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CIO Of the Fortnight

Hi, my name's Ananthakrishnan. I was born in Delhi on the 14th of Feb, 75. I spent the first years of my life in Delhi, where both my parents used to work before we moved to Mumbai with dad graduating from an accountant in the merchant navy to a qualified company secretary and mom taking up the role of the home maker. School passed with me doing lot of reading, and I actually used to feel inferior because of my voracious reading appetite - the only time I used to be involved in sports used to be when I used to sponsor the kit - though I grew up to represent my college in a couple of badminton events.

I studied at NIIT during graduation and was crazy enough to take a drop in my education to take up a job as a programmer before being knocked into senses by my parents. However, there are still times when I wonder how would have life turned out had I continued on the same vein - maybe I would have been a lot more bolder and set up some kind of an enterprise...

I was and still am so fascinated by computers and technology that during vacations I used to take up summer jobs as a data entry operator, then the job as a programmer where I quickly rose from being a programmer to becoming a project leader in roughly 9 months managing multiple projects before being yanked back into the education stream. From there I went on to peacefully graduate and did my MBA majoring in finance. I did my summers in a reputed bank and assured of a final placement in the same bank, my career path looked set to be that of a banker. However destinyhad other plans - the verbal offer never materialized into a proper, and at the end of my management studies I was staring at unemployment, without any job in hand, whereas most of my classmates were already placed.

I took my first job post management as a manager in a very small export firm with a turnover of less than three crores. It was a fascinating time, working with a man who was as crazy as he was lovable - with a passion I am yet to see anyone else since then - he never used to take 'no' as an answer and had the ability to take criticism from rookies such as myself and constructively work upon the same. In a short time, we were expanding famously, I was managing their factories, setting up a new one in Umargaon and looking into new lines of business. We managed to grow this organization from a couple of crores to over 30 crores in a span of a year.

I am an extremely restless personality, so I did change a lot of jobs during my initial years. Some of my most memorable and the ones with most learning roles were in such small organizations. Apart from the one that I mentioned above, one of my most cherished role was in an organization that piloted and strategized for BSNL and MTNL their next generation services - which have today materialized into the very famous data one services wherein they are able to provide high speed broadband , telephony and video over their last mile - copper.

The role of the CIO is a relatively new role that I have taken up over the last 9 years starting from Siyaram Silk Mills where I lead the organization in their technological initiatives. I believe that because of my varied experience, finance MBA and my never ending love for technology, I am able to address business needs more effectively.

I am presently working at Gateway Terminals India Pvt. Ltd (GTI), which is a subsidiary of A.P. MOLLER MAERSK group's terminal business. We operate in over 55 ports around the world. GTI is one of the most professional organizations, which while working at efficiencies and speed that other terminals envy - still manages to portray a languid approach which make its achievements appear as something that is easily doable. This is one business where IT is extremely critical to operations and sustenance with even an hour of downtime resulting in huge business loss. The level of automation is very high - we have a system called Navis that forms the backbone of operations with devices being mounted in every equipment including trucks, cranes and men (handhelds) that enables us to operate with pristine efficiency.

We also have IFS as our ERP and have recently deployed 1KEY BI which we intend to take to other terminals as well.

ROLE OF IT: Information Technology (IT) is now becoming the backbone of businesses. If you want to operate globally you cannot ignore it and no longer is an area where you could run things through trial and error. Now getting a tactic wrong or say a system less secured could even mean the end of your business. Thus, I see IT growing synonymous with business by the day into an essential element and less of a competitive advantage. However like finance you still can leverage your IT strengths to your advantage by using it efficiently and effectively.

I stay with my parents, am married. My goal of being in the banking industry has been fulfilled by my wife Sumitra who works with ING Vysya bank. I have a two year old son who is the center of our universe.

On the next big thing in IT, I would want to make a tangential statement, I see the adoption and growth of tablet PC as the next big wave in IT. Applications will be launched and we will all be connected in a way that we could not have even fathomed a few years back because of the amazing development that is currently being led by Apple.

On life: A staunch believer in Krishna's dictum on Karma, I believe that success and growth are just by-products of our efforts. I have learnt that humility and compassion are the two most essential values that one needs to cultivate and I constantly endeavor to live by the same.

Favorite Sportsperson: Sachin Tendulkar for the wonderful and super human that he is and obviously the favorite IPL team is also the one that he leads.

Most used social networking websites by me are Facebook and LinkedIn.

One Liners:

If you were not in IT domain I would be racing cars or tending them
Biggest passion Technology and cars
Unknown talents Still awaiting discovery of known ones
Book read recently – your review Harry Potter - had to read the series after being dragged into the latest movie
Your current / favorite car I drive an Innova and a Palio. Fiat is my favorite Manufacturer by virtue of the passion that is put into their products
Gadgets you can't leave without My Nikon and my iPad
Weekends are for? Family
Favorite holiday destination Bahamas - maybe I will also go there when I finally take one
Hate the most Lack of commitment
Ultimate ambition To work in a role similar to the one Nandan Nilekani is currently working on
Wildest thing ever done Too wild to mention here
Thing you most want to do in life Make a visible difference
If you became the Prime Minister Weed out corruption or try to?
Celebrity you'd like to spend a day with Nira Radia, I could learn all about the ways of the world....
Deepest and darkest Fear I might lose faith in the good of the world and the power of dreams
Decision you wish you could do over Thankfully none of them have gone that bad that I would want to revisit them

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