‘CIOs need to see the value of business transformation’

Prasad Patil, Chief Technology Officer, JM Baxi Group, emphasises the necessity of innovation to meet the needs of the future. By Shweta Gandhi

Prasad Patil is a man who looks to the future for an understanding of the present. He believes in ideating and coming up with solutions that can transform future business problems. “Business transformation has become something that CIOs have to acknowledge, and they have to move beyond the traditional infrastructure,” says Prasad. “They have to focus on driving value to the business.” Prior to JM Baxi, Prasad worked with Essar Group and Mahindra & Mahindra, where there was a dedicated team that only looking at tech from an ideation perspective. “It was a mix of ideation and business transformation, wherein the entire concept of innovation was thrown in together. The theme was to look at the advances in tech that could drive value to business processes, and we saw business transformation as a prime role,” he says.

Here, Prasad, who was recently awarded as a Logistics Icon at CIO Power List 2016, tells us why and how CIOs can implement business transformation.

IT-enabled business products
“For big conglomerates, innovation has to be the primary need, with transformation playing an important role. But IT has a larger role to play here, by delivering IT-enabled business products that can act as a differentiator and help add a USP to the business. In the long run, the idea is to optimise and reduce operations cost, which is also driven by IT. Companies need to start using this model of ideation to help drive businesses.”

Create an innovation steam
“CIOs should strive to create a business transformation team that also includes people from other departments. There isn’t a specific profile per se for the business transformation team. But there are traits that these individuals need to have, including a thirst to learn, hunger to do new things, a flair and attitude to question the status quo, and also a creative streak to think of how to do it. A CIO has to identify people not only from the IT team, but also from the business team, who can be empowered with basic IT skills.”

Clarity of vision and an improvement process
“When it comes to innovation, a company needs to have a vision, and within that the CIO needs to know what to do and what he wants his team to do. Incremental benefits do matter, but the team needs to have a step improvement process—there has to be ROI. A CIO can actually take a call to do something path-breaking, rather than taking the path defined by other leaders in the industry. All this has to be done keeping in mind the organisation’s requirements.”

Best implementation practices
“When companies are implementing SMAC, analysts always looks at first adding mobility internally before implementing it for the end users. But an innovative business team will know that the first phase of mobility should actually be aimed at the consumers. That’s where the best ROI comes from. The takeaway is that most of the business processes have less operational involvement of IT, but the end goal should be a step increase in the digitisation of these processes by enabling IT. There is a lot to be done that can serve business requirements and CIOs who are able to have a business transformation team to drive this will definitely succeed.” 

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