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M AY 2021 | VO L 5 I S S U E 2

2021 THE CHANGE-SPOTTERS AND CHANGE-MAKERS

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2021 ROADSHOW AUGUST-NOVEMBER, 2021 36 COUNTRIES 4000 C-LEVEL EXECS 300+ SESSIONS 200+ EXHIBITORS

#ChangeX


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GCF DESK MANAGING DIRECTOR Tushar Sahoo CEO Ronak Samantaray

Transformation is compelling

We are halfway through 2021 and there has not been much changing in the global conditions. While some countries are slowly getting back to normal, IT still is reigning the charts as remote working is here to stay and Digitization and Transformation is compelling as well as a mandate. Today, the scope of creating new and unique digital value chains are immense, thanks to cloud, mobile and analytics that are paving the way ahead for the digital natives. Nevertheless, this would not have made it to the mainstream without the intervention of the key pillars of Transformation – People, Processes, and Technology Readiness As one of our CIO said, Digital transformation (DX) is happening fast and furious and is on steroids. It is Mobility, Migrating to the Cloud, e-commerce, Industry 4.0 – AI, IOT, BlockChain, and lastly, Collaboration and Online-everything. Across all industry verticals, this adoption is happening with different speeds and with a priority on how to win the customer. Legacy systems and platforms are getting a fresh second look and are either being discarded or getting a new lease of life via upgrades or cloud adoption etc. The industries that are undergoing transformation with the greatest sense of urgency, especially with the pandemic, has been healthcare, Retail- specifically grocery, Household/home care, digital payments and so on. Read about this and much more in this issue of The Titans. Also, I take this opportunity to announce the launch of The World CIO 200 2021 Roadshow – starting August onwards with over 35+ countries (Virtual) and culminating in a grand finale in UAE over 2 days in November (Physical). In the Roadshow, CIOs from these countries will Challenge the Legacies that were overthrown in the pandemic, Charter the policies for a new digital ecosystem and Change the Policies and governance as the Catalyst. ‘Transformation through Change’ is at the heart of the roadshow this year that would gather global IT decision makers and solution providers in a unique platform this year.The Summit will build roadmaps for strategic decision making and identify yardsticks that are the key drivers of growth in the digital world.

GLOBAL HEAD, CONTENT AND STRATEGIC ALLIANCES Anushree Dixit   anushree@gecmediagroup.com GROUP SALES HEAD Richa S   richa@gecmediagroup.com   056 215 1157 VISUALIZER Manas Ranjan LEAD VISUALIZER DPR Choudhary DESIGNER Ajay Arya ASSISTANT DESIGNER Rahul Arya DESIGNED BY

SUBSCRIPTIONS info@gecmediagroup.com SOCIAL MARKETING & DIGITAL COMMUNICATION Yasobant Mishra   yasobant@gecmediagroup.com PRINTED BY Al Ghurair Printing & Publishing LLC. Masafi Compound, Satwa, P.O.Box: 5613, Dubai, UAE

Look forward to seeing you there.

ANUSHREE DIXIT GLOBAL HEAD, CONTENT AND STRATEGIC ALLIANCES anushree@gecmediagroup.com

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CONTENT COVER STORY/ 40

CIO of Tomorrow

Popular Opinions TOP GLOBAL CIOs

06 ROGER TABBAL, Executive Director Customer Technology Services India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey

08 SHRENIK JAIN, SVP IT Siemens, Middle East

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28

SUNANDO CHAUDHURI, Head of Information Technology Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company

MAY 2021

KRISHAN KANT SRIVASTAVA, IT Head Infrastructure Landmark Group (Hospitality Division)

THE TITANS

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TOP GLOBAL CIOs

Digital disruption The fuel of future economy WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

Deep automation of the hotel processes is just around the corner! Accor is moving towards more simplicity, fast deployment projects, moving most applications to cloud and most and better processing of data. We are going to see a lot of changes in our hotels’ operation in the coming years, such as first fully digital hotel, full cloud hotel, open platform for easy integration etc., which will all add value to our hotels guests and owners.

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

We engage our team in our decisions and use their skills in the right place. We provide clear and consistent messages on values and directions, we always encourage

ROGER TABBAL,

Executive Director Customer Technology Services India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey

6

THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

ongoing and open team conversations. Performance assessments and constructive feedback with customized development plans are our means to maintain a high calibre of service delivery. Any act of progress or innovation is always appreciated! Last but not least, we provide our people with the effective tools, processes, recognition, and support.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

The real example of this is my current team of Regional Country IT Directors based in 6 different countries and coming from different backgrounds. This diversity in the team adds strength and productivity since it helps us to have variety and rich ideas to make solid decisions based on team’s feedback and collaboration!

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

In Accor, we believe in the individual potential of each member that is put in the favour of the team. Tasks and missions are distributed among concerned members who meet every now and then to share findings, seeking advice, projecting plans, etc. Such meetings are an open room for communication, critical thinking, creativity and definitely collaboration.

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

Well, creating a dynamic team is my ultimate intention…I thrive in new challenges however, when it comes to daily routine projects, this is when I feel that it’s time to rebound, refresh, and re-gain the energy needed.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

Our main focus in 2021 is to act as #OneITteam means which means creating a team with sense of shared endeavour and belongingness and supporting them with the tools i.e. learning, upskilling, access to latest information, etc.!

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AS A CIO? WHAT RESULT DID IT YIELD?

Cost reduction initiatives to support our owners during the past year was one the most challenging decisions I had to apply. This

was a mandatory decision to help our owners during these difficult times and show support to our partners. However, the result was very positive. All our owners were grateful for the efforts made by IT to try to optimize and reduce the IT cost.

WHICH TECHNOLOGY/IES DO YOU THINK WILL DOMINATE ENTERPRISE IT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Digital disruption is the fuel of the future economy and it will change and improve our business and the way we work. A valid structure can be implemented to support the digital transformation in our organization i.e. cloud strategy which is the key to start, empowering and investing on people will remain our ever winning bet, having an open API strategy which brings new business models and accelerate solution adoption to local needs, Data strategy as a key management tool to drive performance and support hotel owners, and last, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning which are the future of IT. All these technologies will dominate our enterprise in the coming years and will set the new ground for innovations and creativity!

DO YOU SEE MORE CIOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

The business model has changed a lot, even before COVID crisis, and we see that technology and innovation are playing a vital role in the strategy of the companies. Many CIOs are becoming part of the executive committees, as is the case with Accor.

ONE DO AND DON’T FOR 2021

DO consider Hotel and guests at the heart of everything we do and DON’T be afraid from the changes.

MAY 2021

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TOP GLOBAL CIOs

Towards Winning Digital Models WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

Over the next few years, IT’s primary focus will shift to providing strategic business and delivering innovative services. It will also

be period for un-challenged Digital Transformation and Digital Acceleration for both product and solution-based business. IT will be the front runner, responsible not for internal operations but for delivering digital solutions to the customers.

WHAT IS YOUR 1 YEAR, OR 3 YEARS PLAN FOR YOUR COMPANY’S IT DEPARTMENT? HOW DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUSINESS FORWARD WITH TECHNOLOGY?

We aim to not only participate but enable the transformation of the current business

SHRENIK JAIN,

SVP IT Siemens, Middle East

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THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

to Digital models. To do this, IT and business strategy must be aligned, and age-old traditional process driven methods will be replaced with adaptability and agility. Our team will work on technologies like Cloud Computing, Advanced Analytics and use of AR/ VR solutions to enhance user experience, accelerate product development.

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

Its important to build your team for the right attitude. A good add to our team is someone who can blend in and add to the company’s culture and values and can easily learn new skills. With ever changing technologies, demands of customers, hiring for only skills is a thing of past.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

I’ve have been extremely fortunate to have always worked in extremely diverse teams. Especially in an environment which is looking for innovative and creative solutions, a diverse team can bring great insights on solutioning. It is important though when leading a culturally diverse team to recognize the differences, have open clear methods of communication and encourage adoption.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

Be transparent and communicative. It’s a simple rule. Most of us are looking for positive collaborative efforts, however sometimes we have pre-notions and that can create barriers. Understand the challenges and be empathic, when entering a meeting don’t already go with a solution but the ability to understand the process and challenges.

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

and that this would change the way we work in the future. We setup a task force which examined every little aspect of our function and identified an action plan to adopt to the future proof model of IT. From cutting down costs on operational topics and investments on technologies for remote working and digitalization.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AS A CIO? WHAT RESULT DID IT YIELD?

I took my current role in the middle of Pandemic and everything standard about IT operations required a re-boot. Changing the mindset of our stakeholders towards IT as the digital partner and changing the focus of internal teams to work on these topics is the most challenging task. Our refocused initiatives could save millions for the business, but also helped our employees and customers to adopt better to the remote working environment.

DO YOU SEE MORE CIOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

Without a doubt, the significance of CIOs in evolving the digital business model is already getting recognized in many organizations and this will continue.

WHO IS THE ‘CIO OF TOMORROW’ AND WHAT QUALITIES WILL HE/ SHE IMBIBE?

The most energizing thing in my role is to see all stakeholders on the same page and willing to put the required efforts to adopt to new technologies and be a part of Digital Transformation. On the other hand, lack of in person social interactions with teams during these pandemic times can sometimes deplete me.

The CIO of tomorrow will take the role of the “Digital Partner” - driving sales and customer experience and directly responsible for this Digital Transformation.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

Do – Be the first to adopt to new technologies. Don’t – Stop innovating

Siemens was able to recognize quite early the “The New Normal”

11. ONE DO AND DON’T FOR 2021

MAY 2021

THE TITANS

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Revisiting Finance through the Digital Lens plications. By 2022, 35% of all production apps will be Cloud native. And that from “2020 to 2024, with new tools/platforms, more developers, agile methods, and lots of code reuse, 500 million new logical apps will be created.

Intrinsic Security

For the longest time, the technology world followed a bolted-on approach to security that mainly comprised patching the infrastructure from data center to the edge.

IoT and Edge

ABDUL RAHMAN JAROUDI,

Head Digital Transformation And Innovation Aafaq Islamic Finance, PSC

IoT and Edge are fast becoming the most potent superpowers of the tech world. The predictions are for billions of endpoints being deployed as digital transformation takes hold across various industries.

5G 5 Technologies that will shape our world over the next five years Technology has changed the world as we knew it and is going to do so for the foreseeable future. Any conversation about emerging technologies that will impact our lives is not possible without a reference to Artificial Intelligence, and rightly so. It is a powerful trend that will shape the future of work, transform every sector imaginable and touch every aspect of life. But the truth is, AI is already underpinning every major technology trend in the market today and this will only deepen in the years to come. In fact, every major technology that will dominate the industry in the next five years will leverage AI in some form or another. So, what are the top five AI-powered tech trends to shape our world:

Cloud Native Applications

We are witnessing a distinct change in application infrastructure with more and more organizations moving to cloud native ap-

5G is going to be a game changer for the telco sector. GSMA Intelligence forecasts that there will be more than 50 5G networks worldwide by 2021 and by 2025, there will be more than 1.3B 5G connections covering 40% of the global population.

Blockchains

Blockchain, that started as an offshoot of the cryptocurrency movement, is gaining a lot of traction. Though the evolution of blockchain has had its challenges due to multiple approaches but things are starting to mature and clearer on its evolution.

WAYS TECHNOLOGY CAN TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT

MAY 2021

THE TITANS 11


LEVEL

3 Ways Technology Can Take Your Business to The Next Level

Businesses of all sizes use technology-driven software, applications, and processes to make their entire operation smarter, faster, and more efficient. To be even more specific, technology helps businesses, especially small to medium-sized businesses, get more organized, improve customer experience, and create higher levels of employee satisfaction.

Technology Equals Organization, But only if those tools are used wisely!

If a business does not design a proper strategy that provides an adequate environment from which they can take full advantage of the technology they have invested in, then it is just like buying a brand-new Ferrari and putting it in the hands of drivers who have never driven a car before — the results will be disastrous and the investment a failure. However, if the business provides proper education and resources to their management and employees on how to get the best benefit from their new tools, then there are a number of organizational benefits that can be obtained from each department within the company, 3 of which are as follows:

Streamlined/Organized Human Resources

Technology gives many benefits to a business’s HR department. l Technology helps to automate data-driven & communication tasks to free up manpower for more important work. l The hiring process is simplified and expanded through the use of online interviews, online job postings, and online educational resources. l Technology can help cut down on the time spent by HR employees searching for pertinent employee records as they can now access the information they need . l

Streamlined/Organized Marketing

Big data, marketing analytics, and online marketing tools & software allow businesses to analyze consumer behavior in the form of social likes, buying habits, and conversion rates in order to better market to them. l Technology speeds up the entire scaling process once a particular campaign is found to be profitable. l

Streamlined/Organized Production & Cost Control

12 THE TITANS    MAY 2021

Ultimately, technology assures that all business tasks get done in the proper order and at the proper time. l 3 specific ways in which technology can help in this regard are as followed: l 1 – Tracking Performance Managers can access real-time data on employee output with the help of technological solutions. l 2 – Team Coordination One of the biggest problems many businesses face today is how to coordinate workflow amongst various departments. l 3 – Transparent/Communication Every member of a business can see what others are doing and what they are saying with modern-day software and technological solutions. l

Technology Equals Better Customer Experience

Not only does technology help the internal functions of a business, but it also creates more ideal customer experience situations, which ultimately increases customer base and profitability (i.e. business growth). l If used wisely, technology can make it easier for customers to purchase goods and services and get their issues resolved through an easy-to-navigate customer support system. l If a business makes the customer’s life easier, the customer will make the business’s life easier! l 3 examples of how technology can improve customer experience have been listed below. Payment Options Kiosks (Touchscreen) Apps l

Technology Equals Happy Employees l

Technology benefits almost every as-


TOP GLOBAL CIOs pect of a business. From organizing & streamlining its daily operational activities to providing better customer service and support, business-based technology has and continues to advance all areas within a business, including employee satisfaction. l Employees are the backbone of every enterprise and if they aren’t happy, the customers won’t be happy. l If a business’s employees are unsatisfied with their tasks and working environment, the company will cease to progress and even regress if it does not do anything about employee morale. l Technology solves this problem in 3 ways. Ticketing Automation Language-Based Technology All-Access Technology

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

1. Understand What a Great Team Is

Clear objectives – each team member must be aware of the meaning of a particular activity as part of a larger objective l Clear roles – everyone within the team must be aware of the hierarchy and their role in it. l Flawless communication – whenever someone has a question or gets an idea, they should be able to communicate it. The communication within the team must be as smooth as possible. l Cooperation – teamwork is not about individual achievements; it’s about what the group accomplishes together. l Individual development within the team – although it’s teamwork we’re talking about, the individual must not lose their authentic voice throughout the collaboration. A great team is the one whose work is based on clear objectives, clear roles, clear communication, cooperation, and opportunities for personal development. Remember that recipe and you’ll be on the right way towards building an effective team. l

2. Establish Strong Leadership

If you want to know how to build an effective team, you must learn how to be an effective leader first. Only an effective leader has influence even when they are not around. That influence pushes the team to work effectively throughout all group and individual activities. Manny Hernandez, CEO of Omni, Inc. says,

3. Build the Connection Between the Team Members

The leader must continuously evaluate the way the members of the team are working together. Ideally, your team should be selfsufficient and perform without you having to lead them through every step. Here are a few ways to help members of the team to familiar-

14 THE TITANS    MAY 2021

ize themselves with each other's roles and work styles: l Team-building exercises. Simple activities to help members build trust and letting them know they can depend on one another can go a long way toward increasing your team's effectiveness and productivity. l Improve cooperation among team members. Try different things such as taking them all out for lunch or an after-work get-together. Encourage them to get to know each other. l Encourage them to collaborate! When you hire someone new, assign a mentor to introduce them into the workflow. Mentorship programs are great for developing connections!

4. Establish a Connection with Each Team Member

As a leader, you must get to know each team member as an individual. Each person has a specific set of skills, as well as interests and drawbacks. When you know these things, you can match each worker with the right task. That’s the best way to help them boost their productivity and become more satisfied with the job.

5. Invite Contributions And Collaborations!

Harnessing the power of your employees' ideas can really help your company grow. You want to inspire the practices of contribution and collaboration for each and every member of the team.

6. Invest In Team-Building Events

Consider investing in some of these activities: l Fundraising projects, which will connect the team towards accomplishing a noble goal. l Social events, such as picnics or bowling competitions.


D-Link


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

Aligned. Agile. Focused WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

The industry is heading primarily towards consolidation of services and capabilities and a more focused service delivery model. Due to the ever-changing goalposts from the business requirements,

IT need to be flexible and competitive with the ability to cater to the businesses’ requirements quickly but effectively.

WHAT IS YOUR 1 YEAR, OR 3 YEARS PLAN FOR YOUR COMPANY’S IT DEPARTMENT? HOW DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUSINESS FORWARD WITH TECHNOLOGY?

Technology is always driving the business in the current context and we are no different. Yes, the IT Department intends to look at technologies that are fit for business, deliver value, are effective in getting faster turnaround times, increase efficiency within the business processes etc. is something that needs to be looked into and implemented. Overall, as mentioned above, technology needs to be able to cater to the business needs and not the other way around.

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

Team building and developing them into understanding the organizational objec-

SUNANDO CHAUDHURI,

Head of Information Technology Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company

16 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

tives is the key. To develop them into a functional and effective team, the most important aspect is to align them all looking at the common goal i.e. focus on the objectives as a common team and not look at diverging goals. The team should be focussed, developed on various required skills which will help the business. Skill development is key and focusing on the right skills and technologies will really help improve and build a cohesive and active team.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

Previously in my career, I used to work as a Program Manager in IBM based in the UK where the projects were delivered. I had couple of team members based in UK, my DBAs working from South Africa, Application Teams working out of US and India, another team in China with the client based somewhere in Europe. Such was the diverse team I have worked in the past so, having a global delivery team is something I have not only worked with but also enjoy working with them as you learn along the way and help deliver a common objective with a diverse expectations and culturally aligned people.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

The key to get collaboration across departments is to work with a single objective. If the IT team can start thinking in alignment with the business users and other departments, collaboration is easy, and everyone will support and work together.

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

What energises me immensely is the challenges that you see day in and day out. This gives an extra motivation and drive to excel. What depletes me sometime is not getting the right resources to deliver tasks and projects and you end up trying to fix a square plug in a round hole and in most cases fail or get the desired outcomes.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

The most significant contribution would be the change in the outlook of the company how they see technology fit and change their business. There were so many resistances to develop and move the infrastructure to a more flexible (read cloud & other SAAS based solutions) and agile. Additionally, bringing in a organization alignment based on skills and capabilities in developing a structure

to support the business.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AS A CIO? WHAT RESULT DID IT YIELD?

One of the most difficult decision as a CIO was to appoint the right people for the right job. This created a lot of initial animosity and anxiety in some of the team members however, as the organization has matured people have understood the need for the same.

WHICH TECHNOLOGY/IES DO YOU THINK WILL DOMINATE ENTERPRISE IT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Technologies that will dominate the enterprise IT over the next few years will include Cloud as the foremost as it will entirely change the way organizations look at their business. Others include, IoT which will help in the bottom line. Additionally, with the increased use of Cloud, AI based on Use Cases will increase and more and more organizations will start using AI based functionalities to run their business.

10. DO YOU SEE MORE CIOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

Yes, this will increase significantly as the organizations are realising that the business is becoming more and more Digital and if you have someone on the Board who understands Tech, it only helps.

ONE DO AND DON’T FOR 2021

Do - Understand and work with the business, Business drives Tech and not the other way around! Don’t – Never underestimate your and your teams’ abilities in adversities.

MAY 2021

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TOP GLOBAL CIOs

The Automation Digitization Mandate WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

Today, the IT industry is most the dynamic and leads the way for Businesses through facilitating business practices of current times and also targets the future of organisation. IT will help run the businesses with intelligent operations, and thus making processes automated, reducing manpower and operational cost. All Businesses following standard processes will be handled faster and those non-standard will have to bear the multi time cost and slowly would be out of business. At the end of the day, manpower and cost reduction with heavy automation through robots is going

to more prevalent.

WHAT IS YOUR 1 YEAR, OR 3 YEARS PLAN FOR YOUR COMPANY’S IT DEPARTMENT? HOW DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUSINESS FORWARD WITH TECHNOLOGY?

The pandemic has put immense pressure on business. IT is expected to be the pillar of support and help businesses sustain and be more competitive by reducing the cost, keeping improved quality and SLA. These are achieved through automating the processes and that is our mandate now. In long term we must be ready for future, where norms are changing, and smart IT will have to give the business a competitive advantage so they excel in their revenues and profitability.

MN CHATURVEDI,

Director IT Oasis Investment Co. L.L.C.


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

Our businesses are multi-dimensional, hence the requirements come with widest footprints of applications that need customization and support. In order to fulfil these requirements, multiple functional and technical skills mix in an appropriate amount is key to success and also it must be scheduled. Therefore, knowing the overall project needs a blue print in mind that would help to assign the team skills at right time. Productivity is directly proportional to in-depth skills, projects leadership and motivations.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

Alshirawi Group has 40 companies, and it is one of the most diversified group on applications and business front across Gulf countries. We have diversity of business operations and we treat this is as one of the strengths and help build competitive advantage in each of business domains. We provide different tools which fits and improve productivity, and hence profitability of the business. We have Google GSuite, Microsoft tools, WhatsApp etc. On top of this we have closed business voice group as subscribed through telecom services provider to have the best of collaborations for unlimited calls.

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

New challenges and new concepts that are coming up every day are tonics for IT professionals. Our user community and management are very innovative, and always keep on coming with the best of alternatives for improvising operations and hence keep competitive advantage in the market. IT is all about innovation and ideas. We have an in-housed portal where these ideas can be recorded on daily basis. This keeps us up to date and further propels the fact how one thought can lead to a chain of other success factors.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

We have done several projects and taken them live in operations for which complete team of IT and Users group are responsible and we are proud of it. We have used Virtual Reality with Google glass as one of the products which has helped us in optimising the operations of logistics. Pandemic has forced us to reduce cost everywhere and made compulsions to embark on Digital Transformation journey. Our Management has declared Digital Trans-

formation Council with heads of finance, Audit and Information technology with a mandate to keep innovating areas of operations, finance, quality assurances and other to have Digitization, and reduce the manpower efforts through increased automation. We have multiple projects on Automation in Accounts payable, Financial systems through Hub operations and Payroll processing which are the flagship project for Automation.

WHICH TECHNOLOGY/IES DO YOU THINK WILL DOMINATE ENTERPRISE IT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Mobility will be at the heart of all business operations, and therefore it will have to be on cloud, to provide the Application services anywhere and anytime. Pandemic promoted the need for a culture of secured remote work which will prevail for ever in long term too. Large enterprises will have difficulties in adopting to software as a service as different geographies and multiple government regulations make it difficult to follow a standard. We shall have to wait and watch who volunteers this initiative to bring a regionally acceptable jacket that is adaptable for specific culture, region, etc.

DO YOU SEE MORE CIOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

More CIOs will be part of advisory role in Boards, since now IT decisions are critical and impacts organisation as a whole. CIOs have to communicate to board in simple, comprehensive language with acceptable facts in a customised jargon free language as better acceptable to the Board and help quick conclusions.

ONE DO AND DON’T FOR 2021

Do: Digitise, Digitise and Digitize; Don’t: do not procrastinate

MAY 2021

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TOP GLOBAL CIOs

Realizing the Digital Transformation Dream WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

I believe that the technology-driven change in post covid world will be much faster than earlier predictions. Technology transformations that were expected to be completed in the next 10 years will now be accomplished by 2025. The interaction between AI and humans will change completely with humans increasingly strengthening the decisions of AI, rather than the other way around. This pace will be fuelled by faster development through low code apps, cloud-based AI services, and advanced analytics.

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

IT teams are usually large and spread across multiple geographical locations. However difficult it maybe, I ensure that I connect with each of my team members at a personal level to understand what their limitations are and what is required to motivate them to excel beyond expectations. I ensure that they utilize their full potential without any fear of failing and provide complete support whatever be the outcome.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

UAE is home to over 200 nationalities, where most of the organizations employ culturally diverse teams and our IT function, is no exception. While diverse backgrounds provide different flavours to the team, as a leader I need to constantly ensure there is a strong bond between the team members. We achieve this by regular team events where we celebrate festivals, play team games, and invite families to interact with each other which helps in building relationships.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

For IT projects to be successful it is very

MANISH BINDRA,

Group CIO Galadari Brothers

20 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

CONTINUING WITH THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY EMBARKED ON IN 2019 4 AREAS OF TRANSFORMATION

personalized customer experiences through CRM and CDP

improving operational efficiency though RPA and AI

using data for business decisions through predictive analytics

critical to have support from business users. While organization culture plays a very big role in this, consistent communication helps in breaking the glass walls between departments. We have deployed employee advocacy platforms that help in fostering collaboration across departments.

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

The best aspect of the CIO role is that it is constantly evolving, and you are always learning something new. This job can never be boring as most of the times you are implementing multiple cutting-edge projects which are either improving existing business capabilities or providing new capabilities to the business. With the evolution of digital technologies, the job has become even more exciting as you are directly involved in changing the way business is done. The role also requires working extended hours and finding the time to destress is a challenge considering your mind is always occupied.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

We have implemented many technology projects in the last few months including Global HCM implementation, BI platform, RPA, and omnichannel solutions, however, the CX improvement program for the automotive business is the most special project for me. The project included building e-commerce platform, deploying marketing automation platform for automating customer journeys, data management platform for targeting anonymous prospects, and CRM for pre-sales and service processes. We have seen

introducing digital sales channels through e-commerce and mobile platforms.

a significant increase in new leads and the quality of leads has also improved. We also won the CX innovation award of the year for this project.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AS A CIO? WHAT RESULT DID IT YIELD?

For me, decisions involving people are most difficult. We had to rationalize our team structure where some roles were made redundant. It is challenging to keep the morale of the team high especially when there is a great bond within the team. Though it was challenging in short term, now we have a lean and rightly skilled team

WHICH TECHNOLOGY/IES DO YOU THINK WILL DOMINATE ENTERPRISE IT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

It is a no-brainer that AI and machine learning is going to dominate in the next few years. AI will work at scale in the areas of predictive analytics for better decisionmaking and optimizing business efficiency by taking over tasks from humans. Technologies like Edge Computing, IoT, Big data analytics, Hyper Automation. 5G will compliment AI in the coming years.

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Embrace Agile WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

Here are the ways I believe the industry will evolve in the next 3 to 5 years - some long in the making, others resulting from the pandemic effect: n There is a shift in the relationship between manufacturers and customers. Manufacturers will respond to increasingly high ex-

pectations from both consumers and customers by providing personalized experiences and rapid response n The pandemic reminded manufacturers and has proven to increase supply chain resiliency by adopting advanced technology – sensors, machine learning, Data, robotics process automation, and cloud computing. n The manufacturing industry will embrace Industry 4.0 technology to become more resilient. n A greater focus on data-driven insights and experiences.

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

Considering our distributed and culturally diversified team, I make sure the team is empowered to deliver the best service to

SAMIT JHA,

International IT Manager LATICRETE International, Inc.

22 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

our internal customers. We challenge each other, trust each other, and acknowledge the contribution of everyone. Our global philosophy is “One Laticrete One Family” and the same we practice.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

Most of our work is with a culturally diverse team due to global responsibility and having distributed team across different continents. Our team always adopt the local culture and manage local stakeholder accordingly during the Project Lifecycle and support. Sometimes it was challenging due to language, culture, and time zone. Moreover, together as one family we worked and completed projects successfully. Global ERP implementation is the biggest reflection of our diversified multi-cultural team success.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

In any enterprise, each department is directly or indirectly linked and dependent on the other. For me, collaboration is undoubtedly an integral part of a successful work culture today. It helps in problem-solving, open doors for new learning opportunities, fosters trust and empowers the team. Overall, effective collaboration leads to an engaged, more open, and connected workplace or digital workspace.

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

The desire of being better energizes me every day and not trying depletes me.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

Successful Implementation of global ERP solution for tons of countries across different continents is our biggest contribution as of today. Key impacts are n Global Adoption of Best Practice n Faster reporting and consolidations n Improved operational efficiency and collaboration

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AS A CIO? WHAT RESULT DID IT YIELD?

Out of many, one of the most difficult decision was to accelerate

one of the countries ERP implementations to finish in record time due to unavoidable occurred risk. It was almost impossible but with the amazing support of the business and IT team, we worked together and did it without compromising on quality! Similarly, a long going pandemic gave us the courage to do remote projects for different time zones and sometimes using the translator. In the end, together we finished projects with flying colours!

WHICH TECHNOLOGY/IES DO YOU THINK WILL DOMINATE ENTERPRISE IT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Cloud adoption Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) n Industrial IoT (IIoT) n Supply chain technology n Big Data and augmented analytics n Digital experience – AR, VR n Cybersecurity and resilience n n

DO YOU SEE MORE CIOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

Boards need the expertise of CIOs about technology capabilities and processes where the company can make the best use to pursue faster ROI, agility, and innovation utilizing technology. CIOs have a role in helping boards see the scope of cybersecurity including how it relates to customers; and how it relates to the bottom line.

ONE DO AND DON’T FOR 2021

Do: Establish the role of technology as a business and innovation partner to design a tech-forward business strategy and embracing agile. Don’t: Never get settled with the already implemented solution and keep looking for new opportunities

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Digital-Friendly, Digital-First WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

Over the next five years, we're likely to see significant changes in fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, IoT, combinations of augmented and mixed reality, blockchain, cybersecurity and quantum computing. Advancements in artificial intelligence can be particularly impactful when it comes to industries like retail, healthcare and manufacturing. Automation will prevail in the future of IT and data security will continue to be in the spotlight of attention. Evolution and trends in information systems will

change focus from simple infrastructure solutions to cloud computing. Softwareas-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-aservice (PaaS) solutions will become the future of IT.

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

Below are the key steps I follow to build and maintain a strong, cohesive and effective team: 1. Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities 2. Establish expectations from day one 3. Respect your team members as individuals 4. Motivate with positivity 5. Clear and Transparent Communication 6. Look for ways to reward good work

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

I have worked in a variety of industries such as supply chain, logistics, and manufacturing - all which attract a wide range of personalities and backgrounds. I would say that pretty much every company I have worked for has valued diversity. Working with people from all walks of life help shed different perspectives and identify potential problems faster. In my current role, I work alongside a huge group of individuals who represent much diversity. Together,

UMESH MOOLCHANDANI,

Group IT Head, Bin Dasmal Group

24 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

we manage our business and effectiveness very well.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

At Bin Dasmal Group, cross-departmental collaboration is a reflection of a healthy internal organization culture. following are some steps that my department has taken up to make the collaboration across department more cooperative a. Clear Goals and Guidelines b. Make sure everyone is on the same page c. Transparency and clear communication at all levels d. Leading by example e. Encourage Feedback f. Share information and technology g. Involve and get to know other department’s processes

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

During the past four years, the group has taken various tech initiatives with a strategic direction and clear roadmap for Digital Transformation of the organization, consolidation and integration of IT Infrastructure, modernization and re-engineering of various business application and other IT resources. These projects are – a. ERP Upgrade Project b. CRM Implementation c. IT Infrastructure Upgrade – Replace legacy IT Infrastructure with new Infrastructure with advance architecture d. Network Resiliency – Eliminate single point failure in network infrastructure e. Backup and DR – Implementing Multi-Site backup and DR Infrastructure and Policy The focus was on exploring and implementing innovative technologies in the areas including but not limited to IT operations, Information Security and governance based on cloud and AI for sustainable future growth. Among these various IT initiatives undertaken during the last 4 years, I would say that upgrading of ERP has revolutionized the organization and seen my contribution the most. The upgrade has allowed the business to optimize the total cost of ownership by deploying servers with highest standards of security in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and shift the cost model from CAPEX to OPEX. Furthermore, the integrated view of company data in a web enabled architecture has improved information sharing, collaboration across functional and corporate boundaries and improved

decision making for the management using advanced analytics based on single view of data. This has been achieved by investing in the latest available technologies with lower Total Cost of Ownership and maximizing the Return on Investment. For setting up the infrastructure, the objective was to host the servers in Oracle Cloud instead of investing in on-premise hardware. The key objective was to host the application securely in the cloud environment with no / limited public exposure while keeping the optimal performance, infrastructure resiliency and data redundancy.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AS A CIO? WHAT RESULT DID IT YIELD?

As a CIO, tough decisions are on the table all the time. Whether to build or buy, outsource or insource are all hard decisions to take. The most difficult decision as a CIO was to upgrade and migrate the mission critical ERP application from on-premise environment to cloud environment. It was most difficult as it included the activities of convincing stakeholders by presenting comparisons of ROI and TCO with onpremise environment and changing mindset. The decision yielded the result in many dimensions. The organization was able to shift the cost model from CAPEX to OPEX. Furthermore, the integrated view of company data in a web enabled architecture has improved information sharing, collaboration across functional and corporate boundaries and improved decision making for the management using advanced analytics based on single view of data. This has been achieved by investing in the latest available technologies with lower Total Cost of Ownership and maximizing the Re-

MAY 2021

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TOP GLOBAL CIOs

WHAT IS YOUR 1 YEAR, OR 3 YEARS PLAN FOR YOUR COMPANY’S IT DEPARTMENT? HOW DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUSINESS FORWARD WITH TECHNOLOGY?

1 YEAR PLAN

3 YEAR PLAN

5 YEAR PLAN

• Remote working tools - enabling end user capabilities through access to data and services anywhere and anytime in a highly secured environment.

• Create an IT and business culture that is digital-friendly and possibly digital-first

• Digital Workplace - Transform the workplace which facilitates employees to work remotely – it is a workplace that utilize technology to its fullest extent.

• Digital Transformation - Accelerate digital transformation to improve operational efficiency and increase competitiveness accordingly. • Automation - Improve business outcomes by deploying RPA technologies to reduces cost, improves quality, and improve operational controls. • Cybersecurity - focus on understanding better the implications of cyber security, and the drivers and the challenges in formulating cyber security before implementing a solution and improving cyber security. • Analytics - Implement effective, timely, and informed decision-making through analytic, knowledge-based technologies and workflow process re-engineering.

• Agile IT Function by effectively responding to changing business requirements • Enhance the security model by moving to a next-generation network security architecture that accommodates public cloud services, improves on current Policy Enforcement Point structure, and integrates new technology. • Increase Training and Awareness • Improve the IT environment through the maturation of IT governance and accountability. • expand IT department members’ own skill set to stay relevant

turn on Investment. For setting up the infrastructure, the objective was to host the servers in Oracle Cloud instead of investing in on-premise hardware. The key objective was to host the application securely in the cloud environment with no / limited public exposure while keeping the optimal performance, infrastructure resiliency and data redundancy.

DO YOU SEE MORE CIOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

With technology now widely viewed as a key to business success, it is expected that boards would be aggressively courting CIOs. The role of CIOs has evolved over past few years from being “custodians of technology” to vigorously leverage technology to deliver revenue-generating experiences that win, serve, and retain customers and grow the business. Today’s economic environment demands a new breed of CIO that emphasizes business knowledge with technical depth, along with evangelism and leadership abilities. Despite a somewhat embattled history, the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) has emerged as a critical executive po-

26 THE TITANS    MAY 2021

• Digital Innovation - enable the business to compete successfully in the marketplace and respond to the everchanging needs of the marketplace, customers, and business partners by researching emerging technology, adopting new technologies and leading digital transformation journey. • Clear cloud migration strategy • Data driven organization • IT Governance – Improved and efficient IT governance to ensure the most effective and efficient use of IT in enabling an organization to achieve its needs and goals.

sition in most organizations. Increasingly, CIOs sit on firms' executive teams and help shape organizational strategy.

ONE DO AND DON’T FOR 2021

Do - Foster Innovation -Bringing new ideas to the business successfully by evolving current capabilities, implementing new capabilities and gaining business acceptance for those changes. Don’t - Making Technology Decisions, without a business case, that do not drive the business forward – Technology decisions cannot come from the CIO alone. Rather, IT leaders have to partner with the C-suite to articulate the business benefits of IT transformation, aligning the CEO and CFO with technology strategy.


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TOP GLOBAL CIOs

Infusing Immersive Technologies in Hospitality is Futuristic WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

After the pandemic, it is evident that Hospitality Industry will not be the same. The need of time is how to come out of current situation. Thanks to ongoing initiatives by UAE government for creating safe zone, due to which Hospitality Industry is optimistic that this low phase in the industry will eventually fade, economy will recover, and hospitality sector will regain its footing. In next three to five years, I foresee a lot of changes to the ways of working in Hospitality with a lot of infusion of immersive technologies playing vital role.

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

I will agree with the leadership team on a road map for the

next three years which will feed into my organisational capability planning. Based on this broad plan I would then build the skills in house through trainings or hire exclusive skills that are scarce in the market.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

I am very fortunate and comfortable to work with diverse team. In past and in current role I work alongside a huge group of individuals who represent different different cultures. Together as a team we manage our business and deliverables very well. I would say that pretty much every company I have worked for has valued diversity.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

Consistent, timely, and correct communication is my mantra for departmental collaboration. And in current times when we are adopting to WFH environment the use of Technology is a modern solution to cascade information and collaborate with other departments. The time has come to use collaboration tools like slack and trello to monitor work progress supported by regular governance meetings.

KRISHAN KANT SRIVASTAVA,

IT Head Infrastructure Landmark Group (Hospitality Division)

28 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

FUTURISITC FOCUS

To embrace new technologies and cloud native infrastructure and applications into Hotels and F&B Business.

Self-checkins checkouts Kiosk

Mobile Key

Touchless payments

App-based services

Pay-attable

Digital Men

VoiceControlled Devices

Two Way messaging with Guest

Augmented or virtual reality

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

My current role gives me freedom to interact and meet with lot of people, techies, entrepreneurs from hospitality and technology background. It brings me to a common interest platform which motivates me and keep me energize. Negative environment depletes me.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

Communication and meeting deadlines are two areas of my strength which I feel have benefited my department and company. In last 4 years I have opened 3 new hotels and been instrumental in opening 15 new F&B outlets across GCC. I led all negotiations and operations for rollout of Central IT Service Desk, IT Security Operations Center Setup, Data Warehouse and BI across the company.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AS A CIO? WHAT RESULT DID IT YIELD?

As per strategy road map when we decide to outsource Hotel IT Services it was not a simple task. Keeping emotions aside it was challenging to decide who to keep and who to drop from existing team. IT Outsourcing has minimised IT turnaround time and enhanced IT support availability to business by 24X7 real time.

WHICH TECHNOLOGY/IES DO YOU THINK WILL DOMINATE ENTERPRISE IT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Technology is advancing very rapidly, and pandemic has expedited technology advancement and adoption rate in every industry.

The Emerging and Trending technologies are: n Mobile technologies and appliances n Cloud & Edge computing n Internet of Things (IoT) n Robotic process automation n AI/cognitive computing n Virtual / Augmented reality n Physical robots n 3D printing n Blockchain

DO YOU SEE MORE CIOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

No. For board positions there is a requirement for specific skills which include strategic directions, new market penetration, improving the value of the company and representing the company in exchanges and media. While a CIO in IT services company has a fair chance to be a Board Member given his legacy experience in IT, it is difficult for an out and out IT person to carry out the above responsibilities with finesse. *Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author's employer, organization, committee, or other group or individual.

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Transforming Technology for National Objectives WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

Expect privatisation & Outsourcing in the region to rise significantly in the coming years, as governments in the region become increasingly aware of the societal benefits of transparency, accountability, competitive markets and independent regulation.

As a global and regional services company for governments and large organisations, we are ready for this change and foresee great opportunities to support governments in achieving their transformation programmes whether that be in the sectors of citizen service, healthcare, transportation, justice and immigration and defence

WHAT IS YOUR 1 YEAR, OR 3 YEARS PLAN FOR YOUR COMPANY’S IT DEPARTMENT? HOW DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUSINESS FORWARD WITH TECHNOLOGY? COMPANY’S IT DEPARTMENT? HOW DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUSINESS FORWARD WITH TECHNOLOGY?

We have a three-year technology transformation programme centred around workforce management, digital asset management, data, customer experience and a nationalisation programme focused on training, transforming and transferring back to government. IT is central to enablement in a way which is reusable and scalable both from an infrastructure and cyber security perspective.

PAUL ROBERT BOGAN,

Chief Digital Officer Serco

30 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

There are three focus areas for us when it comes to building our teams: 1. Understanding individual and team capabilities and ensuring that they link to not only Serco’s strategy but also to the national visions of UAE and KSA 2. Promoting and actively driving diversity and inclusion for a wellbalanced and integrated team. 3. Creating a structured career path for growth and development, especially for high-potential employees.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

If you stick to the three areas above for building a team then it is extremely difficult not to be leading a culturally diverse team in the Middle east, especially due to the volume of expats living in the region. Our executive management team in the Middle East has is made up of 42% women. We have numerous nationalities, ethnicities and religions represented across both of our executive management team and our divisional management team.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

COVID-19 has been a true catalyst for tech-enabled communication across many businesses including Serco. We are now even more collaborative across departments due to the change in the way we work. Tech, especially our day-to-day use of MS Teams, has enabled us to collaborate more efficiently across departments. We encourage cross-department collaboration to not only help further the goals of the business, but to create an atmosphere of teamwork and participation.

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

I am energized by the ability to drive change within Serco and our partners’ organisations to leverage technology where appropriate reduce wastage and implement new data-driven decision making. I don’t allow much to make me feel depleted, but … short term positioning from clients and partners as a direct result of the pandemic which results in cost cutting in areas as opposed to investing to build back better post pandemic is disappointing.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND

HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

A simple but significant contribution was putting in place a professional training certificate approved by the Institute of Asset Management which is now available to all Serco employees. This will provide consistency in language and an understanding of the application of asset management across our facilities management and operations and maintenance industry, which will help drive economic value for our clients.

WHICH TECHNOLOGY/IES DO YOU THINK WILL DOMINATE ENTERPRISE IT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Cyber Security Monitoring Tools, Software and Applications to protect our networks Integrated Data Analytical Tools and Applications.

DO YOU SEE MORE CDOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

With the advancements in technology and the general impact it is having on industry I cannot visualise a board of directors in the future that doesn’t have this capability represented.

WHO IS THE ‘CDO OF TOMORROW’ AND WHAT QUALITIES WILL HE/ SHE IMBIBE?

A CDO who predicts trends based on current market conditions and then works to assure that the business moves to react to those conditions will be the ‘CDO of tomorrow’.

11. ONE DO AND DON’T FOR 2021

Do not focus on the short term and do invest in the medium to long term, to drive your competitive position

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TOP GLOBAL CIOs

MUSTANSIR AZIZ,

Head of IT, Gulf Diagnostic Center Hospital

32 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

Reconstructing a Digital Healthcare WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

The healthcare industry has been continuously evolving. In the next three to five years, the industry will adopt revolutionary new technologies that will assist in improving the patient health. Artificial intelligence will become more common and widely used across the industry. The balance of knowledge will tilt between healthcare professionals and the public. It will empower patients to become more involved in healthcare decision-making and contributing to the reasoning of the treatments to some extent. In the next few years, the community of healthcare service providers and receivers will be able to challenge the professional power of medicine by the public availability of specialist knowledge and by improved access to information on alternative approaches to healthcare, healthcare performance statistics, and consumer rights, all through the new technologies, which will be available.

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

You have a good team if you have a good leader, this is what I believe. Building a team starts with setting expectations and creating a culture of shared responsibility, shared problem-solving and shared decision-making. Secondly provide motivation and assign responsibilities within the team as per the skillset and experience. Provide opportunities for the team to upskill their knowledge and area of expertise is what I strongly advocate. And lastly communication plays a major part in building a good long lasting team.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

The team, which I am currently leading, is the most culturally diverse team, which I can remember leading till date. Leading such a team requires respecting the cultural diversity of each team member, make sure they feel valued and included in the team for all relevant projects. Trust also plays a vital role in the team bonding together cohesively. Treating each member fairly and equally as well as providing opportunities to grow leads the team to contribute more for the organization’s success.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

Collaboration across departments happen smoothly if everyone is on the same page. If there are any differences than at least a common minimum goal should be set that everyone agrees to. Effective communication and setting the expectations is very important. Frequent interaction and having regular meetings with the point of contacts between the departments goes a long way to successful collaborations.

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

Having a good team rapport, harmonious workspace, and positive culture energizes me. If I am able to provide motivation for others to look up to me as a role model, it means that I have succeeded. Negativity, unsuitable working environment and lack of respect depletes me.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

Initiating the roadmap for digital transformation for the Hospital during the start of the pandemic and implementing it step by step. Be it providing secure remote access for employees or provide seamless online patient centric services such as online appointment booking, hospital mobile app, enabling teleconsultation with the doc-

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TOP GLOBAL CIOs

WHAT IS YOUR 1 YEAR, OR 3 YEARS PLAN FOR YOUR COMPANY’S IT DEPARTMENT? HOW DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUSINESS FORWARD WITH TECHNOLOGY? THE IT ROADMAP FOR OUR HOSPITAL’S IT DEPARTMENT IS CLEARLY DEFINED. THE MANTRA IS, MAKE WAY FOR THE LATEST IN IT TECHNOLOGY THAT WOULD PROVIDE THE THREE “S”

SECURITY SCALABILITY SMART SYSTEMS

tors. Integration of our Hospital’s EMR with the Department of Health’s Malaffi Health Information Exchange (HIE) allowed the hospital get easier access to patient’s medical history from across all the Malaffi connected healthcare facilities in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Using automation to reduce costs & streamline revenue cycle management processes thereby reducing insurance rejections leading to revenue growth for the Hospital.

tion was developed to get the output from the old legacy system and import it in to the new application. At the time of project completion the business unit as well as IT was happy with the outcome.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AS A CIO? WHAT RESULT DID IT YIELD?

CIOs are today one of the main pillars in any organization. Already the CIOs are on senior board positions in many organizations and valuable participants at the top of the organizational ladder. This will increase more and more in the coming years.

In one of my previous organizations, there was a situation where the ERP system in use was a very old legacy application whose developer had already closed down. The organization was using this app on daily basis. There came a time when a decision had to be taken to replace the app. But since there was financial data in the legacy app business was reluctant as there was no vendor support for migration of data. As the IT Head, I had to take a final call keeping in mind the existing data as well as future scalability and support for the business. A third party middleware applica-

34 THE TITANS    MAY 2021

DO YOU SEE MORE CIOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

10. ONE DO AND DON’T FOR 2021

Do – Accept the change and get involved with the change. Don’t – Hold on to the past fearing the unknown future.


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TOP GLOBAL CIOs

Making Possible ‘Customer-first’ TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS A HEAD OF CHANNELS & DIGITIZATION.

This is a new role within the Commercial Bank of Dubai (‘CBD’) that I was privileged to move into at the end of 2020, having previously established and ran our Enterprise Change Management Office for 2 years. The role was designed to ensure that the Bank delivers a “customer first” wholesale banking experience based on leveraging digital technology and delivering exceptional customer service.

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT FOR BANKS, HELPING THEM ATTRACT AND RETAIN CUSTOMERS AND IMPROVE EFFICIENCY. HOW SIGNIFICANT HAS THIS BEEN FOR YOUR BANK?

It’s integral! CBD’s mission is to back the businesses driving the UAE economy. We attract customers by sharing in their vision.

We’re a bank that has been in existence for over 50 years and many of our customers have been with us for a large part of that. The importance of digital technology really comes to the fore in how we retain our customers and is a key driver in our vision to be ‘default-digital’. Customer service is the only strategic differentiator and this cannot be optimized without reliable, costeffective digital technology. Our customers are our harshest critics and our most important advocates – and we need them to continue to challenge us.

THE NEED TO GROW TOP-LINE REVENUE THROUGH SALES AND CUSTOMER CONVERSION RATES IS DRIVING INVESTMENT INTO DIGITAL CHANNELS. HOW DOES YOUR ROLE ASSOCIATE WITH THIS?

It’s intrinsically linked! My role is a key enabler to drive revenue growth and customer conversion and my success in this role is tracked against these exact metrics. It is no good to our customers and indeed our shareholders if we provide best-in-class customer experience through our digital channels to interact with our varied product offerings unless more of our customers adopt the same. As such, my role fo-

EOIN DALY ,

Head of Channels & Digitization – Wholesale Banking Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai

36 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


EOIN’S KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

TOP GLOBAL CIOs Digital Transformation –

ensuring that the suite of products our customers require for their success are seamlessly enabled and available to them.

Channel Optimization – maintaining our online banking channel (‘iBusiness’) and migrating our customers to our digital channels where we can best service their requirements. Customer Service –

providing a reliable service desk to our customers and capitalizing on feedback through this channel to ensure we continually improve our services and offerings.

cuses also on creating awareness and encouraging our customers to increase their usage of our digital channels. To support this, we have introduced a “Digital Health Score” for each of our wholesale banking customers. This enables us to maintain a crisp focus on the customers who are availing of the benefits of our digital offerings and offers us a measure of our digital channel utilization. It’s a score that many of our staff have a role in influencing, from our Relationship Managers to our Customer Service Agents to our Channel Managers and even our General Managers.

HOW ARE BANKS FACING NEW DIGITAL COMPETITORS?

Carefully! Ignoring new digital competitors is not an option and banks have established varying strategies to mitigate the business risk associated with new market entrants. FinTech companies are playing an increasingly significant role in servicing banking customers’ needs. Their success, I feel, has come from a healthy obsession on customer satisfaction and a nimbleness in responding to evolving customer needs. We have recognized this and have ensured that FinTech collaboration is an important part of CBD’s innovation agenda. In the last year alone we have gone to market with new business lines in Supply Chain Financing, Wealth Management and Financial Inclusion that would not have been a success without the collaboration of our FinTech partners.

WHAT ARE THE KEY FACTORS OF A SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL BANKING STRATEGY?

Customers, customers and customers! Despite my role title or my background, I have never been a huge advocate of the word “digital”. I find it’s too easy to hide and play behind this concept. Digital

is an enabler – only that. If we lose sight of why we are digitizing then we lose our customers. While we strive to be “default digital” this is only because we passionately believe that this is the best way that we can service our customers. Trying to differentiate between Strategy and Digital Strategy is, I feel, futile.

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL BANKING?

This depends on how far into the future we look! I’ll resist the urge to dive into sci-fi and instead focus on the near future. I think we’ll see less reliance on extensive branch networks and more customer-centric migration to lower cost-to-serve reliable digital channels. This will be supported by an increased focus on data-informed personalization. Also, we’ll see more partnerships and not just with FinTechs. Banking brands may become less visible as life-style enabling ecosystems evolve with multiple cross-industry players collaborating to optimize customer service. However, regardless of whether they are participants in eco-systems or standalone financial service providers, banks will continue to be key players in fulfilling customers’ financial and lifestyle needs.

MAY 2021

THE TITANS 37


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

Reshaping Insurance for the Digital Native Generation WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADING IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

The insurance industry currently faces a unique moment in its history. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered several opportunities to reinvent itself in line with this new normal. Apart from the pandemic, I believe that the most important factor that is reshaping the insurance market is the generational gap. This digital native generation, Gen Z, is already reeling the corporate culture and customer behaviour. This will clearly reinforce the need to transform business models. The proliferations of InsureTech and FinTech startups is a clear indication of this trend with UX, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning leading the way.

WHAT IS YOUR 1 YEAR, OR 3 YEARS PLAN FOR YOUR GROUP’S IT DEPARTMENT? HOW DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUSINESS FORWARD WITH TECHNOLOGY?

We are an insurance investment group. It depends on the company and business, as each one has its own specific plans. Generically, the overall strategy is aligned with the market best practices. Shifting from a cost centre into a revenue lever, becoming a AI and data driven, streamlining automation and operational efficiency, manage risk and secure our clients data, and, probably the most important one, driving the IT expense down in the long run.

HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR TEAMS?

For me the hiring process and diversity in the workplace is fundamental. More important than someone fitting the role, is hiring someone that fits the team and presents the right balance between hard and soft skills, personality, gender, educational background, cultural background, etc.

ANTONIO CAMPOS DIONISIO,

GROUP CIO MIG HOLDING

38 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


TOP GLOBAL CIOs

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU LEAD A CULTURALLY DIVERSE TEAM?

I have been leading culturally diverse teams for more than half my career. Before coming to Dubai, which is already an amazing melting pot of different nationalities and cultures, I was based in Madrid leading a region with teams spread across Latin America, South Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The lessons learnt from that experience were very enriching and extremely valuable for when I moved to Dubai.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT COLLABORATION ACROSS DEPARTMENTS?

Having a solid Governance model is very important to glue all lose ends and foster trust and communication.

WHAT ENERGIZES YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT DEPLETES YOU?

Simply put: Results and seeing my teams to successfully come together.

WHICH WAS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY AND HOW DID IT IMPACT OR INFLUENCE THE BUSINESS?

Apart from the contribution to the vision and strategy of the organization, having all companies completely ready and secured to work remotely right before the pandemic hit was something that allowed all our businesses to operate normally and securely during the national lockdowns. Naturally, this was not my contribution but of all my teams combined and the result of execution of our strategy in motion since 2018.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AS A CIO? WHAT RESULT DID IT YIELD?

Most of my career I have been leading turnarounds, reorganizations and transformation processes. To be successful, you have to be able to take hard decisions, the sooner the better. Being people centric, personally the hardest decisions I had to take were the ones that involved people.

WHICH TECHNOLOGY/IES DO YOU THINK WILL DOMINATE ENTERPRISE IT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

I think there are two technologies that are and will continue to dominate the enterprise IT in the years to come. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cybersecurity. We are amid the longest AI summer

ever for which I believe we reached a point of no return. The down turn of AI relies in adversarial attacks, which in simple terms are specially crafted inputs or attacks to get a wrong result from an AI/ML model. This will certainly be the focus of some bad actors in the near future and it will drive a new trend or demand in the security space. With the advent of the internet of everything, cybersecurity is playing a crucial role in the future of technology. I expect a massive rise of cyber insurance business in SME’s as a way to transfer the residual part of their cyber risks.

DO YOU SEE MORE CIOS TAKING UP BOARD POSITIONS?

Yes I do. As I have mentioned earlier, shifting IT from a support function into a business partner and a lever of business transformation and innovation is leading the way to most of companies having their CIO’s take up board positions. The natural evolution of the role is positioning it as another business leader and partner that will function as another fundamental cog in the broader organizational engine. With all this trend, the main responsibility of a CIO is to evangelize and create awareness across his peers on the innovation technology might bring to their business areas and, at the same time, keeping everyone’s expectations realistic and pragmatic.

ONE DO AND DON’T FOR 2021?

Do - seize the moment, embrace organizational change and keep investing in innovative technology. But remember that New Technology combined with an Old Organization will lead to an Expensive Old Organization! Don’t - neglect cybersecurity and business resilience. Think about transferring your residual risk with Cyber Insurance!

MAY 2021

THE TITANS 39


CIO OF TOMORROW

CIO of Tomorrow

Popular Opinions

40 THE TITANS    MAY 2021


CIO OF TOMORROW

• CIO of tomorrow is a person who takes tech directly to the market, thereby opening doors for customer satisfaction and new product development. • CIO of Tomorrow plays a direct role in developing products that capture the customer imagination, thereby improving top line and delivering new product lines. • The CIO of tomorrow will be seen as a business leader and members of the strategic leadership team. • CIO will necessarily shift their primary focus from process improvement and optimized efficiencies to customer-facing revenue-generating activities. • CIO of tomorrow need to have a business-oriented mindset, who can create a technology strategy that provides business value and sustains company growth. • The key attributes of the CIO of tomorrow are business acumen for ensuring a strong business-IT alignment, a bias for speed and agility as they recast their businesses as digital businesses, and an ability to influence at board level. • CIO of tomorrow will have to be multidimensional, acting as a business strategist, change ambassador, and technology leader. • CIOs will be required to not only master new technologies but also understand how and where these technologies can be best deployed in their businesses. • The CIO of tomorrow would be a person coming from a revenue /commercial and distribution background and not only technical. He should not just understand the business but also drive it. • CIO of tomorrow should be (ABCDEF): i. Agile & Adapt. ii. Business & Big Picture Focussed iii. Control Less iv. Data Driven v. Explore the unknown vi. Flexible • A new generation of chief information officers are transforming their organisations with exciting technologies emerging from the digital era. Businesses are more interested in technology than ever before. • The CIO, as the focal point for innovation, is best placed to help implement these new technologies, drive business outcomes and improve processes.

MAY 2021

THE TITANS 41


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