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Bhushan Akerkar

"Think like an engineer not a mechanic. Act like a General not a foot soldier. Be a leader of tech savvy folks."

Bhushan Akerkar

Bhushan comes with vast spectrum of experience for about 25 years which includes software development in the field of CAD, computer graphics, IT infrastructure such as networking, VSATS, data centre build and operations, design and operations of network operations centre.

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Being in metals and mining business, our biggest challenge is to have an integrated solution for plant management. Currently Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are in vogue. Their maturity levels are similar to ERPs in mid to late 1990s. Most of the MES are not integrated with ERPs.

Recently SAP has come up with Manufacturing Intelligence Interface (MII) and Oracle with Manufacturing Operations Centre (MOC).These attempt to integrate the machine data to ERP. They yet have a long way to go, though the beginning is very good. MES however is a big fish. These products are discrete, and integrating the various modules itself is a challenge. MES, fully mature would certainly be on my wish list.

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

Things which keep me awake at night are connectivity issues. Connectivity is poor at remote locations. Our despatch needs to be 24* 7* 365. There are various occasions where in trucks are lined up because connectivity is down and hence systems are down. We need a technology wherein inspite of poor connectivity the local ERP servers will work full throttle and synchronise with the main server once the connection is up.

The other issue is about online information on plant activities. Other than Distributed control systems (DCS) which is old stuff, it is difficult to get this information on mobile devices in a clean manner. Lot of apps need to glue the information today. Thus proactive action is not enabled whilst one is mobile. 
Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

First is predictive analytics on futures and their linkages with ERP are required, since we need predictive costs data for effective decision making.

The second trend is a boost for MES. It should be treated as a business application and not as a plant control software. This trend has to be ignited.
My roles and responsibilities as a CIO
In the past couple of years it has grown from operational to strategic. We have to advise on the enablement of business strategy. At times strategy cannot be implemented due to tech constraints. The new role is summarised as EASI– Enable and Advise Strategy and Implementation. CIO’s cannot be philosophers. They have to be like military generals. Formulate strategy and execute. Strategy without execution is a lame duck. A CIO should also be versed with the theory of constraints. Change constraints into opportunities, instead of wishful brooding. CIOs can best advise business proactively if they study their businesses.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs
Think like an engineer not a mechanic. Act like a general not a foot soldier. Be a leader of tech savvy folks. Understand business. You have nothing to loose but your ignorance and everything to gain. Be a marketer of technology and more important solutions. I would like to tell budding CIOs that purpose of IT is to benefit business– remember this amidst your technologies, hardware and software and enticing jargon.