“CIOs who try to resist changes risk ending up as ineffectual figures, overwhelmed by the inexorable tide.”
Innovation has always been one of the keys to success for a CIO; and over the years, every enterprise technology decision maker has realised that the job is much more than just managing IT in the organisation. The management’s expectations from a CIO has undergone a sea change – as for a CIO to become relevant, he always has to think differently and come up with ideas that can transform the organisation.
According to Tridib Bordoloi, CIO, PTI, “The reality facing CIOs is to find new ways to make money from technology, rather than spending money on running it. That means the skills that helped build the old IT organisation are very different to the ones that CIOs will need in the future. Being strategic is important than tactical. If a CIO has to successfully move into future mode, then there has to be a paradigm shift in their thought process. IT leaders tend to be perfectionists who are highly detail-oriented. It’s what has made so many of them good at their jobs. But in the fast paced world, CIOs need to move beyond perfectionism and embrace risk. Doing things differently and challenging traditions is now the key objective to success.”
The new concept that Bordoloi is working on is to develop a mobile application that enables users to get PTI feed for a day for Rs 1. With the growth of mobility, it becomes imperative to develop an application where users can get PTI feeds on their mobile device, and this means developing an extra revenue stream for the company.
“There are many vendors whom we are talking to – in order to create a mobile application that can provide live news to the consumers. Spending Re. 1 a day is not a big deal and with our customer base, this means that we can earn a few crores every year by developing this application,” said Bordoloi.
The problem though is that there are very few vendors who have the ability to understand the intricacies of a media organisation, and it is proving to be one of the blocking stones for Bordoloi.
“Vendors have come and discussed about how to develop such a mobile application – but we are yet to finalise with any one – because there are still some loopholes that need to be addressed. But I am sure, if this application can be developed it will become an instant hit among the users,” adds Bordoloi.
Challenges for a CIO have grown manifold in today’s ever changing IT world, and to come up with new concepts where IT can help in adding revenue to the organisation is the key differentiator.
Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO, Greyhound Research says, “I have seen many CIOs trying to come up with innovations surrounding the social media segment – because this can definitely work for the organisations’ benefit. CIOs try and work on social analytics and find the behavioural patterns of the consumers and this can be immensely beneficial for the marketing team – as they can now develop products around those lines.”
Bordoloi says that successive waves of change over last few years have undermined the old certainties for the CIO.
“Building capability with less spend and managing IT is absolutely vital. Talent availability and retention of staff whose profile (skill set) has also undergone change, viz., from pure play techie to someone who also understands the dynamics of business, are also posing new challenges,” said Bordoloi.
He also added that CIOs who try to resist changes risk ending up as ineffectual figures, overwhelmed by the inexorable tide.
Business analytics has proved to be a boon for CIOs. Anindya Garai, Head IT, Emaar MGF feels that business analytics plays a very important role in understanding the needs of a customer, and real estate players are using it in a big way.
“When our sales and marketing team goes to meet a customer, it is very important to understand his/her likes and dislikes. We have devised a mechanism where we collect all the vital information of a prospective customer in advance, and feed it to our sales and marketing team – and that helps them immensely as they can approach the customer in a very customised manner. IT should always be able to help all the departments in the organisation, and a CIO should always look at coming up with innovative solutions by using business analytics,” added Garai.
Reprinted/Republished with permission from: www.csoforum.in
Source: CIO & Leader
Infosys chooses an outsider pro to lead it through transition.
Infosys Technologies, a bellwether firm for India’s infotech sector that is making waves across the globe, has defied the traditions of the domestic sector at the best of times. So, as it goes through a transition, it has continued to set what could be new trends.
On June 12, its executive chairman NR Narayana Murthy decided to step aside, and the company named Vishal Sikka as its CEO. What was significant is that the baton was passed on to an outsider professional for the first time since the company’s inception in 1981.
A group of IITians – Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, NS Raghavan, S Gopalkrishnan, SD Shibulal, K Dinesh and Ashok Arora – who founded the company have taken turns in various roles in running it, but in the face of mounting challenges decided to let the former SAP chief technology officer do the job.
During Narayana Murthy’s second term his son Rohan Murthy was appointed his executive assistant, triggering speculation over his future role. At most other Indian firms, Rohan’s further elevation might have been taken for granted, but at Infosys, he will be moving out now that his father is only a non-executive chairman.
Analysts believe this could be a fresh start for Infosys.
Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst and CEO, Greyhound Research, says, “I believe India Inc is moving up the ladder to add value to their business. A business needs a team of leaders; it cannot be run by one person. The leader needs to be professionally sound to lead the company. I see the baton moving from family to professionals with a business sense.”
Harish Bijoor, brand expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., concurs, “This surely is the trend. Founders and owners reach a glass ceiling all their own. This glass ceiling occurs at different points of time. In the case of Infy it has taken 33 years. This should have happened earlier.”
Although there have been instances of professional CEOs in family-run enterprises, for example at Dabur, Thermax, Jindal Steel and Power, Wipro and some of the Tata Group firms, “Vishal’s appointment is a learning that various other companies will implement in the coming years. Innovation is the key that every company needs to remember. It should be the core competency of any company,” experts believe.
While some look at it from the perspective of an insider-outsider debate, others say the appointment should be seen purely in business sense.
Ganesh Natarajan, vice chairman and CEO, Zensar Technologies, says, “India Inc is run by an assortment of CEOs – some are from families and many are independent professionals. I do not think the second- or third-generation family CEOs are in any way inferior to professionals and every board and shareholder group should look at the CEO appointment on individual merit.”
As for Sikka, there is unanimity in industry that he is a true innovator and thought leader, and that his contributions at SAP have been extraordinary. Experts feel if Sikka can deliver and give a new vision to Infosys, many family-run firms too may consider bringing in professionals at the top.
“I believe it is only a matter of time that these companies consider getting a professional rather than passing on the baton to the next family member,” says Gogia.
Source: Governance Now
“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.”
We exist in a world where true innovations are rare. Till date, the concept of doing something differently has either been dismissed completely or little encouragement has been given to those standing up for the cause. However, in recent times encouragement for innovators with ideas has been easier to find. We at Greyhound Research believe these people who think out of the box and create something new need to be recognized. Why? Because such people have the skill (and drive) to make an impact – in their organizations, society and lives.
The Achievers’ Club is an initiative by Greyhound Research in association with Information Week magazine to recognize such innovators who have truly gone out of their way to make an impact.
Who can enter the awards?
The admission into the club is exclusively open to IT Decision Makers only – please note, this does not include CIOs from large IT vendor firms. While we encourage IT vendors to submit nominations on behalf of their customers, Greyhound Research holds the discretion and right to accept this nomination. Vendors please note, we require you to produce enough documentary evidence that this submission has been done in consent with the customer.
What are the rewards for those who qualify?
What is the process and criteria?
The judging process is comprised of two phases.
Phase 1 – Greyhound Research panel reviews applications to determine the finalists for the Achievers’ Club.
Phase 2 – The list of finalists is then reviewed by the Information Week management.
Winners are announced at the InterOp 2014 (Delhi).
Each qualifier would be given a rating on the scale of 1 to 10:
How can you apply?
Please reach out to Manav Juneja on email@example.com and we will revert with a detailed nomination form for you to fill out. Please note, the last date to receive this is July 11, 2014.
Points to Remember:
While the CFO has the liberty to look into matters only concerning finance and the CMO can concentrate on marketing, the CIO has, of late, lost the liberty to focus on matters concerning only IT. The lines have blurred and walls that existed before have been brought down. The steady progress to digital in all business organisations and even government is adding to this increasing complexity. While this can bog down CIOs with undue pressure and responsibilities, it is also a good time for CIOs to rise and really prove they are worth their salt in the organisation – not just as managers handling back-end, mundane IT functions but as true leaders who make a significant contribution to how the business works and flourishes.
Cost cutting is not our sole responsibility, say CIOs
Are CIOs themselves to blame for the ‘cost-cutter’ tag getting attached to their role? Vijay Sethi, CIO and Vice President IS & HR, Hero MotoCorp Limited firmly believes so. Nagaraj G N, Global Head – Service Delivery – 3i Infotech explains the deeper reason behind this. “Enterprises in India have been through a tough time. Policy paralysis, high inflation and general lack of confidence in the political leadership and the bleak investment climate have forced many enterprises to critically look at the bottom line. In a positively charged environment, enterprises will look to making fresh investments on solutions that create a mean and lean outfit. With too much pessimism in the environment, enterprises looked at curtailing all expenditure with some enterprises resorting to cutting flesh. In such a scenario all cost centres came under severe scrutiny and inspection,” he says.
He points out that most enterprises are technology supported and not technology enabled and there is very little deep understanding of enterprise technology and how it can shape business. In such a paradigm, IT teams become yet another cost centre and the CIO’s only claim to fame would be around cost cutting initiatives and negotiation skills with vendors.
It is entirely up to CIOs themselves to take advantage of external factors such as change in political leadership and to capitalise on their cost saving initiatives and wrap it in a layer of innovation to increase the scale of business through technology-driven and technology-enabled initiatives. “CIOs have the opportunity, the potential and the capability of execution to change market dynamics by paving the way for new age products and solutions , especially in the mobility, cloud and social domains, some of which will find definition in the need expressed by the CIOs. This will also be an exciting time for start-up ventures who will take the lead and the risk in creating these products and solutions,” predicts Nagaraj.
Clearly, the CIO mindset has transformed to a more business case led approach with a focus on adding innovation to line of business. And talking about an important step towards achieving that, Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO, Greyhound Research, says, “It is absolutely important that a CIO aligns his goals and works in sync with the CFO and the CMO to add to the line of business.”
A small step to better communication goes a long way
This need for increased communication between CIOs and other C-level peers can work in the CIO’s favour if he or she initiates this exchange of ideas and lets the business know what they can bring to the table. Satish Pendse, President of Highbar Technologies, explains, “Interactions with other C-level executives should never be perceived as ‘problems.’ Rather, they are great opportunities to drive the IT agenda across the organisation. IT initiatives are transformational in nature. Every such initiative needs to be marketed internally and needs to be embraced by multiple stakeholders, in addition to IT. Interactions with CMO, CFO and CEO are opportunities from this perspective. Once these executives buy into any IT initiatives, chances of success increase manifold.”
Other than effective communication, CIOs need to understand that in the end IT projects are not just their own but are done for other functions and the organisation as a whole. “It is important that other C-suite managers also own the initiative. For this to happen, the CIO has to be a trusted partner for them and the fact is trust needs to be earned – by delivery, by conduct and by knowledge,” Sethi explains.
Nagaraj brings up an aspect that is often left unsaid. He says that there is a factor of competition amongst all CXOs and tackling this needs a different kind of management strategy and manoeuvring skills. Having said that, he clarifies, “The problem, challenge and opportunity for each CXO are the same. Some believe that the world of technology being niche, the CIO is at a disadvantage as other CXOs do not appreciate technology while they do grasp the strategy and the intent aligned to common goals and objectives. I feel that is an invalid or rather irrational belief. The world of finance, investment and operations sometimes has those niche areas that are distant from the grasp of CXOs from different fields. I believe all CXOs operate on a level playing field with respect to opportunities and challenges. The individual just needs to prove his mettle on strategy, execution, foresight and on the ability to sell.”
Manish Bahl, Vice President & Country Manager India for Forrester Research suggests some very practical tips for CIOs who are wondering how to take that first step towards effective communication. “CIOs need to reach across the walls of the IT organisation to engage with the CMO and other business leaders. As a first step, the CIO should meet business leaders weekly to devise and discuss a technology strategy for the business. Come to these discussions wearing your business hat to build a connection with business leaders. For instance, talk about delivering a consistent customer experience to drive business growth for your firm – a process that technology may only enter at a later stage,” he says.
“If CIOs don’t do that, business will find its own ways to leverage technology leaving CIOs behind. For instance, Indian CMOs are building their own technology agenda to serve digitally empowered customers and increasing their tech budget,” he warns.
New and emerging threats to the CIO role
Adding to Bahl’s views on CIOs being left behind, Gogia feels that the threats to the CIO role are increasing, and hence the need for evolution of CIOs themselves and their teams. “In today’s times, CIOs cannot be mere providers of storage, apps or other pieces in IT, but instead they need to think and act like internal services organisations that are measured on outcomes by LoB heads. In essence, the CIO and his team must move away from the simple act of technology provision to that of services orchestration. The CIO needs to act as an internal service provider rather than being one of the ‘server hugging’ roles. He must enable his team to implement technology that supports newer initiatives on Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and social technologies. A CIO must understand how a CFO and a CMO functions. His knowledge about the working of the two roles needs to be foolproof to help in maximising profits,” says Gogia.
The fact is that quantum of IT investments has gone up. Explaining a very realistic situation, Pendse says that in a few businesses it is even as high as 6-10 percent of turnover, thus attracting the CFO and making him consider personally monitoring the same by taking IT investment matters in his or her own hands. With the dawn of the age of the customer, CMOs expect IT-driven innovation in acquiring and retaining customers, building brands, etc. They expect utmost agility from IT people and expect them to be aware of business challenges to such an extent that the IT team should be able to give the CMO proactive and agile support in beating marketing challenges in the marketplace.
“If CIOs address these changed expectations with the same old mindset, then it will no longer be tolerated by CMOs, CEOs, CFOs and the like. Bureaucracy expected by the IT functions in general may no longer go well with the C-level executives now. An overemphasis on security / policies / processes, coming in the way of IT-driven business innovations may now sound like a draconian thought to business leaders. The ‘overly safe’ approach of some CIOs may no longer go well with the business; they expect quick decisions, readiness to experiment and a fail-fast approach,” says Pendse.
The way IT works also needs to the re-thought. “Turnaround time expected is in terms of days and weeks; no longer months and years. Doing everything in-house may now be seen as non-agile. The way to address the said job threat is to adopt and drive these and such other cultural changes proactively and immediately. The comfort with a CIO in the minds of business leaders should be so high that the thought of entering into his role fully or partially should not even cross their minds,” advises Pendse.
Sethi shares some golden rules for CIOs to live by to ward of any threat from other C-level peers poaching into the CIO role. He says, “Help improve compliance levels in all aspects of working of the organisation, help improve environment and help the organisation in discharging its social obligations and build an IT organisation that is contemporary in its skills, approach, thinking and actions and is agile and has policies and processes that are customer-centric.”
Are you getting through to the big guy?
All said and done, in the end, it’s the CEO’s blessings that CIOs needs to have on their side for all IT initiatives, big and small. Both Sethi and Nagaraj feel that with mobility, social and cloud computing becoming the order of the day, CEOs are quite tech savvy. But unfortunately, says Nagaraj, CEOs do not understand beyond the cosmetic layer of the technology usage value proposition. They are aware of the risks in adoption of these technologies. So, if the CIO can roll out business initiatives enabled by the cloud, riding the wave of mobility and integrating into the social fabric of their customers and leverage it to gain a competitive edge in the market place, it can really help the CEO view the CIO as a very able member at the round table.
Pendse shares some great advice for building up the CIO-CEO rapport. “CIO needs to be seen more with the CEO and other C-level executives. Ideally he should be seen outside of his own department for more than 50 percent of the time. He and his key members should get a full understanding of the business domain, its challenges and opportunities, key priorities, the five-year business strategic plan, competitive scenario, etc. He should make himself a part of strategic business discussions with C-level executives. At the same time the CIO should keep educating the CEO and other C-level executives in various aspects of IT and futuristic IT developments. He should become the conduit for the CEO to get to know current and future IT, especially all that is relevant to the business of the organisation.”
There is no doubt that the CIO’s role has undergone a sea change in the recent past and is susceptible to even more transformation with disruptions affecting the technology domain at such a mind boggling pace. But, the onus lies entirely on the CIO to mould and adapt on demand and emerge as a true leader, guiding the organisation to newer heights.
Enterprise technology decision makers are increasingly leveraging social network and technologies to foster growth in their organisations.
Social technologies are playing a major role in fostering growth among organisations and enterprise technology decision makers are leveraging social networks in numerous innovative ways. There are some key verticals like BFSI, telecom, retail and hospitality which is using social technologies to reach out to their customers. Interacting with the customers on a regular basis allows enterprises to know their requirements and this helps in coming up with offers or products that are liked by the customers.
According to Atul Nigam, CIO, Micromax India, “Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkden allows us to reach our customers and get to know what are their requirements. CIOs can play a major role in providing apt business analytics to identify a specific trend and that helps in coming up with offers/promotions which customers can relate to. Our company has seen tremendous growth in the last five to six years and for us to sustain this growth rate, we need to know our customers better and social technologies plays an integral role in identifying this.”
Enterprise technology decision makers are leveraging social technologies to provide analytical insights about consumers. This in turn is helping enterprises to be more customer-friendly and focussed in their approach.
According to Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO, Greyhound Research, IT organizations are struggling to deal with the invasion of multiple consumer-driven social technologies inside corporate firewalls. Employees continue to use these tools — with or without IT’s knowledge and approval — to help them improve their performance and do their work more efficiently. Employee adoption is catalysing many companies in Asia Pacific to proactively use (or at least plan to use) social tools as part of their IT setup, giving users the choice to adopt new tools to improve productivity and hence improve employee satisfaction.
CIOs across verticals agree that social analytics can play a key role in enhancing customer experience.
According to KK Chaudhary, CIO, Lanco Infratech, “I vouch for social analytics and I have witnessed many of my peers helping out their marketing team in getting to know different aspects of customer behaviour. Although, we are into power and do not need to interact with our customers via social medium, but I feel there are many verticals where one needs to interact directly to the customers and social technologies helps a lot of achieving this feat. At Lanco, we use internal social tool which helps in connecting with the employees and also makes them updated with the new developments in the organisation.”
Source: CIO & Leader