CIOs are increasingly being considered on the business side as well

by Priyanka Bhattacharya    Jul 19, 2011

As a CIO, how have you seen your role within organisations evolve over the last few years? Do you think a CIO today is more involved in the business side of things than ever before?

During the course of my career, I had the opportunity to contribute to various functions such as customer delivery, account management, resource management, HR, recruitment, training and development. This varied experience gave me a big picture and always helped me in understanding business challenges and providing appropriate technology, and automation solutions.

My belief is that in the IT industry in particular; a CIO apart from his core duty (of managing technology) provides suggestions of automation in technology that would in turn impact business decisions. Hence CIOs are increasingly being considered on the business side as well. CIOs also develop strong connects with senior management and establish credibility and trust amongst other layers of the management team.

What are the pain points in today’s business scenario that a CIO has to deal with?

Issues like ever increasing maintenance costs, retaining and acquiring talent, shrinking budgets are in general the pain points that come with any CIO’s role. Then there are so many new technology offerings with limited references that we come across which makes the decision making process difficult for a CIO.

How do you plan your IT spend every year? What is your technology evaluation process?

We have a process for preparing Annual Operating Plan based on our business goals, and technology roadmap and our IT budget is the outcome of this operating plan. Our technology evaluation process is an elaborate one that includes a requirement analysis, followed by evaluation of the technology offerings, then the Proof of Concept stage with defined acceptance criteria, and finally collection of feedback from other implementation sites.

Shrikant Kulkarni

What kind of time it takes before decision making and deployment of a certain technology and solution?

Depending on the degree of complexity, impact on the business processes and size of the implementation, it can take as less as two months or even more than a year from inception to deployment.

Is cloud computing and virtualization a reality for KPIT? What is your take on the same?

Cloud computing and virtualization are already a reality at KPIT. We have implemented private cloud using Vblock (Solution from Vmware, Cisco and EMC) and are in the process of migrating our corporate applications and 1000+ desktops to cloud infrastructure. We are implementing a private cloud enabling virtualisation of servers, storage and desktops. We are also upgrading our Microsoft Exchange to 2010 and Office Communicator Services to Lync 2010. That apart, we are also planning to upgrade our network backbone to facilitate dynamic VLAN, posture assessment and network access control and to deploy solutions for Centralised Digital Content Management across our offices.
In using cloud computing, we see substantial benefits like faster provisioning, on demand compute, storage resources, higher security and availability, reduction in operational costs, and reduction in energy consumption. However, it is essential to provide for a robust disaster recovery plan to take care of any business contingency.

What is your current IT set up, do give in detail?

We have formed five separate functional areas under IT. We have Data Centre Services team that manages corporate applications and services such as messaging, unified communication, configuration management and various other server and data storage administration activities. Then there is Network and Security Operations team that manages corporate network security applications, data and voice network across offices as well as customer organizations in India and abroad. Our Client Services team manages service desks, end user device support, software and other IT assets management. Our Information Security team defines and implements policies and does periodic reviews of the same.

We also have Information Systems Group which takes care of internal information systems and automation needs. The team has completed SAP deployment for most of the functional areas of the organization and the current projects in the pipeline include e-recruitment and Payroll implementations.