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Samir Dhaga

"Keep yourself updated, regardless of your environment. Attend seminars, webinars, and conferences and read a lot so that your knowledge is up-to-date"

Samir Dhaga
Videocon D2H

Samir has 27 years of experience in the field of IT and Telecom and has had a rich and diverse career in the field of IT and Telecommunications. He has held various senior level technical appointments in the Indian Defence and the Industry. He has during his career managed large telecom networks, IT and played the role of CTO and CIO effectively. He carries the unique distinction of setting up first Cyber Security Agency for Indian Army. He has been awarded multiple times for his contribution to technology.

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

With increase in digitization and the ubiquitous availability of technology, dependence of various facets of life on technology has increased. With this so have technical challenges. However, if I was to talk of one specific challenge related to the generic DTH environment in India, it would be continuous scaling of IT resources especially hardware and applications to meet the growth and business expectations. Classically, the market is so dynamic that we are constantly changing applications or bringing about new ones to support new business scenarios. This coupled with the demand for increase in transactions in an OLTP environment, the scaling has to be fast without creating a business impact. With scaling comes the need for infra growth and costs.
Coming to the expectations part from the technology providers, reduction in maintenance costs as well as improving the quality and support, from a technical perspective are the must have aspects. We also need guarantees on uptimes and latencies from the Cloud Providers.

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

‘Pain Points’ is a relative term that would be different for different CIOs or IT Heads. For me, there are no ‘Pain Points’ but only challenges. Managing large databases, balancing hardware requirements with growing business expectations, balancing Capex and Opex are challenges. Also growing and consolidation of IT across different ecosystems and managing different areas of business intelligence are some points that are worth mentioning.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

Virtualization, mobile application and cloud technology. Virtualization gives us immense flexibility, scalability and saving of costs. Mobile applications enhances customer experience through self service and indirectly reducing business costs and can also aid in monetizing the appropriate areas in the mobile space. And last but definitely not the least, is the revolution called cloud technology.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

Yesteryear IT heads were geeks, they talked in bits and bytes. Today CIOs or IT Heads are also geeks, but smart geeks. They understand technology in the finest details and also have a good grip on business related functions. They talk in different languages with different business verticals; in the language that business understands and they translate this to the IT fraternity in the language that IT understands. Also the CIO of today cannot be someone without a vision and a strategy. He has to be at least 12 to 24 months ahead of business. Today, CIOs have to be agile and responsive. If you look at my role, I touch almost all verticals in my company, from Sales to Marketing, Call centers to Customer Service etc.

Lessons learned and advice to fellow CIOs

My first and foremost advice is to be on a very strong footing with vision and strategy for the organization that they are in. The direction that you take is the direction for growth in that company for years to come.
The second message is “keep your ears to the ground and don’t forget your basics”. In my experience, I have seen a lot of senior level executives losing the pulse on the ground once they reach unassailable heights. My last message is “keep yourself updated, regardless of your environment. Attend seminars, webinars, and conferences and read a lot so that your knowledge is up-to-date”.