’s important, for example, for leaders to have a solid understanding of business strategy. And even more important to be able to communicate it effectively in layman’s terms with business partners.
When not at work, Xia is an avid traveler, voracious reader, and expert mushroom hunter. He enjoys mushrooming in the Pacific Northwest and can smell his favorite mushroom, Tricholoma matsutake, from a distance.
Read more on the AWS Cloud Enterprise Strategy Blog »