5 benefits of business networking

Veneeth Purushotaman, Chief Information Officer, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, believes that time spent among peers is the wisest business investment. By Shweta Gandhi

“Talk about work-life balance and everyone around you turns into philosophers and preachers,” says Veneeth Purushotaman, CIO, Fortis Healthcare Ltd. “As CIOs we’re wired on forever because of the business’s dependency on technology. We’re also leaders so we’re called on even when there’s a non-tech exigency. Therefore, when you have to further share non-office hours with vendors and attend ICT events, you think twice. But over time I’ve learnt that taking the time out to network has many advantages. Some of which will actually help you do your job better.”

Veneeth has 20 plus years of experience in enabling technology in pharma, education and retail sectors. He was recently recognised as a Healthcare and Pharma Icon at CIO Power List 2016. Here, he tells us why networking makes it to his list of strategic tools for business success.

You get an extended family
“Inspite of the several events and conferences we attend, we CIOs believe that we have somehow cracked this. It could be due to the fact that we all gel well together and love each other’s company so much so that we look forward to some of the events. During a recent event, the vendor had called us CIOs early so that they could get some exclusive time for one-on-ones. Upon seeing us huddled in one corner, they realised that each of us knew the other from before; I could understand the frustration of the vendor who asked me, ‘How do you get along so well with each other? You seem to be meeting like long-lost friends!’”

You get your hands on the latest technology
“Most of the time, such networking events and vendor meetings are time well spent. We get to learn about new technologies and, more importantly, the application of this technology as case studies from other CIOs. We CIOs are face to face with new tech trends that would in the near future take the IT industry by storm, and we are given the first taste of it.”

You learn what no business school will ever teach
“Looking back, I too faced challenges taking time out for networking and events. Travelling to and from work takes a good four hours out of your day when in Mumbai. Add to that a four-hour event in the evening and it does feel like you’re sacrificing your family time. But, in the long run, I found the time worth investing in. I attribute a great deal of my learnings to the interactions I engaged in at these events. You end up learning things from your peers that no business school would have ever taught you, like your learnings from failures and successes.”

It’s how you meet mentors
“These networking events also connect you with established industry veterans, and if you get along well with them, they could serve as your mentors. Mentorship truly helps as experienced CIOs are able to better understand circumstances and provide meaningful guidance. On the other hand, interacting with your seniors in a social setting can improve your work relationship. I now ensure my team members spend a fair share of their off-work time at such events. I initiated this, just like my mentors did with me sometime back, knowing very well that some would take to it like a fish to water while others may not.”

You’re exposed to some great ideas
“We take pride in our presence on social media sites, but the time spent socialising in person is no match at all to LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Facebook put together. There is something old school about meeting in person and exchanging your business cards. Sometimes, the best conversations and ideas can come from a person who was a mere stranger to you a few hours ago. CIOs should definitely see more of each other, cherish and continue this journey while learning from each other.” 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


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