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"CIO of India" Series: Steering India to Success: Can a CIO Stake Claim?

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This is the first part of the 'CIO of India' series, featuring blogs from renowned Indian CIOs, sharing their vision, mission and strategy as the country's CIO, showcasing what they will bring to the table, and trying to convince why they are an ideal candidate for the job.

 

The first in this series is written by V.S. Parthasarathy, CFO and Group CIO, Mahindra and Mahindra.

What can be the most exciting 'next' job in an enterprise CIO's career? While talk of CIO growth as a business leader is abuzz and getting a 'seat-on-the-board' is hot, how does one outline the future growth aspirations when one has already achieved those? 

Having been the Group CIO, CFO and a part of the Executive Board of a large multinational conglomerate such as Mahindra, the next possible job can be nothing short of a fantastic challenge to my existing capabilities and learning - something that can breach my current threshold and challenge me to go beyond it.

Thinking on those lines, the first job that comes to my mind is that of 'CIO of India'. Trying to bring about development, transparency and accountability in the governing processes of a country as vast and diverse as India, is a challenge that fits the parameters, and rises to the occasion to test my own fortitude. The CIO of India is a job that I definitely want to experience in my lifetime.

But, am I the ideal candidate for this job to stake my claim? My skills and will drive me to pursue the dream of taking India to the world through this position. With the changing social factors and India emerging as a global power, the fulcrum can rest on how we leverage technology, and then leapfrog. Many of the innovations coming our way are because we are best equipped without being burdened with legacy.

Today we are at the crossroads. The CIO would be the only one who can steer India towards the shortest route to success.

In my opinion, the three qualities that the CIO of India should possess are:

     • A 'Global Vision' to get India on the world map as a 'Technology Country'

     • Deep urge towards applying technology in places where its most required

     • Experience of running a federated structure

So, why would I be suitable for this job? What is so special that only I bring to the table? I work for a company which is a microcosm of India. It has a federated structure with 10 sectors and 18 industries, where a 'state and centre' like balance exists. The delegation of authorities is clearly prescribed. Independent boards are operating at unit level and technically strong base exists at the central level for driving the technology decisions. This resembles a model that I believe would be ideal for the CIO of India.

Using the Japanese philosophy of mission as long-term and vision as short-term, let me outline my mission and vision statement as the country's CIO.

Vision

Making India a versatile adapter of IT and lead the world as the most IT savvy country, creating a competitive advantage for India by 2025.

Mission

     • To enable, enhance and engender the country's need and participate in India's drive to be a super power.

     • Establish India as a technology driven country with IT systems which run 'Healthier -Leaner-Faster-Smarter.'

     • Envision the IT needs of the country and map them on the matrix of reach v/s range, in order to ensure optimum penetration of technology only where it is required the most.

    • Serve with humility. Ensure that technology does not overdose our lives and we as a country are equally conscious of the planet earth.

Top Six Priorities

Priority #1: Deploying technology in agriculture sector to uplift the spirit of the rural India by helping them streamline agricultural practises, bringing down the losses in agricultural produce by 50 percent. 'Less Input - Input Later - More output - Output sooner' would be the driving theme.

Priority #2: India is a democracy, and I need to acknowledge the federation that exists. Create a strong central-state environment which fosters growth and consolidation rather than conflicts in the state of affairs.

Priority #3: Ensure technology penetration as 'Healthier-Leaner-Faster-Smarter.' The IT infrastructure has to be there at the base, guided by the above mantra. Keeping the investments to the minimum and squeezing the maximum juice out to make the most of it.

Priority #4: Enabling India Inc's transition to a competitive world by designing policies and processes which will enable smoother conversion to the digitized world of tomorrow, even while maintaining security and working on the risks. The services, processes, developments, and accordingly the projects we undertake would follow the mantra and that too in the same sequence. First, have healthier systems; Make the processes leaner; Developments need to be faster; Solutions should be smarter in the hands of the consumer. Then only can we say that we have digested the technology to suit our appetite.

Priority #5: Technology should 'Enable-Enhance-Engender' India to ensure it gives every opportunity for creating new business models. Every initiative that we take up needs to be categories into these '3 Es'. 'Enable' will help us automate our processes; 'Enhance' would be directed towards the 'wow' experience, 'Engender' would be taking us into the next orbit. Every 'E' has its own potential and focus on each 'E' will be dependent on its position at that point of time and place.

Priority #6: In today's times, we are overburdened with high-tech things all around us, missing out on the many natural things in life. Sustainability is an important facet to look at while dealing with technology. On one side, India has a long history of knowledge base, talent and experimenting. On the other side, the country is full of resources. The missing link is how can we bridge these two, and I am confident that technology can help us to do that bit. I am banking on the upcoming trends of Cloud, Mobility and Internet of Things (IoT) to help India get the tag of 'Prospering Nation.'

This blog is the first part of the 'CIO of India' series from V.S. Parthasarathy. The second part  of this blog will be published tomorrow.

 

(Image courtesy: www.mangoblossomdesign.com)

 

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

V. S. Parthasarathy is the Group CIO & Executive VP, Finance and M&A, Mahindra Group. ...

More about  V S Parthasarathy

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