Cement IT With Business, Demand CIOs

by Amit Tripathi    Aug 31, 2004

Integrating information technology with business processes, even if it requires going to the extent of changing business paradigms, is the number one concern on every CIOs mind today.

The ’demand’ emerged at the end of the day long 2004 CIO Summit held under the aegis of NASSCOM that began with a CEO panel discussion on ’driving value through IT’ inviting rapt attention from the audience, representing all major verticals using IT.

K G Mohan, VP-IT, Hindustan Lever Limited, in his presentation on the use of technology in manufacturing sector, stressed that organizations need to evolve from decentralized models (most of which involve unit based processes supporting distributed operations), to a centralized IT and shared processes structure that supports a distributed operations’ model. This, according to Mohan, facilitates better monitoring of product value addition, customer relations, and most importantly, ’increased business volume’.

As an example he cited the fact that HLL’s 75 warehouses and 4 regional centers were brought under one national center for commercial processes, which was facilitated by the IT backbone of connectivity, central computing, and workflow messaging.

In recent times we have been hearing of demands to include CIOs in the Board. Echoing a similar sentiment, H. Srikrishnan, executive director, Yes Bank, emphasized that business decision making should involve IT heads; and IT decision making should include the business decision maker of an enterprise.

While there was complete unanimity over the efficacy of business applications, especially in the ERP space, CIOs, in the conference agreed that jumping over to the best of breed solutions might not be the correct approach for enterprises of all hues. It is prescribed that SMEs rather go for a smaller ERP package and implement it initially for crucial areas like finance and procurement.

In the last panel discussion of the day, the TCO bull was taken by its horn, when R P Singh, executive director-IS, BPCL, reiterated that it is extremely crucial for an enterprise head to calculate a comprehensive TCO, before embarking on acquiring high-end applications. Quoting a Gartner report on the same, Singh added that TCO calculation should include both direct costs as on hardware, software, operating systems, administration, technical support and the indirect costs that includes the end user experience, the down time etc.

Tags: CIOs, CTOs