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CiO Looking Back & Ahead 2011

2010 was a year on the cusp of economic recovery and business anticipation of high growth. India bounced back with healthy 8+% growth across industries driven by consumption, good monsoon and stock market resurgence. The year also saw some governance activism with many scams surfacing in an otherwise positive climate.

Arun Gupta,
Shoppers Stop

CIOs and IT demonstrated the ability to adapt in the slowdown and change gears when business demanded fast tracking of investments while the budget discussions remained as challenging as in 2009 with business expecting quicker returns and limited interest in long-term IT projects. Hardware refresh cycles came back with a vengeance and the promise of new technologies confused more than provide clarity.

The year saw Cloud Computing getting overhyped as the solution to every problem; every vendor twisted their offerings to include "cloud" which saw CIOs challenging the paradigm with real life constraints on the applicability of such buzzwords. Mobile computing pushed ahead with new entrants creating run of the mill as well as innovative solutions looking for problems to solve. Social networks added to the complexity and kept corporate struggling to find the balance between connecting to their customers and allowing internal resources to connect outward.

Retail saw healthy growth, new store openings and consumption back on track. At Shoppers Stop, we invested in renewing some of the old systems, creation of new capability and efficiencies with help of technology. We launched the online avatar of Crossword Bookstores and moved our analytics to the next level of insights. Planning for the next 3 years and IT interventions across the business got the focus they deserved.

The year ahead holds a lot of promise with new stores, new cities, new markets, and new solutions to enable adapted business models to address these opportunities. We plan to continue our journey to sustain leadership with the help of technology impacting our customers, employees and shareholders. Across business units there is an expectation to achieve world class IT excellence and grow profitability.

New Year resolutions to find a way to use "clouds", engage our customers and partners on social networks and smart phones. Continued resolution also revolves around improving governance and creating a team that delivers to promise.

On the personal front, there is a desire to find more quality time with the family, pursue my interests in photography and reading.

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