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Rajiv Sharaf

"IT must go to business instead of business coming to IT for a solution"

Rajiv Sharaf
Reliance Infrastructure

With more than 23 years of experience in the fields of telecom, broadcast, and IT infrastructure, Sharaf oversees the IT function for the power (distribution, generation and transmission), infrastructure (metro, roads, airports, etc.) and cement businesses of RInfra, India's largest integrated infrastructure company. In his stint at RInfra, Sharaf also leads the company's business initiative to participate as an 'IT implementation agency' and 'IT consultant' for several state electricity boards under the Governement of India's RAPADRP program.

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Most of the organizations around the globe have been deploying Enterprise- wide applications in their businesses. However, solution providers had developed standard modules in their applications which did not cater to the requirement of the industry/ organization. As a result, organizations had to customize the solutions as per their business requirements, adding complexity in implementing enterprise architecture solutions.
Going forward, technology/ solution providers should have uniformity of processes across sector/ industry so that minimum customization is required while implementing the solution. This process shall also be helpful to organizations when new software versions of the same applications are released by the solution providers thus facilitating the adaptability while implementing the solution for their businesses.

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

Nowadays, companies that are into enterprise applications follow the Merger and Acquisition (M&A) path to acquire business specific solutions and technologies. Once the new business technology is acquired, organizations are required to customize the solutions to cater to their specific business requirements. This not only adds complexity to the solutions, but also prolongs the process. Organizations end up taking additional time to deliver an IT solution thus defying the purpose of acquiring a new business. This has been a major bone of contention for the industry and requires immediate attention.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

There are many interesting technology trends that have been cropping lately. Of these, mobile technology, business analytics and cloud computing top my list of key technologies that shall be crucial in the enterprise business environment.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

The role of a CIO has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past couple of years. Earlier the key role of the CIO was only to provide the technology to enable the business. However, now the CIO is required to understand the business, its pain points, competitive scenarios and provide technology based solution to the business. So what we see now is that, the role of the CIO has evolved from that of an enabler to that of a critical partner.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

In today’s competitive environment, it is imperative that CIOs ensure that none of their solutions work in silos. They should ensure that the solutions deployed by them are seamlessly integrated with the existing solutions with minimum customization. IT should always proactively try to understand the challenges and pain points of the business and devise and deploy solutions accordingly. And most importantly, IT should go to the business rather than business coming to IT for a solution.