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Arun Gupta

"Build a brand for yourself; it helps in attractingtalent, vendorsand creates internal credibility"


Arun is Chief Information Officer at Cipla Limited. He specializes in transforming Business IT and is recognized as “Strategic and Business friendly CIO”. He joined Cipla in May 2012 and is helping the company transformation initiatives enabled with technology solutions. Prior to joining Cipla, for over 5 years he was Customer Care Associate & Group CTO for Shoppers Stop. Under his leadership, Shoppers Stop has won the coveted NASSCOM CNBC IT User Award in 2010 amongst many other award winning technology lead business initiatives. His career spanning over 29 years include senior positions at Philips, Pfizer, Hughes Telecom, DHL, DSP Merrill Lynch and Great Eastern Shipping.

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

I do not see any challenges in the current technology landscape or with the technology service providers; the ability to partner and create mutually acceptable terms of engagement is the best way forward. I rarely look at running on the technology treadmill unless I can arrive at a use case that impacts either my customers or employees.

Technology Trends Impacting Enterprise Business Environment

The biggest impact is being created and expected in the near future from mobile solutions and analytics. Both individually and collectively, have the potential to make a huge difference to business outcomes.

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

The only thing that keeps me awake is mosquitoes.Now if we look at any business process when we apply new rules toit, there could be possibilities of improvement. Some of it can be solved by technology, while others require a change in the ecosystem.

Take an example of medical representatives (MR) in India who meet doctors and help them understand through the detailing process the benefits of their formulations over competition. If convinced the doctor will prescribe the medicine thus creating success for the MR. The next step is when the patient goes to the medical shop or pharmacy, s/he should get the medicine prescribed and not be pushed an alternative. Pharmaceutical companies are struggling to get qualified sales data from the retail stores. This would provide a direct correlation between the effort and the result to the MR. Technology has existed for more than a decade and used by FMCG; pharmaceutical industry has made very little progress.

Views on Changing Role of CIO

I have not seen any significant change in the role. The technology landscape has changed and that needs to be managed. Enterprise and organizational strategy and values determine how the CIO contributes and drives the business. I believe that the individual has to determine the role, the organization is mostly happy to provide a large landscape.

Lessons learned as a CIO

I can definitely share my lessons, not sure if they are unique.
1. Know the business, know the stakeholders, connect them; it is easier to have a discussion
2. Understand culture (also known as politics); your success may depend on your ability to work with and around it
3. Build a team that can challenge you; hire skills you don’t have. They will deliver your promise and commitment
4. Respect people and build relationships even if they are your vendors; people make things happen
5. Communicate across the enterprise and then outside too; your visibility is your KRA, no one else will do it
6. Build a brand for yourself; it helps in attracting talent, vendors and creates internal credibility
7. Stay accessible, it opens new possibilities of how you can use IT to create a better tomorrow for everyone.