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A.C. Chidanand

"Always have your ear to the ground to find out the current challenges the business is facing on business processes, people, and business results."

A.C. Chidanand
Head – IT
Titan Industries Limited

Chidanand has been a part of Titan Industries for almost 25 years. He has spent a decade in manufacturing, focusing on process engineering, industrial engineering, subcontracting and vendor development, a decade in IT managing, ERP, e-commerce, retail applications , intranets and about five years in the area of knowledge and business excellence management.

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Technology obsolescence and faster adoption : Even at the current rate at which technology providers are innovating and making available products that are superior either in performance, scalability and usability or significantly lower in terms of cost , we find that the technology road map that was finalized in the beginning of the year is already in question
Integration of  Enterprise Solutions: At this moment, I think we have a basket of technologies to choose from for various needs. However, we would really wish that they would be available at significantly lower costs. Secondly, we need technology partners to focus on compatibility that would help us operate in a heterogeneous environment.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

Voice/ sound recognition is an area which has potential for technology providers to improve the current level of technology. Currently the BPOs in transcription industry are using it to some extent. However this has great potential for enhancing office productivity where ever documentation is involved.
Speed and Agility: What really keeps me awake is the rate at which technology solutions are being demanded by our business lines and the gap that exists in fulfilling the demand despite our commitment to invest in strategic IT initiatives. The second of course, is the challenge in continuously enhancing our information security management to keep pace with new access mechanisms created in the field of IT such as mobility, web mails, and the social media.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

RFID is a point in case. Although we have been working very closely for over a couple of years with various partners to use RFID tags and scanners to track inventory or prevent pilferage in our jewellery business, which we have even piloted in one of our company showrooms. The technical solution is yet to mature to succeed in various transactional scenarios. But, its adoption can have far reaching impact on how we can manage our inventory in an environment where the sales are seasonal and product portfolio requirements change every now and then.
The technological advancement in social media and mobility are two significant areas that are already impacting us. It is for us to find the right strategies to leverage them and make a positive impact on our business.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

The need for specialization: While I have taken over very recently as head of IT in the  organization, the expectations over the years has changed from providing and managing enterprise solutions such as ERPs, procuring and managing IT assets cost effectively and developing customized niche solutions to that of a senior executive primarily responsible for finding break through IT solutions that could give a competitive edge to the business. A CIO earlier would focus on business applications, hardware, networking, information security and a lot more.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

Continuous engagement with Business: What I would like to mention is not really unique but is very essential for any IT professional. Always have your ear to the ground to find out the current challenges the business is facing on business processes, people, and business results. Once we are empathetic to these challenges, we automatically start focusing on IT solutions that are relevant to them.