Merging Business and Information

Puneesh Lamba, Vice President - Information Technology, BILT

The evolving technology has made essential to be abreast with time and to adopt nascent technologies that allows to expand and to delve within them directing towards growth. Out of many new technology trends that are impacting day to day operations these days, the most challenging, disruptive and meaningful trends are in four areas which are Social Media, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud Computing. Social Media has already taken the world by storm and witnessed the power of facebook, twitter and linkedin. This is one of the areas for organizations to spend a lot to build online presence, to interact with customers, to build brands and to serve as well as to take feedback from customers. It must not be surprising if school organizations build a whole new business stream around social media leveraging its vast reach.

The major technology trend these days is ‘mobility’ which has triggered a race with time for CIOs to come up with their organization’s BYOD policies fast so that Gen Z employees could work with them for higher productivity. The receding sale of desktops around the globe and fast improving sales of mobile & tablets is just evident that mobility is the future of technology. It all started with viewing mails on mobile and now most of the new applications are specifically made for them which have brought another angle of security into picture. Associated with this, are the challenges that have been overcome, which formalizes the policies of BYOD. The other important trend is Analytics that has graduated to analytics of widely available unstructured data on web. It is the latest avatar of BI and is seen as one of the tools that have the potential to make direct impact on business top-line and bottom-line as it gives excellent insights to the management for taking strategic decisions.

The last life-size trend these days is cloud computing which started with a buzz, but fizzled due to security concerns and emerged again stronger than ever when businesses started realizing its benefits. This is a game changer for businesses and has helped umpteen organizations to scale very fast or to reach larger customer base within a span of time. It is a key to organizations moving from capital intensive data center model to OPEX model which is more flexible. Thinking about security, security of data, exit clauses, modalities of taking the data back, interoperability and billing modalities pose a challenge and it is imperative that IT team involves business, legal as well as marketing teams while formulating the cloud strategy and document.

The technology vendors over the last few years have evolved and have started offering more solutions than just technology and has certainly bridged the gap between what is required and what is provided, but there are few areas like lack of interoperability between different clouds and non-availability of connectivity in remote areas of country which impacts paper, steel and oil industries specially, which are still not offered by vendors. One of the very important solution gaps is “How will unified communications work in organizations without a solution from these vendors which can compress audio and video signals to optimize bandwidth?”

Issues facing CIOs today

The 3 biggest issues CIOs face today are: fast obsolescence of solutions, integration across platforms and ever increasing need of IT Security. The life of an IT solution is short-lived as something better is seen in no time and to move to the new solution at least to match customers’ speed.

The challenges of integration across platforms is a tricky one and are tackling this by consolidating more of our solutions on a single platform to reduce the need of integration and also best of breed systems are in development with our own architecture.

The issue of IT security is an ongoing issue and every organization has IT security policy, but the more important part is to implement it strongly and at the same time the freedom of employees should be least compromised.

CIOs focusing more on Information than Technology (in Information Technology) are able to relate more with business within the organization. Once CIOs are connected with business, business stakeholders start seeing them as their partner to enable growth, leading to a better shape to drive innovation within the organization. Innovation is always linked to larger areas with huge returns (tangible or otherwise), however we should always be on a lookout for low hanging fruits while our quest is on, for larger objectives. In addition of their own benefits, this creates a drive within the organization to start looking at already existing areas and target small innovations to improve factors like productivity, efficiency or customer satisfaction.