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CIO Strategies for Success: top-flight CIOs explain their strategic priorities for 2011

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, January 9, 2012
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The economic slowdown has accelerated enterprise transformation and India is now shifting into focusing on newer strategies for Management and IT. The Role of a CIO is no more restricted to handling IT issues, they are slowly becoming the Key Business Drivers.

CIOs are responsible for shaping up the future of technology through their intelligent insights and address strategic initiatives and also manage businesses successfully across industries and verticals. The role of a CIO has changed from being an information officer to being an innovative officer.

CIO Strategies Summit organized by SiliconIndia on June 23rd at the ITC Grand Central at Mumbai, focused on what the IT industry can assimilate next?, Driving Innovation and Generating Business Growth, CIO Skill sets to meet Management Expectations and many such aspects.

What the IT industry can assimilate next?

What CEOs and the Board Expects from the CIO and IT Head? IT management can become saturated by supply-side thinking, about what the IT industry will offer next and how best to assimilate that.
Our first panel instead looked at the demand side from the top down - what are boards and CEOs thinking and what business agenda must IT leaders deliver to? Venkat Iyer, Sr. Vice President - Information Technology, STAR India; Sunil Mehta, Sr. VP & Area Systems Director-Central Asia, JWT and Mukund Prasad, Director - Corporate Strategy, Business Excellence & Group CIO from Welspun Group spoke extensively about technology at the strategic level and what needs to be done as a result. Vivek Kale, Group CIO from Raymond laid stress on the key role of transformational CIO in Driving Innovation and Generating Business Growth in a reset world.
Gaurav Mohan, VP Channels & Head of Mumbai Region from Huawei addressed the audience on 'Business drivers, Strategy and Solution for next generation Enterprise IT'

CIO Skill sets to meet Management Expectations

Translating strategic direction into actionable results, achieving the innovation required for competitive business advantage and leading an organization's transformation through its IT capabilities was the core thought of this panel discussion. Bihag Lalaji, Vice President (Special Projects) from Ambuja Cements compared the Cricket World Cup scenario and the common skills MS Dhoni (who was captain of World Cup winning cricket team ) and a CIO have for whom every project is a 'World Cup Series'. He laid down the basic skill sets for any CIO:
- Setting Clear and smart goals
- The planning and budgeting skills of CIOs and involving their teams during this process for success of any project. KRAs defined in advance so that there is no ambiguity.
- Communication with all stake holders and planning the strategy of communication.
- Playing along with team and not as an Individual.
- Ability to deploy, select and train the right person for the job.
- Focusing on past mistakes and managing change skills
- Ability to lead from front during a Crisis.
- Celebrating small successes with team

The Competitive CIO

How do CIOs bring the business acumen and core values they have gained from the experience back into the IT department? How to tackle future demands? Meheriar Patel, CTO & Head - Information Technology from Globus said, 'Build Resilient Architecture, for future ready business demands. Make Information Technology Lead from the Front and make a difference for this Growth to Success!"

-To drive the business forward, the CIO needs to see technology from the business angle and not vice versa.
-The KRAs of the CIO have to align with the business KRAs and business achievements should drive CIO bonuses.
-Change management is vital for the success of any new initiative and the CIO has to drive change management as much as the business.
-At times the CIO also has to re-orient the business understanding of technology and sell the benefits of technology to the business.
-Return on investments are a reality and even transformational technology has to pass the RoI test', said Ramnath Iyer, CTO from Crisil. The panel also had Vikas Gadre, VP- New Business Initiatives, Tata Chemicals and Anil Nadkarni, Chief Information Officer, Thermax who said, 'The CIO needs to be glued with all business initiatives, he needs to be seen as a part of the business team'.

The event then moved on to an interesting session on 'Simplifying Application Management' by Rajesh Raghavan, Solutions Architect from Serena Software. He explained 'Release management automation' and 'Adoption of agile and lean ITSM'.

Emerging Technologies and Trends: The Game Changer?

New technologies such as cloud based services, social media and virtualization give CIOs tools to change IT's direction, strategy and operational profile to pursue growth and continued cost reduction strategies.
Adoption of these technologies has accelerated and is accelerating changes in the role, structure and purpose of IT.

Pratap Gharge, Executive Vice President & CIO from Bajaj Electricals, addressing cloud based services and social networking, said ' Cloud computing is becoming more and more adoptable and affordable and it can be definitely a game changed emerging technology. Social Networking is growing very fast and hence corporate cannot ignore it. Platform of the social networking can be used for several applications like 'Listening to the Customers, Marketing' etc'.

This panel showed us how some of the forward thinking CIOs are betting on new technologies to enable faster growth in their businesses.

The audience was enthralled with the first-hand perspectives they got on some of the most important things CIOs can do in the coming year. They discovered abundant opportunities for 2011 and a chance to meet network with some of the top CIOs at the event. This event was sponsored by Huawei, Ctrl S, Serena and Regus.

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