For SK Hynix, Cloud Is A Happiness Tool (Part 1)

AhnKu Toh

Part 1 in a 2-part series about SK Hynix and its philosophy that the cloud is the way to make future generations happy and productive at work – to support a sustainable business. For more customer perspectives, read the “Digital CIO” series.

There are many great speeches at big conferences. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for me, with just one body, to attend all of the impressive speeches going on at the same time. I’d like to virtualize my body and containerize it to go freely here and there to gather all the insights, but I don’t have the ability to do that yet.

So, it felt like I’d met a goddess of luck when I happened up a talk at a recent conference led by a speaker who provided unexpected insights. In his talk, “Why hybrid cloud?” Mr. Chang-rock Song, CIO of leading semiconductor company SK Hynix, surprised me by pondering in a surprising way why the company was using the cloud.

I had thought this would be one of those typical cloud technology sessions when suddenly the speaker uttered the keywords “happiness” and “membership.” His in-depth insight and strong beliefs about serving employees inspired my in-depth reflection about the reasons IT exists.

A view toward future generations

CIO Song said, “The bottom line is that we needed to create an information infrastructure that would make everyone happy – those who are currently working in the enterprise and those who will join us in the future. The cloud is the only solution. It is a strategy that looks to the distant future and is faithful to reality.

“By 2022, those who have been called Generation X will become executives. There are millennials who are behind Generation X. The average age in our M15 plant is 29 years old, and they are all in science and engineering. Baby boomers and others become the protagonists of the world. We cannot insist on the tools that our current officers use; we also have to support the younger generation’s culture, the tools they use.

“In 2027, the YouTube generation will join the company. They will be familiar with videos and video-making tools. I don’t think I’m going to make a report with a video!

“By 2039, a new generation that sees books without reading will appear. This generation is trying to fine-tune with their fingers everything they see in the picture frame, and things that don’t work with touch seem to them to be broken. Everything they have adapted to is cloud-based. That’s why the cloud is essential to support the happiness of our members now and in the future.”

Mr. Tae-won Chey, chairman of The SK Group, also spoke at the conference. He remarked: “How can SK function as a healthy community and at the same time foster more happiness? The measure is social value. For this, we decided to improve management strategies based on happiness-creation methodology. We have accelerated the innovation of business models and global performance through social value by adapting to changes in the domestic and international management environment.”

Happiness as a management philosophy

Chairman Chey believes that the highest work performance is achieved and organizational unity is possible only if its members are happy – that creating a virtuous cycle based on this philosophy will naturally make the group’s growth sustainable.

CIO Song added: “We try to find the invisible value of happiness, not the visible value of money. Rather than the happiness of potential customers, we first consider members’ happiness. Defining happiness as corporate purpose changes the purpose of both the member and the work. We asked, ‘Who are our members now? Who else will be?’ In the future, prospects will also be our members. As we expanded the concept and definition of our members, we clearly had to consider the cloud. That’s why we turned the cloud into a ‘happiness tool.’”

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, which explores how SK Hynix revolutionized its business for the benefit of its extended member community. 

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AhnKu Toh

About AhnKu Toh

Mr. AhnKu Toh is founder and editor-in-chief of Korea Tech Media. He has been leading digital and social media in Korea as a thought leader of IT news channels and magazines such as Microsoftware,, and since 1999. Currently, he is one of the most highly influential bloggers in Korea running "Pleasant Technology Stories" on a channel called "Techsuda." He is also co-author of "Korea Web 2.0," which was an IT book bestseller in 2007.