October - 2014 - issue > CIO Insights

IT: Serious Business

By Suneel Aradhye, CIO, RPG Group & KEC International
Monday, November 24, 2014
By Suneel Aradhye, CIO, RPG Group & KEC International
RPG Enterprises, established in 1979, is one of India's fastest growing business groups with turnover over 18,000 crore. The group has more than fifteen companies managing diverse business interests in the areas of Infrastructure, Tyre, IT and Specialty.

Managing IT as a business has become critical and necessary for every organization's success; gone are the days when it was merely a back-end support function. Business complexities of growing and globalising businesses have percolated in IT as well due to continuously changing paradigm of technology, enlarging business scale, complexities of multiple languages/geographies etc. IT is becoming more and more strategic, intensely operational, hard to staff and as such complex to manage. For successful running of IT as a business, multi-skilling of teams in the technology division is becoming imperative, some of which have expertise in project, change and stakeholder management, continuous improvement, people development and long-term planning. Therefore, IT leadership has to transform itself to run IT as a business.

IT as Marketing/Sales Manager: Like every marketing and sales function, IT also has to develop strategy to predict business requirements, create demand for new, relevant technologies/products and get buy in from stakeholders for investments, which would all require engagement with stakeholders at various levels. Understanding how a business is and shall evolve in future is necessary.

IT as Vendor Development & Procurement Manager: With growing speed, scale and expanding business geographies, creating a right combination/model of service providers and selecting right technologies is the key to success. This requires a good amount of networking and vendor development skills apart from technology/processes capabilities. Considering the fact that significant stakes are involved, procurement at right prices with right financial models from right partners for good after-sales services is essential. IT has to not only keep the operations running with seamless identical experience all across but also focus on continuous evaluation of upcoming technologies, developing proof of concept, assess scalability and fitment for long term, and deployment all across. Strategic relationships with right technology partners are essential for the same.

IT as Finance Manager: IT is all about "Investment in Technology". Most companies these days have substantial spend on technology. Long-term planning, annual and further granular budgeting, deals structuring, contract management, cash-flow planning, ROI projections and tracking actuals, etc, have all become essential and require fair amount of financial knowledge as well.

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