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CIOs, CTOs not ‘technical plumbers’ anymore

Jul 25, 2014


Published By : The Economic Times

In today’s fast evolving corporate world, technology and business are two sides of the same coin. Technology is critical to enable businesses’ to enhance efficiency and cut costs. For this to happen, CIOs/CTOs/Technology heads have to transform from being ‘technical plumbers’ to ‘business enablers’.

To address this change, TechGig.com, an online technology community, started a series of boardroom discussions on ‘The Evolution of Role of CIO/CTO: Information and Technology to Innovation’.

The first edition of the series was recently held in Mumbai. Amit Das, MD & CEO 3i Infotech BPO and global head-BI & Analytics, 3i Infotech Ltd; Nataraj N, CIO, Hexaware Technologies; Prameet Savla, CTO, AccelyaKale; Sanjiv Patki, COO, Allied Digital; and Rasesh Shah, SVP-key accounts and operations, Fractal Analytics, attended the session.

Is talent discovery and management a challenge?

Initiating the discussion, Nataraj N of Hexaware Technologies said, “We have to re-skill and re-engineer for innovation. Organisations should focus on tapping relevant skills in new talent and coaching existing talent for innovation.”

Sharing a product development company’s perspective, Prameet Savla of AccelyaKale said that to stay on the top of their game, product development companies need to have talent that can think out-of-the-box, which leads to disruptive products in the market.

Rasesh Shah of Fractal Analytics pointed out that being in the business of solving problems, they look for talent that understands business, technology and statistics and is able to do client servicing, all together. “Our biggest challenge is to find all these skills in one person and train them in a particular technology, which is changing by the minute.

According to Amit Das, MD & CEO 3i Infotech BPO and global head-BI & Analytics, 3i Infotech Ltd, technology has become like an assembly line. “Most companies are hiring the business person; the technology person; the statistics person, separately. To manage these people, they hire a client-servicing person. The biggest challenge is that our system is not designed to nurture or mentor talent as they grow.”

“Universally, the kind of skills required by tech companies cannot be imparted at the college level. Cross skilling in terms of business, technology, statistics and client-servicing is most important for them as they grow in the organisation. However, this is not easy to achieve as this will lead to efficiency loss,” added Sanjiv Patki of Allied Digital.

Driving Innovation

Rasesh Shah: “It is the power of social recognition that motivates employees to innovate.”

Prameet Savla: “People who can and want to innovate seek social acceptance from their peers and leaders.”

Amit Shah: “To foster innovation, we host ‘Idea Bulls’ camp where we ask employees what the next big idea/solution is where the company should invest. We then recognise the best ideators in the group.”

Nataraj N: “We provide funding for great ideas and innovators in our company and involve them in productisation of their idea.”

Sanjiv Patki: “We encourage team innovation over individual innovation. There are people who are shy and are not good communicators, but have great ideas. To tap their talent, we have introduced the practice of brain mapping/writing.”

Experts agreed that the business environment is changing rapidly, acting as a catalyst for many start-ups. Indian companies, large, medium and start-ups, are getting to a point where they will be leaders in the marketplace and organisational innovation.

Key Takeaways

 Job Rotation, re-skilling and rewards & recognition motivate tech talent to innovate
 Creating the next level of tech talent is the biggest challenge
 Institutes should move beyond curriculum and focus on innovation
 School and college curriculums should allow cross-linkages; so an arts student can become an analyst or an engineer
 CIOs should focus on building a culture of knowledge sharing to drive innovation