IT in Business - The New Mantra for the CIO
By Subhojit Roy, Head - IT, SBI Funds Management
Industry is witnessing emergence of several technology trends, which are posing a significant impact on shaping the economy in the future. While one needs to understand the emerging trends, it is more important to know which technology trends will be adopted in the long-run and hence will have disruptive impact on any industry. There is an urgency to distinguish between the hype and the prospective trends capable of unleashing positive impact. One of the trends, which have the potential of transforming business, is Digital Enterprise. Its impact will vary widely among industries. Although digital sales will be significant in many industries such as airlines, music, retailing, hotel, travel and shopping; other industries with clear-cut strategy on digital technology will also gain considerably in market share and customer satisfaction. Most of the industries will have significant bottom-line impact by digital adoption.
Another technology with far-reaching effects is Big Data, which accompanies a massive opportunity for the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector to redefine the services and provide the customers with better service experience using technology in the areas of customer interfaces and cost savings. Big Data and Analytics are the emerging trends in the BFSI industry worldwide. Although Big Data applications are still in the nascent stage, many organisations are experimenting with it, making this as an alternative to traditional data solutions. There will be consolidation of Big Data applications in different areas to arrive at a better understanding.
The entire concept of how the enterprises will be functioning in the near future will undergo a major change with change in employee/customer profile as well as invasion of social networking. Social technologies may play a big role in the new environment; employees, customers and external entities are all embracing social technologies. While the true impact of embedding them into the culture, structure, and workflow of the organizations remains to be seen, it is certain that the companies adapting to a more open and flexible environment will stand out in the future. Understanding social media is now a critical element for success for any enterprise.
Organizations have been pondering on holistic approach in technology architecture and adoption for quite a few years, but we still find that most of the IT vendors are working in silos and the solutions that are not open standard in true sense on many occasions. The idea of partnership between IT vendors and the organisations is not yet realised to a satisfactory extent in most of the organisations in India. Cloud computing is one area, where there is a lot of unrealised potential and adoption of cloud has not been very significant so far.
CIO at the Centre Stage
The expected role of Information Technology (IT) heads has changed significantly over the years, but most of the organisations in India are yet to adapt with the new role. The perception of CIO or IT function among the CEO or business leads is changing, albeit slowly, from being good at helping to run the business to strong at helping to grow the same. As "IT is business" has become the new mantra for a CIO in today's world, all the CIOs are expected to take major business initiatives in order to achieve customer-facing goals and deliver top-line results. Today, some of the major key result areas of a CIO are improving efficiency and effectiveness of business processes, creating new products and services through innovation, controlling enterprise risks and increasing customer reach at market boundary. As most of the CEOs understand the CIO's role critically in today's enterprise, the CIOs should shift their own roles from supply-focused IT providers to business-focused leaders of IT-enabled innovation.
With increased complexity of centralised and networked systems and higher dependency on IT for the operations of any organisation, an IT leader should be able to build a strong core IT team to support the company’s growth and business goals. In order to have successful IT strategy, CIO must build and retain a core IT team with strong capabilities in architecture design, project management and analysis of business requirements. It is seen that some companies appoint business leaders to run the IT organisation with the help of IT-savvy managers to ensure better alignment and collaboration. There is a need to change the mind-set of a CIO in order to adapt with cross-functional and business transformation roles. Today technology is available, but the question is how to adopt the correct technology and use this to build a business model.