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“Exciting opportunity to use my global experience at Essar to bring value to AGC Networks customers”

Jayantha Prabhu, Group CIO, Essar Group, talks about taking on the additional role of Head – India Business at AGC Networks.

With a career spanning over 20 years, almost all of them at Essar Group, Jayantha Prabhu has long straddled the world of technology and business. He has spearheaded the group’s global transformation of business processes is a firm believer in the power of technology to change the business landscape. His recent appointment as the Head – India Business at AGC Networks seems only a natural progression for this industry stalwart. Here, he talks to us about the latest development in his career trajectory.

What would be your key focus area going in to AGC Networks?
“To begin with, my immediate task is to further bolster customer relationships by building a partnership with the right global OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) that provide the best solutions for our customer. We already have partnerships with leading OEMs to provide tailor-made digital solutions to help our customers in their transformation journey by safeguarding their existing infrastructure, while also providing new, ground-breaking technology solutions for the way ahead. AGC Networks already has these partnerships and provides digital solutions across the Network and IT Infrastructure, Information Security and Enterprise Digital Applications, and Unified Communications space.

“At Essar, innovation has always played a key role in the technology roadmap, and we’re constantly striving to discover and formulate new approaches to achieve the organisation’s goal. It is a similar practice at AGC Networks, where we’re looking at the customer’s business objectives. To this purpose we constantly upgrade our team’s skills so as to provide seamless service delivery and achieve customer goals, while also ensuring we are meeting global security standards.”

What are some of the learnings from your time as a CIO that you will bring with you to this business role?
“Over the last 25 years I’ve seen the technology landscape evolve drastically in India. During this journey, from being a cog in the huge wheel of the IT framework to spearheading Essar’s IT transformation journey and working with the group’s various diversified businesses, there have been numerous learnings on how to deal with change and harness its power for advancement. And at Essar it was always a clear that IT would not be used in an isolated manner, but IT initiatives/solutions would be used to ensure business objectives are being met and enhanced. This is what I have spearheaded during Essar’s transformational journey. The learnings have been invaluable, and this experience will help in my new role at AGC Networks in creating and selecting the right innovative solutions to suit customers’ needs, environment, and business.”

 In these changing times, do you think CIOs are now better prepared to take on business roles?
“The Essar Group always provides opportunities for employees to expand beyond their proficiencies and encourages them to take on new responsibilities. It has been the same for me as well, and I’ve been fortunate to be entrusted with this additional responsibility as India business head for AGC Networks.This role seems like a logical next step to leverage my experience of Essar’s transformational journey and knowledge of technology to help AGC’s customers grow their business and stay ahead of the competition. With IT being used to deliver business goals, it seems only logical for organisation’s to leverage existing competencies. While a business head role does demand more focus on business strategies, a CIO also works in sync with the business and customers to understand their problem areas to find the right solution while also delivering business objectives. So CIOs are already working in the business arena. It’s just that they might need to learn a few new aspects of business management.”

What are some of the initiatives you’ve undertaken at Essar Group?
“My role as a CIO at Essar requires me to focus on the latest IT trends and harness them to drive business transformation across Essar’s different business verticals that are spread out around the world. I work to understand their problem areas to provide the right technology solution that helps them achieve their business objectives. In my time here I’ve participated in key M&A deals, including the sale of Essar Oil, the largest FDI. I’ve been closely involved with the group’s IT transformation and that has been a great learning experience.” 

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