Radhakrishnan G, Vice President – Info Tech, Biocon Limited, tells us the strategies he uses to manage the onus of constant innovation at the biopharmaceuticals company. By Shweta Gandhi
“I am a workaholic,” confesses Radhakrishnan. “But I still find time for myself.” He understands the importance of keeping aside time to reflect. Radhakrishnan’s seasoned and meticulous approach to work has helped him carve out time for himself in the day, and now he relentlessly and harmoniously pursues his goals. For his efforts and contribution, he was recently recognised as a Transformation Icon and Healthcare and Pharma Icon at CIO Power List 2016.
Radhakrishnan started his career as a computer programmer and worked as a consultant with Biocon for six years. He then joined the company full-time, and has been associated with it for over two decades now; he currently serves as its Vice President – Info Tech and manages global IT operations. Biocon has always been focussed on innovation and enabling access to affordable healthcare for patients, partners and healthcare systems across the world. Here, Radhakrishnan tells us five areas he focuses on to stay ahead of the game.
1. Start your day with a fresh mind
“I get up at 4 am. And for the next three hours I dedicate my time to exercise. I do some yoga and practice Pranayama. Even if I skip one day of this, it feels like I’m missing something. I’ve noticed that it keeps me more active, improves my concentration, and provides patience. It also helps me stay calm in the face of challenges, and not get hyperactive; that way I’m able to give my team resourceful suggestions. Over the weekends I indulge in some spiritual activities. It rejuvenates me and helps my mind stay agile.
“I also believe in coming to office before time. This ensures that other colleagues see me as a role model—I manage 50 people under me. If you’re not an early riser, it’s okay, as long as you reach work with a fresh mind.
2. You have to manage the team and yourself
“When you’re at the top-most level, apart from your everyday responsibilities, you also have to motivate your team and ensure they are always in high spirits. To become a successful CIO, you need to interact with your colleagues. You have to be a good marketing person and a good observer. If there is an issue, you have to fix it, and you need to have the mandatory tech skills to handle the problem. This is one challenge that CIOs face, for there are multiple technologies that you need to know. Objectivity is becoming an important factor in today’s world, and securing the IT database for a large multinational is extremely difficult. That’s where digitisation and automation come in handy.”
3. Become adept at business
“CIOs today are not limited to IT—they have learned the necessary business skills. Gone are the days when the IT department was only there in a ‘keeping the lights on’ capacity. If a CIO wants to be successful, he has to be a business enabler. He has to be on the lookout for how he can help the business and see if the benefits are tangible or intangible. Even if you are not able to adopt a new technology completely, you may have to align your business requirements according to it.
4. Stay one step ahead of tech
“I read a lot of community forums, e-magazines, newsletters, relevant CIO and techie websites that provide in-depth analysis and information that can be applied to the business. I’m always talking to people, networking, getting knowledge from peers, what they’re doing, and becoming aware of the global standards that drive business. I also make sure my team identifies the right way to use the tech we adopt, and I’m constantly encouraging them to stay updated with trends.
5. Focus on deliverable projects
“Currently we have a project to go entirely paperless—it’s going to take time, and it will require a lot of education, training and addressing challenges. A CIO must ensure that any project he under takes is not based on partial completion—the end result should benefit the business, whether it is the commercial aspect or compliance. We initiated our server virtualisation around five years ago, and started it for desktop a year ago. Our current plan is to eliminate the desktop and adopt a thin client, which we aim to accomplish in the next five years. We are also driving digitisation for marketing and sales force effectiveness, while going on virtualisation, and planning towards security and compliance.”