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Vipin Kumar

"Never sell IT as technology to business. They simply don’t understand it."

Vipin Kumar
Group CIO
Escorts Limited

With over 20 years of rich experience in IT, Vipin’s goal has been to ensure meaningful alignment of IT with overall business goals to generate great value through technology. Prior to Escorts, he was heading the IT for Jindal Steel & Power where he was involved in complete IT infrastructure setup and SAP implementation across the group.

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Currently, there are many challenges enterprises are facing with technology to meet their business needs. Data security, non- availability of robust infrastructure, absence of standard off- the- shelf applications especially for mobile and M2M deployments and lack of open standards are some of the concern areas.

I expect the IT industry, government and other stakeholders to work closely to resolve the above issues and pave the way for faster adoption of emerging technologies by enterprises.

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

Over the last decade IT has transformed businesses by being the key enabler but there are still areas where IT solutions are yet to mature. Technologies like mobility, BYOD, M2M communications are in evolution phase which may take some time to mature.

Information security is another area where organizations want a unified security layer instead of the multi layered architecture currently available.

These technologies, once matured, will immensely help IT in addressing key issues of changing business environments.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

IT being knowledge engineering is evolving all the time. There are many new technologies like enterprise mobility, BYOD, In- memory analytics, collaborative technologies, converged infrastructure, M2M applications and increased use of social media which are impacting business environment in a positive way. Enterprises are becoming more customer centric resulting in greater deployments of customer facing technologies.

Enterprises have become sensitive to the security of their critical data leading to the adoption of security solutions around DLP, IRM and managed security services.

These technology trends have already started impacting business and as they further mature, we will see greater adoption of these technologies by organizations.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

My primary role as a Group CIO at Escorts is to align IT with business needs. To achieve this, I interact closely with business to understand their pain points, future plans, find solutions and help create futuristic vision diagrams for the organization. As a CIO, I ensure that IT and business work very closely and evolve together. One of my key responsibilities is to evaluate emerging technologies for understanding their business benefit, ensure complete business buy- in of IT initiatives and evolve IT as enabler and value generator rather than as a support and technology department.

Lessons learned and your advice for fellow CIOs

Throughout my career, I had the good fortune of working in highly demanding and competitive environments and managing very large deployments of IT. There are many key lessons I have learnt during this journey which I feel will be of use to my fellow CIO’s. Some of them are stated below:
• Never sell IT as technology to business. They simply don’t understand it.
• Always make sure that the business value of IT deployment is clearly brought out and shown to business. They will understand and accept it faster.
• Allow business to lead critical IT projects especially in business applications. They will feel empowered and get a sense of ownership. This will ensure enhanced cooperation and support from business leading to faster, smoother and successful implementations.
• Encourage the creation of working environment where business is seen as the owner, executioner and the ultimate beneficiary of the IT deployment. IT should be seen as the key facilitator helping business to transform and grow.
• Avoid giving ROI’s especially for IT projects which directly enable business like ERP, CRM, business intelligence etc. Encourage the business stakeholders to demonstrate and own the added value they will get from such IT deployments.