4 things every CIO must do to be successful in 2017

Dr John Cherian, Head of IT, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Philips, tells us the key tasks CIOs must undertake to drive their business in the year ahead. By Satyaki Sarkar

As the Head of IT for three markets for Philips, Dr John Cherian is a key driver for change in internal IT operations and applications, and business-facing applications. Over 18 years, he’s seen first hand how technology can transform a business and is keen to use his knowledge to give Philips a competitive edge over others. He’s seen how the role of a CIO has growth by leaps and bounds and believes that CIOs should now be at the forefront of business growth in an organisation. In an exclusive interview with Bonne Vie he talks about what CIOs must do to take advantage of the technology boom.

1. Efficiently optimise resources
“As far as the IT industry is concerned, as is evident from when server virtualisation first came up, we have always been at a loss regarding efficiently optimising server load and resources. To this day, when speaking about cloud it is the same. The challenge that internal IT faces today is that most of our legacy applications are not meant for the cloud system. So the first thing we need to do is build and develop applications in such a way that they are able to work with the cloud systems in a faster way. Building a local application or system is a lot easier since it has been done year after year. You do not need any major expertise. But when you want to build an application that is cloud compatible, it is like going to a different country and setting up a store that will cater to the entire world. That needs an entirely different understanding from the logistics of the environment to the security risks, the rules, etc. So the mindset of the business has to completely change in accordance with that.”

2. Push for adoption of next-gen technologies as needed
“Today, one of the most low shelf life systems in the world is IT technology. Every moment you discover a new technology coming into play. But our internal teams are usually so slow in adapting to these that general operations tend to fall back into their own comfort zone. As IT leaders, we not only need to challenge ourselves, but also the teams which we handle, to pick up new technology, learn the necessary skills, and put it into their KPIs to ensure that they are all updated in the latest skills and developments in the market. For example, the old HTML pages are being replaced by dynamic platforms, so as to maximise the convenience and mobility offered to the users. At the same time, it is also important to constantly keep learning about new security trends, so that when a new technology is launched, we can make our systems secure enough to get them going. While we IT leaders are mostly always eager to adopt new technologies, we don’t always place the same importance in building the necessary skills within our team’s and in my opinion that is the mindset that we immediately need to change.”

3. Utilise the treasure trove of data you have
“Today if you look at the IT infrastructure of any company, you’ll find that each and every organisation is potentially sitting on a treasure trove of data, but the challenge they face is that they are usually lacking the right tools or the right business analysis acumen and skillsets to utilise and exploit that data. For example, in the region I’m operating in, Philips sells a lot of equipment on credit, and we have to figure out ways of recovering the revenue later. Instead of sitting back and waiting for it to happen, what we should do is build a partnership with the business, know how they are operating, and then pull the data in a proper way to help them recover the money faster. Thus, data and information processing is one of the most important tools to make your business maximise its efficiency.”

4. Revenue generation through IT
“While this may not be practical for each and every company, for product companies like ours we need to make sure that we work in tandem with the business solutions part of our enterprise. For example, if you look at healthcare as a sector, we want to make sure that as the head of internal IT we partner with the connected solutions. At the end of the day, business solutions are all about connectivity and data solutions. Apart from an internal IT, we need to also transform to commercial IT, which can generate business and also provide solutions to it, which can be presented and sold in the market.” 

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  • Posted: February 20, 2017 10:02

    Bhaskar Sharma

    Very well Said sirji
  • Posted: February 22, 2017 07:09

    Neela R Krishnamurthy

    Good article and must read for all of us. Completely agree with you and I think most challenging topic is to move to Next Gen. Having fear of new technology with increase in Cost. Technology Transformation is must to speed up business/user experience/process and move to next level.
  • Posted: February 26, 2017 07:23


    A thought to be actioned !! Nice one

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