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C R Narayanan

"Virtualization is Akin to Placing All Eggs in a Single Basket "

C R Narayanan
Tulip Telecom
Narayanan initialized the virtualization of Tulip Telecom eventually leading to 70 percent reduction of power consumption by the company. Narayanan is the CIO of Tulip Telecom Limited (BSE/NSE: TULIP), a data telecom service and IT solutions provider that offers innovative IP based infrastructural solutions. With a market cap of Rs 563.33 Crore employing more than 2,500 employees, Tulip is India’s largest MPLS VPN player.

Role and current priorities:
With multiple responsibilities within the organization, I wear several hats. But three of my resposibilities are more important. In my role as a CIO, I am responsible for internal IT, IT strategy, alignment and compliance with regards to overall IT aspects of the organization.

Roles vary within the organization depending upon the need of the moment. Thus, I also act as the product development manager. The overall experience of more than 36 years within the industry at large has helped immensely in implementing new initiatives within Tulip. The normal problems faced, the pinpoints and how can they be addressed are some of the issues solved within the organization.

The third cap is managing the network of professional employees in the team and their projects

Current trends in the industry:
Tulip is a managed services and connectivity player. Rarely, some of the entities may not be working to the satisfaction of the end user; hence the trend is to give a deal for every transaction that the end user is going to do. This will eventually lessen the possibility of dissatisfaction for the customer.

Normally there is a database administrator who looks into the database structure. The applications manager, networking consultant and web server manager analyze the system as a whole. Together there are no discrepancies that can escape the eye of the team members. Thus the second trend is using multiple individuals within the firm to pinpoint faults rather than a single individual.

It is important that the higher authorities in the company are directly involved in the purchase requisition thus avoiding any compliance made by the secretaries while placing the order. Portable devices and Mobile applications have ensured that the top management gets relevant information on their mobile so as to allow faster access for approval. This is an example of proper knowledge management system which is an extensively important implementation in the current scenario.

The magic of Virtualization:
Virtualization is akin to placing all eggs in a single basket. It has always played an important role in reducing the cost of operation, and little did Tulip realize this until Narayanan transformed the company to a virtualized version and led to a whopping 70 percent deduction in power consumption. This equates to a return of investment (ROI) time for virtualization within a year.

Today’s CIOs: A technocrat or business expert?
With the sand clock turning upside down, it is time for the CIOs to change their roles from just being technocrats to that of business experts as technology can be explained by vendors or product specialists in the industry. Spending more time with sales, product development and the financial team is of paramount importance and there are some activities which compulsorily need the attention of the CIO. Some processes have nothing to do with technology but are more inclined towards careful planning and standardization in the organization.
For example, it usually takes about 25 days from billing to delivery of the product to the customers. If the CIO is capable of reducing the time frame to 18 days, then it can lead to positive revenue growth.

Mastering the art of Adaption:
More than 36 years of experience in the industry has taught me that you need to be the master in adapting the changing environment. Initially every management believed in micromanagement of the employees rather than developing faith and assigning responsibility to them.
Normally every person who begins a role in an organization starts as a technocrat. As the individual moves up in the hierarchy, he has to go up in the delegate and impose trust with the co-workers. Emphasizing on micromanagement will not lend enough time for strategy and creative innovation. Showing faith in employees’ abilities can make them more perfect and independent. This strategy has saved time and helped me in discussion with the various stakeholders in the organization.Technology is continuously changing making it important for the company to be flexible, scalable and upgradable. This would enable the future needs of the organization as flexibility and scalability are big challenge in the IT infrastructure industry.