Mr Foong Sew Bun

Professional of the Year, 2016

In recognition of his innovative spirit and technical leadership, Adjunct Professor Foong Sew Bun became the first Singaporean and the first in IBM Asia Pacific to be recognised as an IBM Distinguished Engineer in 2008. This appointment placed him among the top two percent of over 300,000 IBM technical professionals globally. In IBM, Sew Bun has taken on roles of Chief Technology Officer for IBM ASEAN and IBM Singapore, Lead Cloud Advisor (ASEAN, Korea, Japan) and Regional Software Technical Executive and Architect (ASEAN, India, South Asia).

In 2009, he helped to establish the first IBM Singapore Research Collaboratory, where research was successfully conducted with the Land Transport Authority of Singapore and the National Environment Agency to design a suite of predictive solutions that benefited the community.

In addition, he collaborated with the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) in exploring the use of Cognitive Computing to shape the future of banking, which led to a collaboration on the design of Watson Wealth Management, a world's first wealth management advisory, which innovatively engages high net worth clients through learning from a massive amount of unstructured and structured data.

Sew Bun played a key role in projects such as the Smarter Cities for Singapore and Global Cities of the Future, which includes the Jurong Lake District in the Smarter Cities Challenge, Smarter Water and Traffic for Vietnam (Danang, Ho Chi Minh cities) and Smarter Safety for Davao (Philippines). He also teamed up with esteemed Dr. Lui Thai Ker for the smarter city planning and consultancy for the Kazan IT Village of Tatarstan in Russia.

Sew Bun has never stopped his exciting journey of innovation - at global IBM, Sew Bun is the first and only Singaporean on the IBM Corporate Technology Team Advisory Council. In addition, he is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology Leadership Team, and member of the IBM Cloud Advisor Leadership Team. Sew Bun also contributes his global skills with a Singapore conglomerate by serving on the Keppel Corporation Technology Advisory Panel.

In addition to innovation, Sew Bun firmly believes in talent development. Between 2007 to 2013, he served as Chairman and Senior Advisor of the National Infocomm Competency Framework (NICF) Steering Committee. In 2007, he spearheaded Service Science Management Engineering (SSME), an initiative that helps Singaporeans develop T-shaped skills and Service Science for the knowledge-based service economy. To date, more than 2,500 students have graduated from the T-shaped Service Science trainings.

At IBM, Sew Bun chaired the former IBM Growth Market Unit (of more than 140 countries) Distinguished Engineer Board and successfully brought forward over 20 new IBM Distinguished Engineers, and personally mentored Chief Technology Officers of IBM ASEAN, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and China Software Group, among others.