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IT leadership Key for consistent Results
Ratnakar Nemani
Group CIO-Himatsingka Seide
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Leaders are expected to perform before they preach. In an action centric profession like IT where change is a constant, IT leadership is expected to deliver consistent results constantly. While shouldering such responsibility, they need to maintain their accord of agility, consideration of long term benefits for the organization while commensurately promoting their self-interest of career development.

They have to ensure the important guidelines of ROI (Return on Investment) and KRAs (Key Result Areas) on established deadlines both for their personal record, the company well-being, as well as for their team as a whole. Even a small snag may prove to be very pricey.

As we all know, the times are becoming tougher and recessionary. As an IT leader, I personally feel that IT spent has to be treated as an Investment which should fuel the growth or contribute to the bottom-line in the form of savings. This can be possible only when IT leaders are also financially literate. Here, I would like to refer to one interesting survey conducted by Harvard (article published in HBR-Oct). The survey established the following dilapidating results:

• 38 percent of the surveyed C level executives to supervisors scored just an average
• Majority were unable to distinguish Profit from Cash
• Many do not know the difference between Profit & Loss Account and Balance Sheet
• 70 percent could not pick the correct definition of “free cash flow”.

Even a layman can guess that financial illiteracy in the managerial ranks can be a crippling weakness for the organization. IT leaders should understand the prominence of these matters and strive to imbibe these concepts. This financial knowledge should optimize strategy. It should enhance the IT leaders tact, situational analysis in the changing environment, timely service delivery, keeping in mind:

1. Contemporary Technology
2. Cost Optimization
3. Revenue Generating Opportunities

Gradually, they have to create credibility and become a trusted business partner to ensure longevity of their career development. For instance, in 2010, our President (operations) was skeptical about our ability to replicate everything he was looking for on the ERP application that we were deploying. As such, he preferred to jettison the home-grown program for that particular set of processes. It took us three months to win him over, but win him over we did, by continuing to keep the in-house program to his satisfaction, while we built the same process on the ERP platform. Not only this occurrence, in fact, my every initiative was many times negated and then accepted. Still, I am never abated as I feel that we work harder when we face hurdles.

Some of the works in my last eight years:

1.Hybrid Model - In 2004, entire IT has been outsourced addressing huge attrition rate. In 2007, to improve the processes, I had to build in-house team reducing opex by 10percent. In 2010 (in another company), I managed hybrid model (outsourcing + in-house team), addressing both attrition and reduction in opex.

2. Virtualization – In 2005, implemented thin clients across corporate office giving twin benefits of highly secured contemporary technology with an opex savings of 30 percent.

3.Revenue Generation - In 2008, extended the in-house IT and ERP skills in the local SME market providing services in ERP and IMS (Infrastructure Management Services) and created revenue generation opportunity for the company.

4.IT Strategy - In 2010, IT roadmap for five years has been established. ERP implementation on private cloud and IT department as shared services across the group has been done. This has again given the twin benefits of contemporary technology and cost optimization in the form of capex and opex. Thus, my every action is nothing less to waging a war and my team mates, needless to say, stand by me in sun and rain. My strength and career development lies in their relentless conviction in me.

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