Pravin Savant, Group Chief Technology Officer, MullenLowe Lintas Group, gives us a glimpse into the business of IT.
Pravin Savant is a technocrat with over 25 years of work experience driving organisation-wide technology initiatives along with business functions. He has worked across various domains and sectors including media and entertainment, FMCG, manufacturing and supply chain. Some of his project initiatives include SAP-ERP, Peoplesoft HRMS, intellectual property management, mobility, and collaboration platforms. Here, he talks to us about his role and that of IT in business.
Tell us a bit about your role.
“My current role is a group wide responsibility as group chief technology officer. MullenLowe Lintas Group and Interpublic Group have taken quite a few significant steps in driving business transformation with a solid technology platform. Our team has been closely involved in this journey, wherein the role of IT as a function migrated from a support function to business enabler. On a wider perspective, we are also exploring areas of presenting Indian IT skills for global enterprise benefits with a rationalisation approach.”
What are the priorities for your business and how is IT helping to achieve them?
“Our business is completely about customer service and so the priorities are clearly about providing better customer service and experience. It’s also important to have visibility to measure the same for different lines of service. IT works closely with different business units and stakeholders on such initiatives—from design to delivery.”
One thing that IT departments should do better?
“IT departments are sometimes totally below the radar and over-occupied in the routine operational tasks with very little business alignment. At other times, IT might be at the peak of inflated expectations taking centre stage on the radar. It will help to have a structured process to align with business, define services (levels), governance structure and also communicate. There is scope to do better in this area.”
One thing that CIOs should learn from business?
“In most organisations, and most CIOs are essentially managing IT as a cost centre. There is a huge learning to gain from business, which runs as a profit centre. This is in areas of decision-making, measuring outcome and sensitivity for net results.”
If you could choose an alternative career what would it be?
“Am not sure I have the luxury to choose an alternative career at this stage. However, I enjoy academics and teaching can be a fantastic opportunity to stay tuned with new thought processes and share and learn. I have had the privilege to learn from some of the finest teachers in the world and it would be a nice opportunity to draw inspiration from that experience and try something worthwhile.”
What book has influenced you the most?
“I enjoy reading and in that I enjoy reading biographies. There is a unique inspiration to draw from individuals who have made their mark in respective fields. I have read with equal interest biographies of famous sports persons, political leaders as well as business leaders. To name a few that influenced me a lot would be Jack Welch’s Straight From The Gut and Iacocca by Lee Iacocca. It’s quite an inspiration to read their journey through the walk of life and lead some of the largest enterprises in the world.”