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CIO Of the Fortnight

I was born during the Indo-Pak war on 10-Dec-1971 under candle light as there was a complete black out that time and there was not even a single lighted bulb in entire city (Ambala). My school was in Army Area (Central School) and noise of fighter aircrafts flying above the school building were part and parcel of daily school routine. At numerous occasions, spies from our neighboring country were caught from our school trying to enter into Army Area through the route of our school. So right from the beginning adventures are part and parcel of my life.

Football fever caught me when our school reached finals of state championships and I enrolled in this game. After a couple of years after playing at different positions, my passion for playing the game got noticed by our sports teacher and I was given the chance of leading the school team. I was on cloud nine when I could lead our team to the national finals for SGFI (School Games Federation of India).

I studied at C R State College of Engineering in Delhi NCR, which is now known as DCRUST and has got the status of a University. I did Mechanical Engineering from this college and got picked by my first employer, Escorts Limited during the campus interview.

After spending my initial years in Sales and Marketing of automobiles in Escorts Limited, my interest in IT pulled me to ERP and though I was selected as the best Area Manager for 2 years consecutively, I shifted from Marketing to ERP Team for making a mark in this area too. I led the distribution team for implementing Oracle Applications and we successfully went live after a period of 10 enlightening months. I moved to TATA Consultancy Services from Escorts Limited to do another ERP implementation but this time for manufacturing.

My next stop was General Electric (became Genpact later), which was my dream organization at that time and till now I cherish the period I spent there and for the opportunities that I got there to learn, experiment, take risk and to self develop. I rose to the position of the Software Leader for Enterprise solutions for Manufacturing Industry in GE during my stint there and then I left for a change of role and moved to internal IT in Punj Lloyd Limited. The prime reason for moving to this organization was that I wanted to test myself in the role of a CIO in a complex and fair size organization with global footprint. I wanted to check if the strategies, vision and the roadmap that I used to provide to customers around the world are practical or not and how well benefits can be extracted by following them.

I must say that the first 6 months in this vast engineering & construction conglomerate were excellent as everyday I looked to attend office to address different challenges and add value to business using IT. I joined Punj Lloyd just at the right time when they were ready to take on the world with new initiatives and needed somebody to lead their Enterprise Applications space in a way that automation, standardization and compliance can be enforced leveraging ERP.

My current organization is unique in way but is quite similar to GE or L&T where one business model is completely different from the other in terms of complexity but still works on one major backbone application in addition of numerous standalone and business specific applications. Since the business reach is global, demand is high but customers are increasingly becoming demanding and competition is more than ever, expansion of footprint is the mantra here but at the same-time, cost is monitored very closely. These dynamics ensured that there are enough challenges in the role.

The areas where I got recognized during my IT career range from thought leadership and application solution design to innovation and execution. The motivation to excel swells with the recognition that one gets from people they admire and same happened with me. During early days, when my ERP and Supply Chain white papers were selected as the best paper worldwide in GE for consecutive 2 years and when I won the coveted Global Best Practice Award every-time I participated, my research and analysis abilities got a boost and subsequently I founded InfoVerto (http://www.infoverto.com) few years back and started sharing my thoughts in Enterprise Applications space with the world. To my delight, the initiative took off and the site became popular among lot of Fortune 500 organizations. It is really satisfying even today when I get to hear from my regular readers and site members, who sought advice from me on their IT challenges, that they implemented strategies, ideas and best practices suggested by me and achieved a good rate of success.

Delivery of complex engagements, devising innovative IT products and designing strategies for leveraging IT for business growth – I have done it all.

I think that my IT experience around the globe (I worked in India, Europe and the USA) helps me bring well informed expertise in current role and guide the organizational IT initiatives in right direction. In today's world, IT has become an extension of business and it is important that both business and IT work in synergy to make sure that the approach is unidirectional instead of running in different directions nullifying each other's efforts in the process. I strongly believe that Enterprise applications have the potential to increase staff productivity, efficiency and effectivity by automating & standardizing the processes in the organization.

If you were not in IT domain: Microbiologist
Your favorite car: Honda CRV
Gadgets you can't leave without: Laptop, Mobile Phone
Weekends are for? Spending time with children
Favorite holiday destination: Lucerne, Switzerland
Hate the most: Incompetence or unwillingness to take ownership
Ultimate ambition: Contribute in shaping Role of IT and make it a profit center instead of currently being seen as a cost center
Wildest thing ever done: Drove 50 miles alone on frozen road and under extreme snow storm from Akron to Cleveland, USA – Unforgettable experience
Thing you most want to do in life: World Tour with Family
If you became the Prime Minister: Not my cup of tea
Celebrity you'd like to spend a day with: Steve Jobs (Apple CEO)

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