“It won’t be long before CIOs are running organisations”

Dhananjay Prasad, CIO, Hero BPO and Hero Mindmine, and CIO Power List 2017 winner, tells us how CIOs can transition to larger roles and generate business value. By Satyaki Sarkar

Dhananjay Prasad is a technology veteran who believes a CIO’s role is now that of a Chief Innovation Officer as had been coming over past few years; a role that will see them running the operations of a company. “In today’s world CIOs are practically running the business, primarily because they are handling the entire end-to-end business model and optimisation, and managing the entire technology front, as a whole,” says Dhananjay. “CIOs have become Chief Innovation Officers and before long they will actually end up running all the operations. The role of a CEO, managing profit and loss and generating revenue, is soon going to become obsolete, either becoming merged with that of the CIO, or ultimately giving way to CIOs who will end up heading the organisation.” Here, Dhananjay, who was recently awarded as an HRMS Icon at CIO Power List 2017, tells us four ways CIOs can increase business value in their organisation.

1. Understand the business thoroughly
“The first step is to understand the business completely. If your grasp of the business is not good, it becomes difficult to visualise what kind of automation, upgradation, or optimisation can be done. An understanding of the business helps you identify the gaps, and how they can be eliminated to enhance accuracy and improve efficiency. Realising the need for enhanced communication with end customers/users, we have implemented an omnichannel approach using automation and AI. This way we can communicate with customers on multiple channels. So a customer who doesn’t wish to speak over the phone can be assisted on any other medium, including social media. It makes communication easier, and harnesses the benefits of automation and machine learning to create a single platform for customer servicing and where the info can be entered into an algorithm to suggest ways to further reduce the average handle time for a customer in the BPO industry.”

2. Upgrade employee skills so RPA is not a threat
Nowadays, if a CIO tells management he wishes to implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA), the primary concern is that the employees handling that particular role will no longer be of any use. However, when I implemented the omnichannel approach it gave me an opportunity to further upgrade and develop my employees’ skill sets so that they could perform more specialised, precision-based jobs. This ended up being a huge boon. It pushed them to further upgrade their skills and take up higher roles in the organisation.

3. Utilise resources efficiently
“When I was with Keane, now known as NTT Data, our entire IT setup, including our data centres and employees, was worth millions of dollars and we had resources spread across 18 countries. We had an employee base of 800, dedicated to IT. So I calculated the actual operational expenses and started billing different departments accordingly, based on the pay-per-use model. For instance, if there were 10 employees in HR, out of whom only four used laptops, and three used the desktops, I would charge HR only for those individuals for that day. I utilised these finds for whatever IT investments I needed, without asking the company for any additional revenue. It was simply the allocation of credits that ended up being efficient in freeing up resources. The company was the same, the resources were the same, I was simply transferring the money from my right pocket to my left pocket.”

4. Make it easy for the board to say yes
“As a result of the success of the pay-per-use model I did not need additional revenue from the board to invest in new technology/processes. I could implement the changes needed and showcase the success to the board. So the next time I went to the board and informed them that I wanted to adopt a new innovation or revolutionary process to drive profits, they had no choice but to say yes. This opened up countless possibilities for improvement, bypassing the hurdles of revenue and uncertain ROI. The conversations were then about the best processes to implement and the most efficient machines to be put into use. I had won their vote by efficiently allocating resources to streamline and improve output at no additional cost to the company.” 

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