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Susheel Navanale

"There will never be enough skills or the bandwidth in the internal team to deliver the expected projects"

Susheel Navanale
Group CIO
Tata Global Beverages

Susheel has 21 years of global work experience in the IT area. He has worked for multinationals like Unilever and Kennametal in various capacities including regional and global roles before joining Tata Global Beverages.

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

The challenges faced by enterprises are never related to technology alone, but coupled with the organization culture and change management issues, they can become daunting at times. The technology providers need to keep it very simple for the business to embrace change and start deploying technology. The way Apple products came into the enterprise ecosystem without any special effort from anybody is a good case in point. E.g. FMCG companies in particular need better tools to position their brands in light of the explosion of social media and its ever increasing use by the Gen Y.

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

As an IT organization, we are always involved in a range of large projects along with business which deliver the necessary change in the organization. The biggest pain point is the speed with which we can deliver these projects given the huge monolithic nature of some of the IT software and solutions. In comparison, what is possible with some of the new cloud based offerings from some of the vendors is noteworthy. It allows quicker value generation for business and in some cases allows us to ‘fail fast’.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

The business environment around us has become more demanding. Only the companies which focus on the consumer will be able to grow profitably. The revolution in mobile telephony allows us to capture data at a much higher granularity and frequency. It also allows us to get closer to the customer in a way which was not possible earlier. The cloud model to deliver IT solutions faster and at a fraction of the cost is a technology trend which will be exploited by the enterprises in the coming years.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

Over the past few years the role of CIO has enhanced from managing IT services to a business partner who has to work closely with the business to help grow the business while optimising the cost base. The new technologies such as social, cloud, mobility and big data are all available to be exploited and the CIO is expected take a lead to innovate along with the business. There is also an expectation of faster turnaround when delivering the technology projects.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

I have focused on a few principles during my tenure as a CIO, such as.
1. Continuously reconnect with the business and renew relationships with key stakeholders. This ensures better alignment and also allows prioritization of limited resources in the IT function.
2. Focus on execution excellence by the IT team.
3. Work in partnership with IT suppliers to ensure win win for both. There will never be enough skills or the bandwidth in the internal team to deliver the expected projects.
4. Focus on few large projects with high impact instead of numerous incremental initiatives.