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Sandip Chakraborty

"Executing smaller projects on an agile mode at a greater pace is a unique lesson that I’ve learnt."

Sandip Chakraborty
Sr. VP & Head-IT & Digital Marketing
Bharti AXA General Insurance

Sandip has over 24 years of work experience in the field of General Insurance. He was responsible for shaping IT Infra/Application set up of multi branch of couple of General Insurance Start Up Companies including formulating & implementing the business process management. He started his career with National Insurance Company Limited where he worked in multiple projects and departments to gain expertise in underwriting, sales and claims. Currently he has been given an additional charge of ramping up of revenue under fast growing Digital Marketing space. 

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

A lot of new technologies are invading the market such as big data, cloud, in-memory computing etc. Mobile apps and web technologies such as HTML5 are changing the way applications are designed and developed. Social media is growing at rapid pace and everyone wants to take first mover advantage in this area. With the advent of so many opportunities the main challenge lies with how to embrace new technologies with existing IT ecosystem to give maximum returns at fastest possible time. The new technologies are forcing enterprises to revisit their IT architecture to get an integrated platform and ecosystem where the new technologies can be meshed to the existing legacy and other ERP systems and act as accelerators to the business.

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 problem is not the lack of technology solutions; the problem is more internal focused and primarily relates to business-IT gap. Business focuses on strategy, new opportunities and initiatives, external market threat etc. Whereas IT aims to deliver to business through a process which is formal and structured. This many a time leads to communication gaps between business people and IT. Proper business architecture can effectively act as an interface between business and IT. Technologies are available, but there is shortcoming on basic understanding of business architecture to use these technologies at the most optimum manner so that we can reach out to the masses or make ourselves efficient. This in my opinion is actually the biggest pain area.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

1) HTML5 and web technologies are becoming major forces in mobile application development– it has simplified development frameworks to create native, hybrid and Web Applications using same code base. 
2) Cloud providers will strive to bring more security and secured integration capability with organization’s enterprise applications. This will enable a faster cloud adoption. Currently mid to large size organizations are still skeptical and use cloud to store non critical information or use multiple apps available in cloud on SaaS mode. 
3) In- memory computing is about storing database of record in main memory and not on disk. This is radically changing the user experience, business today requires real time decision making and forward-looking analytics. 

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO 

My role and responsibility involves developing and retaining a strong IT team capable to work in multiple platform for multiple agile projects. I’m also responsible to develop a fast IT to match the expectation of Speed to Market by business and acting as a catalyst to tap the opportunities identified by business. It is the responsibility of a CIO to excite the team to grab innovative projects. 

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

Business is continuously being challenged by market dynamics. Executing smaller projects on an agile mode at a greater pace is a unique lesson that I’ve learnt. It is better to have scope for agile methodology and bring out the solution in a faster pace in phased manner. It gives ample room to test as to whether the innovation really works and secondly we save on cost. This brings out to the concept of ‘test and learn’ process. For fellow CIOs, it is always better to have a common forum to share the thought process as everybody is facing the same market challenges and the forum should be a fit place to share the success and failure stories and also the best practices.