Enabling every move with IT
Date: Thursday , August 30, 2012
N Nataraj is the CIO of Hexaware (NSE – HEXT), a provider of IT, BPO services and consulting. Founded in 1990, the company has grown to over 8100 workforce with global delivery centres in North America, Mexico and India with a goal to help clients achieve competitive advantage by combining their IT staff with offshore resources. In his role as the CIO of Hexaware, Nataraj is responsible for entire global IT operations including Information Systems Group and Systems Technology Group at the company. He also heads the Info Security Governance and Infrastructure Management Services. Nataraj holds 18 years of industry experience in the fields of IT, IS and Security. Before Hexaware, he was the CIO of Aztecsoft where he was responsible for IT/IS/Security and Infrastructure Business.
Priorities as a CIO
While driving the overall master plan from the IT perspective, we have clearly indicated the changes considering that the dynamics of IT has been changing. The innovation – revolution talks about the technology industry entering a period of unprecedented changes, which are fast and agile. Hexaware has now become closer to the business than just the conventional way of handling IT.
We are witnessing a lot of changes in innovation at the edge and the rise of mobile devices. We have entered into a “post – PC” world as most people are seen using either or all of the three devices: iPad, Laptop and mobile. The major implication for the IT organizations is in terms of how the services are enabled and implemented into these devices.
The next trend is the changing user expectations and decision structure. To combat all the changing trends we have come up with a vision called "enable every move that we make with IT". Even though our challenges are different at the beginning of every year, our one vision is common. Apart from that, every year we come out with different challenges, typically a vision statement which keeps changing every year.
CIO enables managers to deploy and use IT in business units most effectively. What is most important is CIO needs to understand that the effective use of IT adds only 25 percent to the business values, whereas remaining 75 percent accounts to the soft factors like customer satisfaction and others. From Hexaware’s point of view, the IT is no more linked only to the operational matter which is like saving cost which used to be 2-3 years back. The main driver now is how we want to shape IT internally from our point of view and how we deliver effectively from the business point of view; enable sales work force, delivery, HR and finance to deliver what is expected from board and customer perspective.
The key responsibilities for the CIO in coming years
Most of the CIOs’ perception is changing. Today it is all about adding value to the business leadership role. They should ask three important questions to their organization: how can CIO effectively and efficiently manage IT organization and resources to deliver value? how can CIO enable managers to deploy and use IT in their business units more effectively? and how can CIO become accepted as a member of the senior management team shaping the business strategy and capability needed for enhanced performance?
Several CIOs complain that they have the ability to facilitate, but the organization does not give the budget to implement that. But, they should understand that things are changing, which means the IT budget is no more a bottleneck in the real sense if they are smart enough to the extent that they understand the use of technology and user expectation correctly. This has changed the provision of thinking IT investments in a different manner as cost and cost saving has become one of the important factors in such organizations. The delivery and package has become more important and can be a differentiator today in terms of business.
the key Learning
I think about the business. I believe in thinking out of the box rather than the conventional head of IT and CIO whose principal is to reduce the cost of the technology anyhow. When I took the charge as the CIO of Hexaware, I was very clear on how to create a value within the organization. When I joined in 2009, the slogan to the IT as cost was the most important factor during the time. “Gone are those days when you find a way to save a million dollars, Now you need to find a million ways to save a dollar.” I strongly believe in discussing the effectiveness and efficiency of a technology that is associated with the organization not only in my own team, but with the global business head and articulating what the IT as a vision is and seek responses for whatever I do and if that makes sense to business or to the business intakes.
Innovation regulation has already started happening and the tech industry has entered the greater unprecedenting changes. The users are becoming smarter and if we do not give them the environment, then the business houses are going to stay behind the competition. Innovation has to be done in different ways. The way we have been delivering, most of it cost efficiently, did not come up good by only investing in technology. It was by keeping the fact in mind that how fast we can turn around the infrastructures to the business by implementing the cloud and probably virtualization, can make us stand on the competitive edge. Infrastructure providing from the IT team has become more faster, cheaper and better. As long as we are able to give that distinctive feature, the businesses are much happier.
Mobility has not only changed the demand for the services, but also the devices around which those services will be consumed. It is a very important factor when CIOs make a blue print in an organization to define those applications. They also should think about it on which devices these services will be deployed, so that they are not very much different from the trends of the industries. The most important point is the need to move up in the value chain and clarify the values delivery more critically than ever. It is important to innovate the delivery model by virtue of creating new platforms and IPs and non-linear models, which is SLA model or the output model. These are the things which are pretty much important in today’s world as even with devices which are coming out, the barrier between the work and personal no longer exist and even it is getting worse. You need to also divide in terms of security point of view, when your employees bring it into your organization, how safe you are! Those are the extent use where one needs to have business continuity and security; the core facility including the operations and value that these will be bringing is an important factor in every CIO’s chart. Secondly, focus on the true value of IT. Technology is not just a means to an end to your problems, but you should envision how the implemented technology would transform the ecosystem. An improved transparency to drive efficiency and competition is the third important factor. What is going to drive today’s business is consistently delivering values to its customers.
(As told to Anamika Sahu)