KAMAL KARNATAK, Group CIO, RJ Corp, worked with an MDM startup as it gave him the room to tweak mobile apps and ensure security.
Mobile Maneuver Security potholes, UI curves, and a flood of devices. How four CIOs are steering through mobility’s roadblocks. Page 34
JULY 15, 2013 | `100.00 W WW.CIO.IN
VIEW FROM THE TOP R. Mukundan on IT’s role in Tata Chemicals’ FMCG push.
THE LEAD STORY The secret behind HT Media’s journey to IT salvation.
From The Editor-in-Chief
PUBLISHER, PRESIDENT & CEO Louis D’Mello ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Rupesh Sreedharan, Sudhir Argula E D I TO R I A L
Great Expectations Enterprise end-users are raising the threshold on what they think of your efforts. Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it. —Peter Drucker A CIO recently told me that the stress levels many of his peers faced were a result of their playing technologically-skilled entertainers, providing a high-energy show—juggling multiple roles and hats in the process. But stress is not just about working long hours or even donning multiple hats. It can come from having too much to do as it can from having too little to deliver. It can be about having to hardcode business outcomes into projects and it can be about having to recognize the power of expectation. My 23 years of covering technology and the business of technology, my interactions with the CIO community, and our research clearly indicate that technology rarely fails. However, in almost all the deployments that go sour, the overwhelming reason is end-user rejection. Delivering on a promise to end-users in the best of circumstances is a tough act, but what happens when the bar gets raised so high that it’s damned you do and damned if you don’t? Curiously, I’ve seen expectations rise in direct proportion to end-user comfort with technology. From a situation where everything enterprise—compute, bandwidth, and, even the class of hotels to stay in—was superior to what individual employees could rustle up on their own, the worm’s turned such that most organization’s don’t have a snowflake’s hope in hell of keeping pace with devices or connectivity or even the apps that end-users like to use. That’s where the comparisons commence, and bitterness begins. Surprisingly, the bile can rapidly rise on both sides of the table. A CIO I know has been patiently fighting his own team, when it comes to adopting off-the-shelf and noncustomized apps (often the kind that users choose). The magic truly happens when you catalyze the reaction between technology and end-users. Get it right, and you see the creation of true value. Get it wrong—Kaboom!
Editor-in-Chief Vijay Ramachandran Managing Editor T.M. Arun Kumar Executive Editor Gunjan Trivedi Associate Editors Sunil Shah,Yogesh Gupta Features Editor Shardha Subramanian Special Correspondents Gopal Kishore, Radhika Nallayam, Shantheri Mallaya Principal Correspondents Anup Varier, Debarati Roy, Sneha Jha, Varsha Chidambaram Senior Correspondents Aritra Sarkhel, Eric Ernest, Ershad Kaleebullah, Shubhra Rishi, Shweta Rao Senior Copy Editors Shreehari Paliath, Vinay Kumaar Lead Designers Jinan K.V., Pradeep Gulur, Suresh Nair, Vikas Kapoor Senior Designers Sabrina Naresh, Unnikrishnan A.V. SALES & MARKETING President Sales & Marketing Sudhir Kamath Vice President Sales Sudhir Argula Vice President Special Projects Parul Singh GM Marketing Siddharth Singh General Manager Sales Jaideep M. Manager-KeyAccounts Runjhun Kulshrestha, Sakshee Bagri Manager Marketing Ajay Chakravarthy Manager-Sales Support Nadira Hyder Sr. Marketing Associates Anuradha H. Iyer, Archana Ganapathy, Benjamin Jeevanraj, Dilip Menon, Rima Biswas, Saurabh Patil, Marketing Associate Arjun Punchappady, Cleanne Serrao, Lavneetha Kunjappa, Margarate D’costa, Nikita Oliver, Shwetha M. Lead Designer Jithesh C.C. Senior Designer Laaljith C.K. O perations Vice President HR & Operations Rupesh Sreedharan Financial Controller Sivaramakrishnan T.P. CIO Pavan Mehra Sr. Manager Operations Ajay Adhikari, Chetan Acharya, Pooja Chhabra Sr. Manager Accounts Sasi Kumar V. Sr. Manager Production T.K. Karunakaran Sr. Manager IT Satish Apagundi Manager Operations Dinesh P., Tharuna Paul Manager Credit Control Prachi Gupta Sr. Accounts Executive Poornima
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Printed and Published by Louis D’Mello on behalf of IDG Media Private Limited, Geetha Building, 49, 3rd Cross, Mission Road, Bangalore - 560 027. Editor: Louis D’Mello Printed at Manipal Press Ltd., Press Corner, Tile Factory Road, Manipal, Udupi, Karnataka - 576 104.
Vol/8 | ISSUE/09
NOVELL. BECAUSE MOBILITY IS ON THE RISE, AND SMART COMPANIES ARE GETTING ONBOARD. What the tech world calls “mobility,” Novell simply calls “life.” That’s why we allow you to say “yes” when yet another employee wants to connect yet another device to the corporate airwaves. With Novell solutions, you no longer have to fight against the mobile tide. BYOD? Bring it on!
To attend please send us an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01141095707 Aug 20th, 2013 | Taj Vivanta, Bangalore.
contents juLY 15, 2013 | Vol/8 | issue/09
Case Files 56 | HT Media Cio role Languishing on the sidelines for ten years, Hindustan Times Media’s IT story ran the risk of fading out. The company needed someone to pull IT out of the archives onto the front page. And it found just the man for the job. By Varsha Chidambaram
78 | Uttara Foods
Open Source ERP Processed food giant Venky’s uses Open Source technology to tailor an ERP for its poultry business, thus enhancing operational capabilities and boosting transparency. By Varsha Chidambaram
Cover Photo by srivatsa shandil iya \ Cover Design by VIKAS K AP OOR & U nnikrishnan av
80 | Essar Group
WAN Optimization Poor interconnection between multiple locations meant Essar Group’s employees had to face productivity issues. Here’s how the company overcame this challenge. By Aritra Sarkhel
34 | Mobile Maneuver
COVER STORY | Mobility Security potholes, a flood of devices, and steep UI curves are making mobility a bumpy ride. Here’s how to steer through these roadblocks. By Anup Varier
62 | 11 Leaders Nobody Wants Feature | CIO ROle Recognizing where you fall short in your management style and trying to strengthen those areas can mean the difference between being a boss and being a leader. By Rich Hein
72 | Cloudy with a Chance of Big Data Feature | Big Data By analyzing a wealth of weather information, multiple industries can adjust inventories and marketing schemes, based on the shifting winds of Mother Nature. By Kim S. Nash
j u ly 1 5 , 2 0 1 3 | REAL CIO WORLD
VIEW FROM THE TOP: “The use of IT is going to become pervasive in our business. It will increase the levels of transparency and decision-making ability,” says R. Mukundan, MD, Tata Chemicals.
Vol/8 | ISSUE/09
21 – 24 October Goa, India gartner.com/in/symposium
The World’s Most Important Gathering of CIOs and Senior IT Executives Leading in a Digital World Accelerating growth. Creating new connections. Driving greater agility. A powerful convergence of forces — mobile, social, cloud and information — is rapidly reshaping how business gets done now and in the future. Gartner believes CIOs and senior IT executives are at the center of this transformation, leading the creation of the digital enterprise. At Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, attendees will discover how to seize new opportunities, forge strategic partnerships to drive change, and evolve to become indispensable leaders in the digital world.
Five role-based tracks:
Just announced! Luminary Guest Keynote: Jamie Anderson ‘Management Guru’, Professor of Strategic Management at Antwerp Management School and the Lorange Institute of Business Zurich, and Visiting Professor at London Business School
• Applications • Business Intelligence & Information Management • CIO • Infrastructure & Operations • Strategic Initiatives
Two Industry tracks: • Banking • Insurance
40+ solution providers
800+ 130+ analyst-led sessions total attendees
Exclusive CIO Program
30+ Gartner analysts
Register using promotion code SYMAD2 to save INR 10,000
departments 2 | From the Editor-in-Chief Great Expectations By Vijay Ramachandran
9 | Trendlines
6 8 CXO Agenda | finance Sunil O. Khandelwal, CFO, Alok Industries, says IT has empowered the company with timely decisions that help it tweak its strategy to stay profitable and beat competition. By Yogesh Gupta
21 | Smartphones, but Dumb Move
16 | Alert Hacking | Hack Back or Backtrack? Best Practices | Wanted: Security Partners
81 | Essential Technology
68 | Weaving a Success Story with IT
Microchips | When David Powered Goliath Cloud | Glasgow Universityâ€™s Lego Cloud Music | Stanley, the Self-playing Piano Wireless | Wi-Fi Becomes Handy Future Tech | Chips for the Brain Opinion Poll | Sing the Hype-Hop Accessories | Your Personal Breathalyzer Mobile Apps | Wasting Time by Checking Time Gadgets | Think You can Fly? Automobile | The Car of the Future is Here Mobile Phones | Dr. Smartphone, Mr. Satellite By the Numbers | Concerned Executive Officers
Frankly speaking At a time when even established smartphone players are struggling, HP and Lenovo announce their entry into the market. Right now, it seems like a dumb strategy.
Big Data | Breaking Barriers Apps | Smart Shopping Lists
94 | Endlines Display Technology | Great Wall of Video By Lauren Brousell
By T.M. Arun Kumar
27 | Games We Play leading edge Gamification promises to revolutionize the way organizations adopt new approaches, practices, and processes. But, is it worth playing? By Gunjan Trivedi
30 | Agile? More Like Fragile Think Tank Contrary to popular belief, agile development creates more problems instead of expediting solutions. What companies need to focus on is agile thinking. By Lajos Moczar â€‚
j u ly 1 5 , 2 0 1 3 | REAL CIO WORLD
Vol/8 | ISSUE/09
Production Manager Maximize production; ensure operational safety.
IT Manager Ensure uptime and availability.
Chief Sustainability Officer Drive sustainability strategy; optimize resource efficiency.
Facilities Manager Manage energy, lighting, safety, security, and HVAC.
Chief Executive Officer Achieve competitive advantage through an efficient enterprise.
Now, enterprise-wide energy efficiency is at your fingertips. StruxureWare software delivers enhanced visibility for fast, informed decision-making. You can’t manage what you can’t see. To optimize business performance and conserve enterprise resources, you need an efficiency and sustainability strategy driven by powerful, intelligent software that is integrated and engineered to work together. StruxureWare™ software applications and suites from Schneider Electric™ are the answer.
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Open, scalable, and easily integrated with third-party and legacy systems, StruxureWare software is a unique platform of applications and suites that gives you visibility into energy and other resource use across your organization. Control rising energy costs; meet reporting obligations; keep stakeholders informed and engaged. No matter what your challenge, you’ll get customized, actionable information that eliminates departmental silos and conflict. And, when you deploy StruxureWare software within EcoStruxure™ integrated system architecture, you can realize significant savings on capital and operational expenses.
A global leader in efficiency and sustainability Ranked 13th on the Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies, Schneider Electric has the solutions and expertise you need to maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impact. Independent analyst firm Verdantix named Schneider Electric a “Leader” in energy management software, citing a compelling market vision, robust capabilities, and best-in-class partner network that “set the bar high.”
From theory to reality: 3 steps to implementing a sustainability programme
> Executive summary
Access data instantly: Get the information you need, when and where you need it, presented in a form that meets your requirements. Share information confidently: Provide accurate, timely information across and outside your organization. Create actionable reports: Develop critical reporting tools, empowering your enterprise to take action. Make informed decisions: Work from one, integrated, real-time version of the truth, eliminating guesswork in decision-making. Operate more efficiently: Identify ways to save energy, enabling efficiency and process improvements.
Where are you on the road to sustainability? Find out when you download “From theory to reality: 3 steps to implementing a sustainability program.” Plus, enter to win an iPad mini!
Visit www.SEreply.com Key Code 50038y ©2013 Schneider Electric. All Rights Reserved. Schneider Electric and StruxureWare are trademarks owned by Schneider Electric Industries SAS or its affiliated companies. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. • www.schneider-electric.com • 998-1169566_IN *Source: A New Era of Sustainability, UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study 2010
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Vol/8 | ISSUE/09
E D I T E D B Y v i n ay K u m a A r
When David Powered Goliath up too. BSC has been researching low-power ARM processor use in supercomputers as a way to boost performance while dropping power consumption. BSC argues that cheaper ARM processors could ultimately overtake the more power-hungry and expensive x86 server chips. The BSC supercomputer, called Pedraforca, will have a mix of Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chips with the company’s Tesla GPUs, which can speed up specific math and science operations. The server will be deployed at the BSC premises in Barcelona. French server maker Bull and Italian company E4 Computer Engineering will jointly integrate and deploy Pedraforca. BSC is developing multiple ARM servers, including one using Samsung’s Exynos 5— based on ARM’s Cortex-A15 processor design.
M i c r o c h i p s Smartphone and tablet chips are now making their way into highperformance computers, providing an energy-efficient alternative to the powerhungry server chips used in the world’s fastest supercomputers. The Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) has built a prototype supercomputer running on ARM processors. ARM processors are used in most of the world’s smartphones and tablets, while more than 400 of the fastest supercomputers on the Top 500 list are based on x86 server processors from Intel or AMD. Interest in plugging smartphone processors into servers is growing as companies look to reduce power bills, and ARM processors have been considered for use in servers processing Web-based workloads. Supercomputing performance is doubling every two years, but power consumption is going
—By Agam Shah
Glasgow University’s Lego Cloud
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Dr. Dimitrios Pezaros, Dr. Jeremy Singer, Dr. Posco Tso, and Dr. David White of the University’s School of Computing Science have developed the Raspberry Pi Cloud project to overcome this challenge of access to cloud research and education. Dr. White informs that before the University built the Raspberry Pi Cloud, they relied on software models of cloud datacenters. He said that software simulations can be valuable, but they are not ‘wholly successful at replicating the practical difficulties of running a datacenter’. “The ARM processors which are used in the Raspberry Pi are also becoming more common in cloud datacenters because they require less energy to run than more traditional PC hardware, which gives our students another advantage for their future careers,” he adds. — By Derek du Preez REAL CIO WORLD | j u ly 1 5 , 2 0 1 3
illustration by masterf ile.com
C l o u d C o m p u t i n g Computer scientists at the University of Glasgow claim to have built a working model of a ‘multi-million pound cloud’ infrastructure with a budget of £4,000 (about Rs 3,60,000) using just Lego bricks and a handful of Raspberry Pi computer boards. Researchers have linked together 56 cut-price Raspberry Pi computer boards in racks made from Lego, which mimic the function and modular design of commercial cloud computing infrastructure. The aim is to allow computer science researchers and students to develop a practical understanding of cloud infrastructure, which Glasgow University claims is difficult when working with commercial cloud service providers. It said that cloud computing service providers ‘maintain a great deal of secrecy over how their systems work beyond the software available to end-users’.
Stanley, the Selfplaying Piano For too long, player piano-human interactions have been a one-way conversation. But thanks to a little techno-tinkering, this no longer need be the case. Sing for Hope Pianos, an annual art project that places 88 piano-based installations throughout New York City, has teamed up with digital boutique agency Digital Kitchen to reinvent the old timey player piano for the social media age. The result: Stanley, the player piano that can read your tweets and play any song you send his way. Stanley is able to isolate the name of songs or artists that are submitted to him via his Twitter handle, @ stanleypiano. The tweets then get imported into a custom CMS (Content Management System) known as STANFORD. Utilizing a database of stored MIDI files that have been cleaned and tailored to make them specifically “Stanley-friendly,” the CMS creates a queued playlist of tunes. “Some independent songs had to be hand transcribed for Stanley,” says Ben Chaykin, the hardware creative behind Stanley “and if we don’t have the song, we can try our best to find it online and clean it up with a quick turnaround.” Once a song is added to the queue, an @reply will be sent to the requestor to let them know the song is ready to go. Songs can also be requested directly to Stanley by those in shouting distance. Stanley is attached with a video display and speaker that will allow him to interact with onlookers via a “man behind the curtain” situation manned by Chaykin or other members of Team Stanley. Player piano could be considered one of the first iPods, in that it was the preferred form of technology for popularizing and spreading popular tunes. The player piano, which can claim roots back to the 19th century, began its decline from popular consciousness in the 1920s when the phonograph began to overtake the medium. Music distribution technology has of course been reinvented many times since then, and Stanley represents this journey coming full circle. Stanley himself is a vintage 1920s-era player piano powered by a MacBook Air that lives in his innards. The MacBook reads the MIDI files and uses them to activate a series of electric solenoid valves, which in turn operate the individual keys. Onlookers can see Stanley’s undulating bellows connected to the original vacuum pump that powered him at his construction. The design team decided to keep the vintage steampunk aesthetics in place despite their lack of functional value. — By Evan Dashevsky
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Wi-Fi Becomes Handy A research team at the University of Washington has developed a way to enable gesture control across all devices using the Wi-Fi router in your living room. Your Wi-Fi router and array of connected devices already flood your home with a torrent of wall-traversing signals. When solid objects—like, say, a human—move, they slightly alter the frequency of the Wi-Fi signal via the Doppler Effect. The UoW research team developed a way to transform a standard Wi-Fi router into a “smart receiver” so it can register these ever-so-slight signal alterations and translate them into actionable commands. The technology, which the team has dubbed WiSee, has been used to identify nine distinct human gestures ranging from a swipe of the hand to “full-body bowling.” Researchers have found that a single receiver can recognize up to five different users when fitted with multiple antenna that “tune” into a specific person. WiSee has distinct advantages over other gesture technologies. First and foremost, it will be simpler and cheaper as it is adapted from technology that already exists. Additionally, WiSee doesn’t require users be in the same room as the device they want to control because signals can readily travel through solid walls. From an application point of view, WiSee can make any Wi-Fi-enabled electronic device gesture-sensitive and controllable from just about anywhere in your home. So, with little more than a wave of the hand, users will be able to turn lights on or off from the couch, raise the volume of the TV from the next room, or open the garage before getting outside. And if you’re wondering how you would stop a neighbor or hacker from taking control of your devices, the team foresees a specific repetition gesture that users would use to log into their system. The next step for the research team is to develop WiSee’s ability to allow users to control multiple devices simultaneously. As this technology develops, we may be able control an entire home full of technology with little more than a swipe of the hand. —By Evan Dashevsky Wireless
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Chips for the Brain
Some ‘hot’ technology trends certainly don’t warrant the hype surrounding them, say Indian CIOs. Here are the top four over-hyped technologies in their opinion. Technology Trends
3 4 Source: CIO Research
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Acc e s s o r i e s It can be awkward to try and convince a friend that they shouldn’t be driving, but it’s a situation that many of us find ourselves in: It’s late on a Friday night, you’ve been out with co-workers for a few hours, and then Steve from accounting unevenly rises and declares it’s time for him to head home. “Are you okay to drive?” someone asks, and he says he’s fine—but it also took him several minutes to find his keys in his jacket pocket. Maybe he’s just tired, maybe he’s past his limit, but there’s no real way for you to determine whether or not you should insist on calling him a cab. Except, of course, now there is. A group of award-winning technologists and industrial designers at 2045Tech have developed an appcessory prototype for a highly accurate smartphone breathalyzer called Floome. A pocket-sized device with a companion app, the Floome is designed to be easy to carry and never needs charging. The streamlined Floome plugs directly into the headphone jack on any iOS, Android, or Windows Phone device. From there, the user blows into the Floome’s removable, cleanable mouthpiece and the device then uses fuel cell sensors, like the ones found in professional breathalyzers, to detect ethanol molecules. Using information on the volume of breath, Floome is then able to provide a precise blood alcohol content (BAC)—and some additional useful information such as how long to wait before you can retest, and presumably, drive; an alarm to remind you when to retest; and an option to call a taxi. Floome can also show you graphs of your previous results, and will let you take a photo and share your tests via social media. If you share additional information with Floome, such as your height, weight, and gender, the app will “learn” how each user metabolizes alcohol in order to provide more precise calculations on how long your “recovery” time is— that is, how long until you’re safe to drive. Lab tests show that the deviation between the Floome measurements and those of professional breathalyzers is less than 10 percent. The Floome is being offered in five colors—black, white, purple, blue, and gemstone—and you can pledge $65 (about Rs 3,700) for a black model for a hoped-for October delivery. If it comes to market in the fall, it will retail for $80 (about Rs 4,500). —By Amber Bouman
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IMAGE COURT ESY: indiegogo.co m
Sing the Hype-Hop
Your Personal Breathalyzer
F u t u r e T e c h The idea of applying a regular computer chip directly to your brain is silly. So, scientists at Japan’s Yokohama National University have created a new material that can be shaped into complex, conductive microscopic 3D structures. The scientists say their research could lead to the development of microelectrodes that interface directly with the brain. These customized microelectrodes would sit in the brain to send and receive electrical signals as a way to treat disorders like epilepsy, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. The whole thing starts by using lasers to fashion a light-sensitive resin, called Resorcinol Diglycidyl Ether (RDGE), into a 3D print. 3D printing will of course allow the scientists to create any shape they want, including chips that could slip into your brain crevices. But that’s only half the equation: This new resin is also designed to take more heat, so it’s baked at hightemperatures until it shrinks and darkens in a process called “carbonizing,” or charring. This final curing process increases the conductivity of the resin along with its surface area, making it a better electrode. To test the effectiveness of their new resin-based creations, the scientists printed the Stanford bunny, which is a standardized shape commonly used in 3D modeling and computer graphics. Now that the researchers have developed a new material that can undergo carbonizing without warping into a glob, they can focus on creating applications for it. —By Kevin Lee
Wasting Time by Checking Time You may think your digital alarm clock is impressive as far as such things go, what with its radio, charging dock, and ambient LED light. But it doesn’t really show off your geek credentials. Michael Cuiffo’s QR Clock will increase your geek quotient in a hurry, even if it’s a little unusual. Simply open a QR code reader app, hold your smartphone up to the clock, and you get the time. Of course, there’s something absurd about such a clock, as Cuiffo points out: “In the time it takes to scan a QR clock, you could have looked at your phone’s clock, glanced at their wrist watch, or even asked someone else.” A 24 by 24-pixel LED matrix makes up the main part of the clock, and it displays a QR code that represents the current time. The board displays hours, minutes and seconds, so it changes quite frequently. The LED matrix is Cuiffo’s own creation, and runs off circuit boards he also built himself. Why a QR code clock? Cuiffo explains. “I think clocks are fascinating from an engineering perspective because they are what I think is the only engineering problem that has been 100 percent solved. Any attempt to M o b i l e A p p l i c at i o n s
change such a simple and optimized device can only serve to make it more complicated or harder to read. The QR clock does both.” “I was also interested in finding a way to point out the irony of QR codes in that they are a prevalent technological convenience that isn’t really that convenient. In the time it takes someone to scan a QR code, they probably could have just typed in a URL or performed a Google search instead,” quips Cuiffo. Despite this, Cuiffo has since sold a number of the QR Clocks at a profit. However, his project hasn’t been without its pitfalls: It takes a lot of manual labor to build each clock, despite some assembly outsourcing. This means that he’s not likely to make more, instead focusing on a new fun build. However, Michael has posted all PCB layout, source codes, schematics, and other useful insights over on his blog. —By Elizabeth Fish
Think You Can Fly?
illustration by masterf ile.com
G a d g e t s Quadrocopters are cool, but mind-controlled quadrocopters are way cooler. In a feat of engineering that could have come straight out of Iron Man 3, University of Minnesota (UM) researchers have figured out how to control quadrocopters with their minds. A team of scientists led by biomedical engineering professor Bin He have developed a thought-reading interface that’s completely non-invasive, which means it doesn’t require any computer chips applied directly to the brain. This isn’t just sci-fi; the research team has a working system that you can use to control a Parrot AR drone. The scientists developed a brain reading device that looks more like a funny hat fitted with 64 electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors. The EEG cap picks up brainwaves from your motor cortex, the part of the cerebellum that controls movement. From there, a computer translates your brain signals into flight control commands that are transmitted to the drone via Wi-Fi. Graduate students Karl LaFleur and Alexu Doud, who both worked on the project, said that imagining yourself making a fist with your left hand turns the drone to the right. Thinking of closing both hands causes the drone to fly upwards. The biggest step for this research project, however, is that the completely non-invasive system can control a physical object.
j u ly 1 5 , 2 0 1 3 | REAL CIO WORLD
The researchers say that this research could help people with disabilities or various neurodegenerative diseases to regain their mobility and independence. “[Researchers elsewhere] have used a chip implanted into the brain’s motor cortex to drive movement of a cursor [across a screen] or a robotic arm,” says Bin He. “But here, we have proof that a non-invasive BCI from a scalp EEG can do as well as an invasive chip.” Previously, we’ve only seen brain-controlled gadgets work with software and games. Drones, however, could just be the beginning for thought-controlled devices. The technology could eventually lead to mind-manipulated wheelchairs, artificial limbs, or other devices. In the team’s trials, five students were able to fly the drone easily after a series of training exercises. Meanwhile, a sixth test pilot was able to just sit down and fly the thing without any preparation. This suggests that that the system is intuitive enough for some people to just pick up and use. If you want to read more on the study to fly drones with your mind, you can check out the paper as published in the Journal of Neuro Engineering. —By Kevin Lee
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The Car of the Future is Here technology to let the driver tell the car his or her daily schedule. The system will then use digital maps to create a plan to allow the user to finish the schedule in the time period specified. The system will suggest canceling tasks that could keep the user off schedule. “Our technology views the process of collaboration as a diagnostic problem,” says Williams. “The algorithm figures out why the travel plan failed, what were the important things that caused it to fail, and explains this back to the user.” If the user doesn’t like the system’s suggestion, he or she can prod it to come up with another solution. “There is a back-and-forth dialogue until the algorithm finds something that meets the user’s needs and that the car knows it can actually do,” Williams notes. The researchers also are investigating to see if the algorithm can work with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Some people are hesitant to use the cars because of what’s been dubbed “range anxiety”—the fear of running out of charge away from home or a charging point. By using MIT’s system, drivers could work with the car to plan their schedule and their route. —By Sharon Gaudin
A u t o m o b i l e You wake up in the morning and your robot starts the coffeemaker and then sends the daily calendar to the car. The car then works on a plan that makes sure you keep to that schedule. It’s not a scene out of a sci-fi movie. It’s the vision of MIT researchers who are developing systems to help people collaborate with robots and vehicles. “In general, everything around us is getting smarter,” says Brian Williams, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “We’re trying to allow people to interact with these increasingly autonomous systems in the same way that they would interact with another human.” Williams and MIT graduate student Peng Yu are working on an algorithm that is similar to those that would run autonomous vehicles, like Google’s driverless car. The MIT effort first aims to enable conventional vehicles and robots to work with humans to plan routes and schedules. The researchers were inspired by users of the Zipcar car sharing service who want to do everything on their schedules during the time they have a car reserved. The system will use speech recognition
Dr. Smartphone and Mr. Satellite
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it to orbit—the high frontier is the ultimate testing ground for new and innovative space technologies of the future,” comments Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology. “Smartphones offer a wealth of potential capabilities for flying small, low-cost, powerful satellites for atmospheric or Earth science, communications, or other space-born applications. They also may open space to a whole new generation of commercial, academic, and citizenspace users.” All three PhoneSats are transmitting images taken from space, as well as messages, which generally are about their functions and condition. The transmissions have been received at multiple ground stations on Earth,
indicating they are operating normally, reports NASA. The PhoneSat team at the Ames Research Center will continue to monitor the satellites until they fall back toward the Earth. The PhoneSats are emitting packets on the amateur radio spectrum. And NASA reveals that more than 200 amateur radio operators from around the world have reported receiving the transmissions since the smartphones went into space. NASA’s off-the-shelf nanosatellites already have many of the systems needed for a satellite, including fast processors, versatile operating systems, multiple miniature sensors, high-resolution cameras, GPS receivers, and several radios, NASA notes.
ILLUST RATION by masterfile.com
NASA has launched three smartphones into space in what scientists hope will be the lowestcost satellites ever tested. The smartphones, Google-HTC Nexus Ones running the Android operating system, launched aboard the maiden flight of Orbital Science’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility. The smartphones are encased in 4-inch metal cubes and are hooked up to external lithium-ion battery banks and more powerful radios for sending messages from space. The goal of this mission is to see just how capable these tiny satellites, dubbed PhoneSats, are and whether they can one day serve as the brains of inexpensive but powerful satellites.“It’s always great to see a space technology mission make Mobile Phones
—By Sharon Gaudin REAL CIO WORLD | j u ly 1 5 , 2 0 1 3
c o m pi l ed by S h u b h r a R i s h i
Concerned Executive Officers Best Practices Indian CEOs seem to be not really worried about the
gloomy economic climate. What worries them, however, is a slew of other operations-related shortcomings.
The global economy has been losing steam, and the Indian economy has registered an unimpressive expansion of five percent in the second quarter. Despite this pitiful state of affairs, 38 percent of Indian CEOs are optimistic that the situation will improve in the next 12 months, says a PwC report which interviewed 1,330 CEOs in 68 countries, out of which 78 were Indian CEOs. If the economy does not trouble Indian CEOs, then what gives them sleepless nights? Chronic inadequacy of basic infrastructure, for one does. The massive 2012 July blackout that occurred due to the collapse of India’s Northern Grid network gave businesses many a scare. According to the PwC report, about 75 percent of Indian CEOs consider such limitations a direct risk to business growth. Also, increasing tax burdens and growing regulatory compliance worry about 75 percent of Indian CEOs. Government actions and protectionist tendencies worry more Indian CEOs than their global counterparts. If there’s a greater danger, it’s the availability of key skills, which worries about 81 percent of CEOs. In the last year, only 41 percent of Indian CEOs have increased their organizational headcount. However, on the bright side, 74 percent of Indian CEOs are prioritizing on investing to create and foster a skilled workforce.
Top Three Concerns… …of Indian CEOs
…of Global CEOs
81% Availability of key skills
75% Inadequacy of basic infrastructure
75% Increasing tax burden
63% Energy and raw materials cost
62% Increasing tax burden
58% Availability of key skills
Target existing domestic and foreign markets to increase output and enhance sales. Also, focus on a few carefully selected initiatives rather than nurturing varied business ideas.
Concentrate on customers and clients. They are the stakeholders who have the most influence on their organization’s business strategies.
Improve operational effectiveness. Strengthening engagement with supply chain partners, involving managers below board level in strategic decision-making, investing in skill development, and increasing innovation capacity are some ways to achieve this.
Of CEOs are trying to strengthen their engagement with customers.
India’s rank among 183 nations sorted by the World Bank Group on the basis of ease of paying taxes. Source: PwC Annual Global CEO Survey
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CUSTOM SOLUTIONS GROUP VMWARE
CLOUD CORNER Thought Leadership
VDI: The Stairway to Agility and Flexibility RAJESH CHOPRA Senior Vice President-IT, EIH (Oberoi Hotels & Resorts)
Desktop virtualization simplifies application and operating system upgrades and deployments. It also provides users with flexibility and agility. EIH, under the aegis of The Oberoi Group, is a renowned name in the hospitality industry. EIH is known more for its excellence in service and luxury than for its technology use. We started our VDI journey back in 2009 when we built The Oberoi Gurgaon. We were creating an IT landscape that could deliver exceptional guest experience. We also wanted get rid of PC upgrades for our staff. Therefore, in the initial stages, we virtualized over a 100 user machines. VDI gave us the opportunity to conveniently allocate resources per user profile. It also gave us a window of one year before we upgraded the central server. The implementa-
tion gave us management control, flexibility, and saved us a lot of user space. Even if business is static for a while, we don’t necessarily need to invest anything on the PC infrastructure front. Our next step towards IT infrastructure optimization was to implement server virtualization. Application vendors were mandated to make their application virtualization compatible and in a single stroke we were able to reduce the number of application servers from 30 to 8. With our properties in Hyderabad and Dubai going live, we are fully virtualized. This is a first-of -its-kind virtualization in the hospitality industry.
T. SRINIVASAN Managing Director, VMware India & SAARC
VMware’s Horizon View offers CIOs a more streamlined and secure way to manage users and provide agile and on-demand desktop services. The hospitality sector has been caught up in a desktop dilemma. Not only does it face pressure to control costs and ensure compliance, manageability, and security, but its end-users increasingly require the flexibility to access their applications and data from multiple devices and locations. It is aggravated by the existing PCcentric computing paradigm, which is expensive to manage and restricts IT’s ability to respond swiftly to the changing business dynamics of the hospitality segment. That’s why organizations are looking for an agile, adaptive approach to computing that enables IT to balance business needs and end-user flexibility. Vol/8 | ISSUE/04
That’s what VMware’s VDI solution VMware Horizon View helps organizations achieve. It allows them to adopt a user-centric and flexible approach to computing. It decouples applications, data, and OS from the endpoint and moves it to a datacenter where they can be centrally managed in a cloud. With Horizon View, IT can double the speed of Windows 7 migrations and cut costs in half by rapidly provisioning virtual desktops for end-user access. IT admins can easily provision and customize the environment to comply with corporate policy and end-user needs, thus delivering value to both IT and end-users. REAL CIO WORLD | F E B R U A R Y 1 5 , 2 0 1 3
Enterprise Risk management
Hack Back? Or Backtrack? L
IMAGES by PH OTOS.COM
et’s not mince words: Cyberattacks suck. Whether criminals are hacking our passwords, or Anonymous is simply making a statement, the results exact a heavy toll in terms of time, money, and security. For example, after the Associated Press Twitter account was hacked and bogus news was posted about an attack on the White House, the US stock market took a nosedive. The often dire consequences of cyberattacks have the attention of the highest levels of the government. All the talk is great, but back in the here and now, the situation is tough. When cyberattacks occur—and they will—there’s little one can do except control the damage. Unless you hack back, that is.
Digital Revenge is Sweet— and Illegal Loosely defined, “hacking back” involves turning the tables on a
cyberhacking assailant: Thwarting or stopping the crime, or perhaps even trying to steal back what was taken. How that digital revenge is wreaked, and whether any of it is legal, are issues being actively debated right now. But there’s one thing security experts can agree on: Hackbacks are a tempting response to a frustrating situation. Let’s talk about the illegal part first. “There is no law that actually allows you to engage in an attack,” says Ray Aghaian, a partner with McKenna Long & Aldridge, and a former attorney with the Department of Justice’s Cyber & Intellectual Property Crimes Section. “If you attack an attacker, you’re in the same boat,” he says.
f i n di n g s
Second Fiddle When Does Security Feature in Projects? Do not know
21% On an as-needed basis
Project inception phase Analysis and design phases Implementation phase
The only kind of hacking back that’s considered tolerable is what you might enact defensively within your own computer or network. What is undoubtedly illegal is the offensive hack, where you leave your own territory and actively pursue an assailant online.
Counter intelligence-as-aService Even if companies can’t hack back, they can learn more about their assailants. Eric Ahlm, a security research director with Gartner, sees a burgeoning business in gathering information about cybercriminals. “The world of counterintelligence-as-a-service is certainly growing,” says Ahlm. According to Ahlm, companies tracking bad guys collect vast
Most organizations across the world are confident about their information security behavior. However, a closer look at when this crucial aspect is taken seriously in project development reveals that security is not given enough priority.
Of organizations are very or somewhat confident of the effectiveness of information security activities. source: PwC
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Enterprise Risk management
amounts of data on Internet activity and can hone in on specific “actors” who engage in criminal activity. “Without touching or hacking the individual, they can tell you how trustworthy they are, where they are, what kind of systems they use,” says Ahlm. “They could link a device to an identity.” While private companies cannot take offensive action with any such intelligence, they can use it defensively to thwart suspicious actors if they’re found to be sniffing around company data. “Based off your intelligence of who’s touching you,” says Ahlm, “you can selectively disconnect them or greatly slow them down from network access.” The simple act of slowing down access may be enough to motivate some hackers to look elsewhere.
Fighting Back Has Its Risks Slowdown tactics are routine for CloudFlare, a company that supports websites with performance optimization, security, and other technologies. “In the grand scheme of fight-back tricks, this is one that causes relatively little harm but does a lot of good,” says Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO. “If we are tying up a bad guy’s resources, they have less time to attack the good guys.” While cybersecurity is an integral
part of CloudFlare’s business, Prince cautions that any interaction with attackers carries risk. “Some people out there are real criminals. They have a way of fighting back,” he says. Prince cites the example of Blue Security as a cautionary tale. This company drew raves—as well as criticism—for creating a way to spam back at spammers, clogging their systems and preventing them from sending out more spam. But the spammers fought back, unleashing attacks on Blue Security that caused collateral damage on the Internet. The company eventually closed down operations. “You can easily get in over your head,” says Prince.
Hacking Back May Never Be Legal Now that data represents the biggest asset of many companies, the desire to protect that data intensifies and makes offensive measures seem almost a business imperative. Could some form of legal justification be far behind? “If hack-backs were ever legalized,” Aghaian says, “there needs to be proportionality.” In other words, the hack-back can’t be worse than the original hack. The complexity of determining proportionality, however, is one of many reasons hacking back may
never surmount its significant moral, legal, and practical issues. Hacking back can also have unintended consequences, such as damaging hijacked computers belonging to otherwise innocent individuals, while real criminals remain hidden several layers back on the Internet. If you hack back and hurt someone else instead, “you have to be willing to bear the consequences and pay for the damages,” warns Aghaian. The more prudent approach, says Aghaian, is to focus resources on protecting your data—and prioritizing which data gets the most protection. “Isolate and identify your crown jewels,” says Aghaian, “Your chances of protecting that are far better than trying to protect everything.” No matter how frustrating it can be to fend off cyberattacks, the risks of fighting back are significant. You have to identify the perpetrator. You have to figure out the best way to hack back. Whether or not the hack works, you could face severe retaliation. While the idea of hacking back is deeply satisfying, its risks remain greater than the potential reward. CIO Melissa Riofrio is a writer for PCWorld. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
[On the US government spying on citizens’ online activity]
“The majority of people in most countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate.” — Edward Snowden, Former Technical Contractor, NSA & CIA
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Enterprise Risk management
Wanted: Security Partners
Who is Your Security Buddy? The school program pairs older students gaining confidence in reading with younger students learning to read. When applied to security, the focus shifts from age to experience. Not about more or less, but “different” experience. It means security professionals pair up with a non-security person—a professional in some other function. This forces security professionals to explain what they do in a way that makes sense to others. In the process, they establish personal, professional relationships, and friendships across the organization. 20
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How to Find a Buddy? One of the easiest ways to find a security buddy is “shadowing.” Consider one of the following options. Pick someone: With a role in a complementary business function; marketing, sales, or other business function of potential direct benefit. Who works in an area you don’t currently understand, but want to know more about. From a group or department that appears to resist security. The key is to partner with someone curious about security and able to teach the elements of what they do.
important as the program. Select the right name to drive the right results. Set the expectation that the goal is to learn as much as it is to share and explore. Seek a partner equally willing to participate. Find someone prepared to reveal candid insights, challenges, and opportunities. Find out what others want to learn about. Then explore and practice ways to make the information accessible. Learn enough from the other person to bring security concepts to life in their world, using their words. In the process, learn more about how to ease security into the business. CIO
Build a Mutually Beneficial Program Calling it the “buddy” program could work. Might be foolish. The name is not as
Michael Santarcangelo is a security catalyst, writer and
A Massive Phishing Net
t a school event, I noticed my son sitting and talking with a younger boy. When I asked who he was, my son explained, “He’s my kinder buddy!” A few more questions revealed that the school has a program that purposefully mixes older students with younger students to improve reading. The pair work together to select a topic of mutual interest, pick out a book, read together, and then have time to “work” and play together. The teachers rave about the program. The older students take the program seriously. They get excited to guide another student to pick out and read books. The younger students are thrilled to have someone “just like them” to work with. Both benefit while having fun. In my view, this program does more, too: Older children are exposed to the process of teaching younger children. Younger children learn differently from children a few years older (peers) than they do from teachers (authority). They form friendships and are able to “network” through the school. The same approach applied to the business world brings similar benefits.
speaker. Send feedback to email@example.com.
A heartless phishing gang that stole and frittered a British woman’s entire £1 million (about Rs 9.1 crore) life savings has been handed heavy sentences by a judge at London’s Southwark Crown Court. Nominal ringleader, Nigerian national Rilwan Adesegun Oshodi, was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay back £1 million (about Rs 9.1 crore) under the UK’s Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), although this might prove difficult given that the stolen money has reportedly already been spent. The man who phished the victim’s bank account details and then sold the information to Oshodi for £3,200 (about Rs 2.9 lakh), Egyption Tamer Hassanin Zaky Abdelhamid, was sentenced to six years and ordered to pay £104,000 (about Rs 94.6 lakh). The woman used by Oshodi to impersonate the victim in order to have bank communications redirected, Annette Jabeth, was sentenced to four years. Also, several money mules were used to siphon off the money without the bank noticing. Beyond the fact that the gang stole such a large sum of money from a single person, what makes the case stand out was the brazen way the conspirators spent the money, much of it on a single lavish threeday shopping trip in January 2012. — By John E. Dunn
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TM Arun Kumarâ€‚
Smartphones? Dumb Move At a time when even established smartphone players are struggling, HP and Lenovo announce their entry into the market. Right now, it seems like a dumb strategy.
few weeks ago, newspapers, news Websites and magazines screamed a headline: HP eyes smartphone market. HP to re-enter smartphone market, proclaimed another. Lenovo to enter smartphone market and Lenovo enters smartphone market, thundered others a few weeks before that. Nothing unusual or surprising there. Companies routinely look for the next area or opportunity for growth and enter those after careful analysis of their potential to succeed. However, itâ€™s a different matter that many a time, the analysis might be wrong or their potential to succeed in their new venture overstated. But weâ€™ll get to that a little later. Now, HP and Lenovo entering the smartphone market is not very surprising. Their traditional PC business is, to put it mildly, not in the pink of health, and things on that front are projected to only get worse before getting any better, if one goes by the forecast of analyst firms like IDC and Gartner. At the same time, the smartphone and tablet markets are booming as the tech consumption patterns in consumer IT space change. Given that scenario, it is but natural that PC manufacturers are clamoring for a slice of the growing tablet or smartphone pie. So far, so good. But, the real question is, what makes traditional PC vendors think they can succeed in the smartphone business? There is no denying the fact that there is a market out there to be tapped into, but do these companies have the firepower to launch compelling products that consumers would be eager to buy? And this question gains even more importance, considering the fact that vendors like HP and
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TM Arun Kumar
Dell have already in the past entered the smartphone market, failed miserably, and in the process, got their hands burnt and suffered huge financial losses. Case in point: HP’s Slate and Touchpad, and Dell’s Streak. However, traditional PC vendors venturing into the smartphone and tablet arena would argue that they do have the component sourcing ability and manufacturing prowess to come out with the products that the market demands. And it is not that they haven’t successfully targeted and serviced the consumer market in the past, so why can’t they do it again? And to an extent they are correct, but only to an extent. Yes, they might be able to produce the tablets and smartphones, but how are they going to reach the consumer? The smartphone distribution model is a little different from the old PC distribution model because in many markets, especially in the US, mobile operators play a huge role by cross subsidizing handsets with locked in contracts. As a result, the operators have a greater say in determining which handset the end-user buys. So, how are the new aspirants going to crack this open? Besides, history is loaded against them. Take a look at the current smartphone kings: Apple and Samsung. While the former got booted out of the PC market (I know Mac fans will vehemently say that a Mac isn’t a PC), the latter didn’t have a PC legacy worth mentioning. And whom did they boot out in the mobile phone market? Nokia, which essentially was a paper company! And, did Nokia have a great background in the telecom or technology market? And whom all did Nokia muscle out of the mobile phone market? The established telecom giants of that time, that is Siemens, Alcatel, Ericsson and the likes. And did those telecom giants succeed in the mobile phone market in spite of the fact that they were established telecom players? Again, sadly for them, no. So, the point is just because there is a market and you have some background in it, doesn’t necessarily mean you will succeed. Also, these companies are rank outsiders who have little or no background in the area that has succeeded, especially when it comes to new and innovative tech products. And finally, it is not that the market is devoid of any competition at all. On the contrary, it is rather crowded. Think of companies such as Micromax, Lava, Spice, etcetera, and what they are doing to the market. These new players will also have to fight the bigwigs like Apple and Samsung. Do these HPs and Lenovos really think they can come up with products that can command a premium in the market like Apple or Samsung do? Smart move or a dumb strategy, only time will tell. But, at this time, it seems like the latter. CIO
Arun has covered the IT industry in India since the time 80386 was cutting edge, MS DOS was the predominant desktop OS, and Internet was still a few years away. Follow him on twitter @aruntm
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GamesWe Play Gamification promises to revolutionize the way organizations adopt new approaches, practices, and processes. But, is it worth playing?
imag e by mast erf il e
o, what’s the oldest board game we know? It’s Senet, which was a rage in Egypt during 3100BC. And the oldest game piece known to mankind is the dice. Playing games comes naturally to us, because we are pretty good at three things: Keeping scores, matching patterns, and acting on motivations. Coming to think of it, don’t these human traits play significant roles in our actions and reactions in business scenarios as well? At the most fundamental level, these traits define the way an organization sharpens its competitive edge, creates its go-to-market strategies, and strives for product or service excellence. Albeit, sub-consciously. It’s an irony that these human traits, which make us natural game players, are usually divorced from business environments, for games, according to most of us, are a little too non-serious. It is indeed an irony because the first wargame, as a gaming-meets-serious-practical-world scenario, appeared in the form of Chess in 6th century India. However, it was only in the early 2000s that business decision-makers and strategists began awakening to a term coined by Nick Pelling, a British-born computer programmer and inventor: Gamification. Wikipedia defines gamification as “the use of game thinking, game mechanics and its essence—fun, play and passion—in a non-game context to engage users and solve problems. It is used in applications and processes to improve user-engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, and learning.” Doug Palmer of Deloitte Consulting and Andre Hugo of Deloitte Digital touch upon this subject in their report: “Gamification isn’t just about scoring points—it allows for new
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ways of imagining, designing, and implementing solutions. As business becomes increasingly social, more opportunities are arising to augment performance and promote strategic objectives by embedding gaming mechanics into traditional processes.” The Deloitte report states that organizations can harness gaming principles to improve morale, motivate behavior, and get stakeholders passionately engaged in different business functions. But to apply gamification effectively, companies should understand the organization’s inner workings, process interdependencies, and stakeholder behaviors, including the interplay between people and technologies. And here lies the catch. Since the birth of this term in 2002, gamification has actually come a long way in the last decade. In 2011, leading IT trendspotting analysts touted gamification as the next big thing happening to the way IT enables business processes and the way business users consume solutions, thereby revolutionizing CIOs’ change management strategies. Two years hence, gamification is perhaps still trying to find a foothold. While Gartner predicts that by 2015, 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations, it also highlights the fact that it’s quite likely that such gamification efforts may fall short of expectations. Gartner also predicts that by 2014,
80 percent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives, primarily due to poor design. Besides poor design, the primary inhibitors of gamification, according to George Dolbier, IBM’s CTO of social and interactive media, also include not taking gamification seriously, no measurable success or impact, non-alignment to goals, over-exposure, and considering it a ‘game’ and not a ‘gamified process.’ The Deloitte report suggests that measuring outcomes and fine-tuning the approach should be continuous processes to enhance the gamification model and keep players engaged over time. Organizations should consider how to keep this process exciting and interesting after the initial achievements and how rewards, incentives, and recognition might be changed in light of the data regarding behaviors and outcomes. As the models and approaches mature, gamification is quite likely to become the next big thing, as it has always been envisioned. Perhaps, it’s the right time for CIOs to begin observing this space and figure out how best to play this game. CIO Gunjan Trivedi is executive editor at IDG Media. He is an awardwinning writer with over a decade of experience in Indian IT. Before becoming a journalist, he had been a hands-on IT specialist, with expertise in setting up WANs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Agile? More Like Fragile Contrary to popular belief, agile development creates more problems instead of expediting solutions. What companies need to focus on is agile thinking.
uch of agile development’s success is due to the fact that it “sells” so well by promising solutions to perennial IT concerns. I’ve been involved in a number of agile projects from all perspectives, as a team member, leader architect, and overall responsible manager. I’ve concluded that agile has not only failed like other fad methodologies before it, but also making things worse in IT. Yes, there are certain occasions when agile does work, particularly for proof of concept (POC) work involving already well-integrated teams, but I’m talking about 80 percent of projects here. Agile methodology produces the opposite of the promised effects. There are many reasons for this, but I’ll focus on the three most destructive agile principles.
Delivery over Quality
Illust ration by mast erf ile
The first, delivery over quality recasts the agile principle of “early and continuous delivery of valuable software.” Yes, early visibility is an important tool for customer collaboration, but focusing on continuous delivery has the effect of creating an unmanageable defect backlog. In most agile projects I’ve worked on, the defect list has grown faster than it can be dealt with. On one medium-sized project, a huge defect backlog had developed over the previous 18 months and required a full-time role just to manage it. We routinely needed groups of iterations devoted solely to clear the backlog. Not only did that come at the expense of new features, it also naturally introduced new defects. Obviously, large defect backlogs are nothing new in projects, but what is new is that agile promotes the practice of ignoring 30
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You cannot replace accountable and responsible project management with some immature utopian myth of selforganization. That’s no science for success. defects. This leads to unmanageable backlogs and, eventually, to ineffective development. I’ve watched developers, initially caught up in the excitement of collaboration euphoria, end up psychologically worn down by the perpetual defect list to the point of burnout. Agile projects are responsible for burning out many a good developer, which is far from the agile promise that projects “should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.”
Development over Planning The second flaw, development over planning, hits the agile principle of “responding to change over following a plan.” In theory, developers code while collaborating with stakeholders to define, refine, and change requirements as the projects goes along. The methodology, however, does not distinguish between big and small changes. Every change has a cost, but agile does not account for this. The result? People often change really big things late in the game using the rationale that since it’s an agile project, it can handle it. The only way the project can handle this is by adding iterations. As that happens, defects that might have been easy to fix at one point get harder and harder to fix, since the code base keeps changing. This principle encourages poor and irresponsible planning while hiding its effects. As iterations continue and the defect list grows, the customer becomes more frustrated—not only because of the lack of quality, but because delivery expectations aren’t being met either.
Collaboration over Management The third flawed agile principle is collaboration over management. Agile emphasizes self-organizing teams that “do the right thing” in some sort of group evolutionary manner. Nothing against empowering individuals, but agile isn’t always consistent with responsible management. You don’t need a methodology that takes authority away from a single individual. In too many agile projects, the Scrum Master is little more than a hapless cowboy waving his arms in despair while his charges go in all different directions at once. You cannot replace accountable and responsible project management with some immature utopian myth of selforganization. That’s no science for success.
Changing Agile Thinking with Three Common Sense Principles One thing that’s seductive about agile is the name. We like the idea of being agile in our thinking. Agile as a methodology 32
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cannot deliver agile thinking, however, and inevitably ends up preventing it. Think of “agile” as the ability to take the input of all the variable elements of the project, and come up with a pragmatic approach that solves the problem in such a way that the product is delivered properly. This sounds like a tall order, but really comes down to three common sense principles: Prioritization, pragmatism, and dynamism. If there’s one key quality a good project manager needs, it’s prioritization—the ability to take the pressures of all project elements and determine which path to follow, based on what’s most important to achieve. Remember, the goal is to deliver a quality product on time and to budget; as a rule, there are always some elements that have to be sacrificed to fulfil the needs of the others. It’s the role of the project manager to define and maintain the project priorities so they can function as a decision framework for team members as they carry out their tasks. One of the hardest things for many developers is pragmatism. Rather than think practically, they inevitably fall into abstract approaches to problems. Irrespective of the extent to which technology becomes virtual, it’s still ultimately based on the physical world. Physical problems cannot be solved abstractly. Finally, dynamism means the ability to switch strategies when the current one isn’t working. Many times, despite our best planning, what seems like a good project, design or development strategy hits a brick wall. The most important thing in this situation is to know when to call it off. If the brick wall is only a brick wall, a bit of brute force—i.e. one or two late nights—will get through it. But if it’s really a mountain of rock, it’s best not to risk the entire project but, instead, find another way around. Agile promises solutions it cannot deliver. Contrary to what we’re told to expect, it leads to long-running projects, dissatisfied customers, and an overall IT ineffectiveness. What we hope to find in the methodology, however, is achievable through agile thinking. With this thinking, we can solve the problems of IT project management and learn how to deliver stable products on time and to budget. If the project team knows how to think and work effectively, then we don’t need to look to a methodology to save us from project failures. We can do it ourselves. CIO Lajos Moczar is a senior technology strategist and consultant. Send feedback to email@example.com
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Mobile Maneuver Security potholes, a flood of devices, and steep UI curves are making mobility a bumpy ride. Here’s how to steer through these roadblocks.
B y A n u p Va r i e r
Reader ROI: The challenges of mobility How to tackle them What to watch out for when developing mobile apps
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n the not-so-distant future, if there’s anything that’ll dictate the way the world goes round, it’ll have to be the mobile phone. Before you dismiss that as an overstatement, look around you. Chances are you’re probably reading this on your Blackberry or iPhone. Or tweeting what you think about it, or checking-in to your flight, or using Google Maps to get to your client’s office, or reviewing your sales report. All from your mobile device. It’s hard to recall, even imagine, how stuff worked in an age when mobile devices were inexistent. Little wonder then that this millennium will go down in history as the Mobile Age. It isn’t hard to see why. In its 2013 Mobile Workforce Adoption Trends report, Forrester characterizes 29 percent of the global workforce as anytime, anywhere information workers— those who use three or more devices, work from multiple locations, and use many apps. This number has risen from 23 percent of the global workforce in 2011 and will continue to rise, as the world witnesses close to a billion, yes, a billion, tablets in use for work and home globally by 2017. While this in itself is awe-inspiring, it also has a direct bearing on mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets, which the research firm predicts will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4:1 by 2015. While CIOs acknowledge the impact of mobility on their businesses, they are still struggling with the challenges of getting a mobile initiative off the ground. But some of them have figured it out. Here are three of the biggest mobility hurdles that your peers have tactfully maneuvered.
The Security Conundrum No surprises here. Security is one of the biggest pain points for CIOs when it comes to any disruptive technology. With mobility, security concerns circle around three issues: Device and app control, heterogeneity of devices, and data security. Device and app control was something RJ Corp needed when it set out to implement its sales and inventory tracking application. The sales force of RJ Corp (a diversified
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solutions for Android in the market. Even the ones that were, didn’t work well with the low-cost device that we had chosen to roll out,” says Karnatak. A lack of options for customization made flexibility to introduce security checks difficult. Karnatak wanted to control the type of applications that could be installed. He also wanted control over lost or stolen devices. “We did POCs with multiple partners, but for the particular device that we had chosen, no MDM could give us a satisfactory result,” says Karnatak. Undeterred, Karnatak decided to take the road less travelled and work with an MDM startup. The startup was willing to make all the necessary tweaks for Karnatak. Encouraged, he then did a POC and is today in the process of rolling it out. “Now, we can track and restrict user rights on devices. This alleviates security concerns,” says Karnatak. While MDM is a potent solution to fix the device control challenge, in their haste to implement it, some companies often ignore a lurking threat in the background: Third-party apps. “Enterprises need to look at a tiered security framework beginning with network access controls and MDM to mobile application management and go all the way through to virtualization, encryption, and DLP,” says Katyayan Gupta, analyst, Forrester Research. Sandboxing is yet another technique that allows compartmentalization and containerization of risks and gives security teams an easier means to counter attacks. “As a first step, it is best not to allow anything to be stored locally on the device,” says A. Balakrishnan, CTO, Geojit BNP Paribas and CEO, Geojit Technologies. A share-broking and retail financial services company, Geojit BNP Paribas was among the first in its business to provide its traders with a mobile application that created a new channel of revenue for the company. “The traffic has to be secured with https and important data has to be encrypted. We also promote two-factor authentication,” he adds. The company’s employees are also being provided with an approval and workflow management application that is currently being offered on company-provided Blackberry devices. Swaminathan Narayanan, GM-IS, TVS Motor Company, also swears by the Blackberry. The sales force of the company requires information at its fingertips to uncover hidden opportunities. Kamal Karnatak, Group CIO, Narayanan has developed and deployed in-house RJ Corp, chose to work with mobile applications that cater to each of these groups, an MDM startup—instead of but run only on Blackberry devices. “We have used established vendors—as it strengthened mobile security Blackberry, which is known for its encryption and by providing the company with security,” he says. “We have also deployed MDM the flexibility to customize. solutions to take control of the device and wipe data if it gets into wrong hands,” he adds.
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group known for being PepsiCo’s largest franchise bottler in India) is armed with Android smartphones that run the app. “Our sales force is involved in placing orders with both distributors and retailers of PepsiCo products. So, we needed transparency and real-time updates of stock at our end and inventory at the customer’s end so that we can manage our production,” says Kamal Karnatak, group CIO, RJ Corp. Without such a system, the distributor would lose out on popular flavors and the company would lose out on sales. So, Karnatak decided to create a mobile app for it. “The app gives us an insight into our customers’ inventory and helps us push the flavors they don’t have. This helps us increase sales,” says Karnatak. For the ease of deployment, Karnatak chose to develop the app on the Android platform as it offers a wider range of device options. But managing these devices was going to be a bottleneck. “There weren’t too many established MDM
Narayanan believes it is better to not keep systems too open and invite trouble. “Limit the type of devices so that management—from a security and administration standpoint—is much easier,” he says.
Multiple Platforms, Multiple Problems There are more mobile platforms today than there were known planets in 1781—the year Uranus was discovered. Add to this the complexity of screen sizes and input styles and organizations hoping to create mobile applications have quite a job on their hands. This, however, is not an insurmountable challenge. CIOs can breathe easy as there is the popular ‘native’ route and other application development methodologies—such as HTML5 and hybrid—that are gaining ground. It is well established that native apps are the best looking of the lot as they are specific to a given mobile platform and utilize the development tools and language that the respective platform supports. “People are not comfortable with browser-based applications and this necessitates the development of native applications and the maintenance of three to five different versions based on the OS,” says Balakrishnan. And that’s what Karnatak has done. He decided to go for an existing sales automation application to which he could map his manual sales processes and customized the application. “This app has been integrated with the backend ERP systems. So, transactions get immediately updated at the backend,” says Karnatak. If CIOs don’t want to turn to native apps, they could look at HTML5 apps. These apps use Web technologies that allow a write-once-run-anywhere approach to mobile development and make it easy to create cross-platform mobile apps that work on every device. But it suffers from limitations with respect to offline storage and security. Hybrid apps, as the name suggests, bring the best (and worst) elements of both together by embedding HTML5 apps inside a thin native container. “While these are yet to reach the level of maturity that would entice enterprises to use them, hybrid will evolve to be the preferred method of mobile application development,” says Forrester’s Gupta. And that’s a choice CIOs would have to make when they dive into the muddy waters of BYOD. Like Karnatak. “We want to be able to track any device that accesses corporate information,” says Karnatak. Which is why, multiple-platform capability was a major factor in RJ Corp’s evaluation of an MDM solution provider.
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A. Balakrishnan, CTO, Geojit BNP Paribas & CEO, Geojit Technologies, who created an industry-first mobile trading app, says CIOs who wish to reach out to their customers should create OS-agnostic mobile apps.
That’s something any CIO looking to deploy a BYOD strategy should do because being able to track devices is one of biggest needs for organizations. “Most Indian CIOs have little or no clue about the devices owned by their employees,” says Gupta. A good starting point is conducting a simple internal survey that can help CIOs understand the mobile landscape within the enterprise. This will highlight some clear trends in terms of the most popular platforms among employees. Thereon, any application your IT team develops will only need to cater to, on an average, two of those platforms. The minority that chooses to work on the less popular devices can be encouraged to migrate to one of the platforms supported by the organization. “Not only does this save time and cost but also helps reduce the complexities that come with multiple platforms,” says Gupta. “But if you wish to reach out to your customers, then your application should be available on all the major REAL CIO WORLD | J U ly 1 5 , 2 0 1 3
mobile operating systems and across devices like tablets and smartphones,” says Balakrishnan. And if a company—like Religare Health Insurance, for example—needs to deal with agents and partners who bring in business without being on the company’s rolls, then their mobile application would have to be available on most platforms. Instead of depending solely on providing information on a printed brochure, Kolla Suresh, founder team member and head-Technology at Religare Health Insurance, built an application for the company’s agents and partners. This application was designed to give the agents a quote illustrator where they can capture basic details of the customer, based on which the app would throw up respective premium rates. “We did a study of our partner community and realized that a majority of them use Android but a lot of them also use Blackberry and Symbian phones,” says Suresh.
Moreover, with quite a few agents in tier-two and tier-three cities, Religare Insurance wanted to ensure they get access to the proposed facility as well. “With a limited budget and the fact that we were unsure about its adoption, we treated this as a pilot project and opted for native application development,” he says. In case of a change or an update, the company modifies one OS and thoroughly tests the functionality. “Once the backend integration and UI is seen to be working fine, we develop it for other OSes,” says Suresh. To negotiate the challenge of relevant information updates on the native app, Suresh incorporated an end date for the application. “This would typically follow the financial year and it asks the user to download the updated version and get access to the revised information,” says Suresh. Moreover, new devices with varying form factors keep cropping up. While some of these would run the version of its nearest configuration, some others would not. “In such cases, we need to take a call on whether to continuously engage with vendors to add new devices as they are introduced or wait till a demand for that device comes up and build something for it,” says Suresh. That is a cost that is usually unaccounted for and CIOs need to determine whether they need to constantly keep investing in it. While it might be able to leverage the device and platform capabilities to the hilt, native platforms do introduce multiplicity of effort. “There are additional costs involved in the management and maintenance of multiple versions of the application,” says Suresh. There are platforms that allow developers to code once and then render it for multiple platforms. But this has become difficult as established solutions are increasingly becoming expensive or they tend to strip the application to its bare bones— taking a lot away from user experience.
User Un-friendly Experience
Swaminathan Narayanan, GM-IS, TVS Motor Company, says before going in for a largescale mobile app deployment, CIOs must do a pilot for a small portion of users and make sure they are comfortable with it.
Among the most underrated challenges of mobility is user experience. Delivering great user experience over high-latency mobile connections is a challenge not many CIOs give thought to until user adoption rates for a mobile application plummets. “There is a dearth of technically skilled user-experience professionals,” says Gupta. And the problem creeps in when you think any application can be made available on mobile devices with minor tweaks on the front end. “While it might not be a bad place to start for an enterprise, an application that is designed for a mouse will not do too well when working with touch simply because it wasn’t designed for it,” he adds.
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Tackling the BYOD Beast BYOD works only when it has effective policies. BYOD 2.0 is one step towards making it a reality. The 2012 Mobile Workforce Report from enterprise Wi-Fi access firm iPass revealed that many employees are working up to 20 additional hours per week, unpaid, as a result of their company’s BYOD policies. Nonetheless, 92 percent of mobile workers said they “enjoy their job flexibility” and are “content” with working longer hours. In addition, 42 percent would like “even greater flexibility for their working practices.” However, the flipside of the convenience and flexibility of BYOD are the many concerns about the risks introduced to the corporate infrastructure when allowing unmanaged and potentially unsecured personal devices access to sensitive information. Organizations now need dynamic policy
enforcement to govern the way they lock down data and applications. BYOD 1.0 is the industry’s first attempt at solving problems related to personally-owned devices in the workplace. However, both the BYOD 1.0 components—MDM and layer 3 VPN— have a drawback. They are umbrellas that protect and manage the entire device, rather than zeroing in on just the enterprise data and applications on that device. Since these are usually dual-purpose (work/personal) devices, this device-wide approach causes issues for both workers and IT. Alternately, BYOD 2.0 builds on the BYOD 1.0 foundation, but makes a substantial shift from a device-level focus to an application-level focus. With this approach, workers are happier because the enterprise manages and
And if CIOs choose to force fit applications that aren’t built for mobiles, it’ll have an adverse impact on user experience. “Even when you are porting legacy applications onto mobiles, the logic for the application doesn’t change but the user interface needs to appeal to the users, and easy readability must be accounted for,” says Balakrishnan who plans to make all the corporate applications at Geojit BNP Paribas available on mobiles in the next 18-24 months. Like Balakrishnan, Religare’s Suresh also emphasized on the importance of design in his application for insurance agents. “Building the application for tablets and then rendering it on smartphones would have posed challenges in terms of the number of details that could be entered, the size of the text fields, and overall readability.” Clearly, this means organizations that want to design applications for mobiles cannot borrow designs created or meant for tablets or laptops. And this is a whole new project in itself. “Making an application available on smartphones requires a complete rethinking on the design front,” says Gupta. Else, you would end up with a vanilla offering which might not find the enthusiastic adoption and the consequent benefits the business hopes to derive. “Organizations must start early and hire people with niche skill sets like Android and iOS app development
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sees only the enterprise subset of the overall data and applications on the device. IT staff prefer the BYOD 2.0 approach for the same reasons—it allows them to concern themselves only with the data and applications they need to secure, manage, and control. This application wrapping benefit has made BYOD 2.0 most sought after by employees. BYOD 2.0 and the aforementioned application wrapping frameworks are changing the dynamic in the mobile space. By combining mobile management functionality and access functionality into a single offering, these wrappers give enterprises a mobile IT solution that extends from data and applications on the endpoint into the cloud and datacenter. — By Linda Hui
to provision and manage mobility,” he says. Networks too have a bearing on user experience and in order to support the growing mobile devices connecting to the enterprise network, networking engineers and administrators also need to be trained in advanced WLAN skills. “If you are deploying applications for people to use, then user experience is very important,” says Narayanan. And for any application at TVS Motor Company which deals with information that might be needed by people on the move, Narayanan and his team make sure the architecture, development, and delivery are such that it is available on desktops, laptops, and mobiles. “At the time of app development, you must be clear what the user base is and develop accordingly. Do a pilot and roll it out to a small portion of your target audience, get their feedback, and make sure they are comfortable before going in for a largescale deployment,” he says. Clearly, in a world that is mired in wireless devices, CIOs are well-advised to muddy their hands before mobility zooms past and kicks dirt on their faces. CIO
Anup Varier is principal correspondent. Send feedback to anup_varier@ idgindia.com
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EMC HELPS DISHTV SWITCH ON SUCCESS When digitization became mandatory in India, Dishtv’s subscriber base mushroomed, increasing pressure on its storage and data management systems. EMC helped Dishtv build a scalable and agile system with increased uptime, saving 40 percent capex.
When Shahrukh Khan, the poster boy of tinsel town, walks into your TV screens and asks you to stop being content with out-dated cable networks, he says ‘Thoda Aur Wish Karo, Dish Karo’ (Wish for some more, wish for Dish). Coming from Khan, getting what one wishes for seems like a cinch. But when Manpreet Singh Sabharwal, deputy vice presidentIT, Dishtv India, wished to overhaul the storage and business continuity processes at Dishtv, he realized two things: He is no Shahrukh Khan and it certainly wasn’t going to be a cake walk. In the past two years, Dishtv has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of subscribers. Sabharwal would have to re-build his entire IT backend to be able to support this growth.
IN TROUBLE MODE October 2011 marked the beginning of the end of an era in the history of Indian television. The local cable service provider, who had
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Digitization has changed how Indian operators function today. It has put DTH players in the hands of technology to provide superior services and best-in-class content to subscribers.” V.K. GUPTA Chief Operating Officer, Dishtv
successfully managed to usher in the cable revolution in the remotest interiors of India, was eliminated as the government passed the Digitization of Analogue Cable System Ordinance. This made digitization of the distribution of TV signals mandatory for cable operators. “Digitization has changed how Indian operators function today. It has put DTH players in the hands of technology to provide superior services and best-in-class content to subscribers,” says V.K. Gupta, COO, Dishtv. As set-top boxes and subscription-based models became compulsory, Dishtv, India’s first DTH entertainment service, saw a surge in the number of its subscribers. Dishtv currently has 10.7 million subscribers. Dishtv recently launched India’s first Standard Definition Recorder, Dish+, with unlimited
recording facility. Dish+ was initially launched in the 42 cities covered under Phase I and Phase II of digitization and. “We were witnessing a data growth of 30 percent year-on-year and to accommodate this growth we had two options: Either build the entire infrastructure in our existing datacenter or move to the cloud,” says Gupta. Dishtv’s database is the platform on which its entire Web and enterprise applications, like CRM, run. Sabharwal realized without a proper BCP or database recovery technology, the entire system was running on thin ice. “If our database gets corrupted, the impact on business would be huge. We had no way of recovering the database or do any damage control,” says Sabharwal. On top of that, the company’s database was growing and the existing storage systems were
unable to contain this load. But this was just the tip of the iceberg. Dishtv’s problems didn’t end there. In 2012, Dishtv had two datacenters, one in its headquarters in Noida and the other in Mumbai. The datacenter in Mumbai hosted all of Dishtv’s Web applications. Large amounts of data moving in and out of the two datacenters over a WAN paved the way for more challenges. “We started to witness high levels of latency and our bandwidth requirements were just shooting through the roof,” says Sabharwal. One way to eliminate this latency was to consolidate everything at the Noida facility, get new servers, storage arrays, licenses, and build the entire stack in-house. For Sabharwal, it would mean a huge capex investment. “Being in a data-intensive industry, we were apprehensive about how much capacity we should build. Under-provisioning would make the system rigid and non-scalable. Over-provisioning would result in under-utilization of resources,” he says. Sabharwal had his back to the wall. He needed a comprehensive solution of advanced data protection,
EMC’s VNX solution not only made our systems more agile but also increased our input and output operations per second. This helps us maintain extremely high uptime.” MANPREET SINGH SABHARWAL Deputy VP-IT, Dishtv
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management, and security, with features like data replication, fiber channel connectivity, and highest resource utilization rates. That’s when he turned to EMC.
ALWAYS ON AIR EMC’s stack of storage and BCP solutions fit Dishtv like a glove. “Most vendors we evaluated had their own proprietary solutions and comparing them to EMC would be like comparing apples to oranges. But with EMC we found the right combination of offerings to suit our requirements,” says Sabharwal. With EMC’s VNX storage system, Dishtv can now leverage built-in capacity optimization features, such as compression and virtual provisioning. VNX boosts performance by using high performance flash drives as extendable cache and in storage pools. Unlike most organizations that use an activepassive array (only one interface to a device is active at a time, and others are passive with respect to that device), EMC helped Dishtv improve utilization of resources by making its arrangement an active-active array. This means there are multiple interfaces to a logical device, they all provide equal access to the logical device and all interfaces are active simultaneously.“This arrangement not only made our systems more agile but also increased our input/output operations per second, which helps us maintain extremely high uptime,” says Sabharwal. Not only that, with EMC Recoverpoint Sabharwal reduced the risk of losing his database to some freak accident. Features like continued replication during recovery embedded in Recoverpoint helped Dishtv reduce the risk of losing its database. “In case our database gets corrupted, now we have the ability to restore the database to what it was 5-10 minutes ago within a matter of minutes,” Sabharwal says. Also, since VNX is designed for a modular, payas-you-grow model, it helped Sabharwal keep his capex costs down. While Dishtv can benefi t from the opex model, it also has the added advantage of scaling up according to business needs. “Now we can add X-blades for the right amount of file sharing power and add storage processors whenever the business demands. Resources don’t need to be sitting idle,” says Sabharwal. Amid all of this technical exuberance, Sabharwal says the transition facilitated by EMC was smooth. Sabharwal recalls how EMC helped him build best practices based on its experiences with other
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customers. “Expertise of that level would not have been available with the skill-sets that we had within the team,” he says. Apart from a great solution design and cost advantages, Sabharwal says one of his biggest and most important criteria to choose a partner was support. “EMC not only helped us lock down on a perfect solution design but we realized it could provide us great support on-the-fly which was a necessity,” says Sabharwal.
AND THE SHOW GOES ON The project went live in February this year and has brought to life everything Dish could wish for. By moving to the cloud for his infrastructure services—using EMC VNX’s opex model and VNX storage system—Dishtv has significantly reduced its operational expenses. These expenses include
annual maintenance costs (AMC), power, cooling and management. “Building the entire infrastructure at our Noida datacenter would have cost us about 40 percent more than what we spent,” says Sabharwal. But cost, says Sabharwal, was the last of his three biggest concerns. His first and foremost focus was a solution that would reduce Dishtv’s exposure to risk. His current solution uses point-in-time recovery which helps him minimize the risk and impact on business incase of disasters. EMC Unisphere software provides a comprehensive management tool that facilitates managing, monitoring, and, configuring VNX systems from a single interface. “Above all this, the solution has brought us immense relief as it has given us the assurance that no matter what the business needs tomorrow, we will be geared up for it,” says Sabharwal.
Revolutionizing Backup in the Virtual World Surajit Sen, Country Manager, BRS, India & SAARC, EMC, says businesses are beginning to realize that traditional backup architectures cannot work in today’s virtualized and cloud environments. What are some of the factors that will force CIOs to rethink their backup and recovery strategies? One of the biggest contributing factors is data explosion. Today, the cost of losing data can have huge ramifications and companies are beginning to realize that traditional backup architectures are falling apart. Organizations are reassessing their future backup strategy and, in most cases, it requires an overhaul. Adding to this shift are technologies like virtualization and cloud. Backup architectures designed for the conventional
infrastructure are inept at backing up virtualized or cloud environments. Why is it important to not just store but effectively manage and retrieve data? Data storage architectures are designed based on needs like performance, reliability, interoperability, scalability and manageability. However, no amount of hardware redundancy guarantees protection against human or application errors. This makes it imperative for organizations to build a data protection architecture which is diverse, decoupled,
We pioneered the concept of data deduplication. EMC DataDomain and Avamar technologies introduce target and source-based dedupe in the backup architecture.” SURAJIT SEN
Country Manager, BRS, India & SAARC, EMC
and independent from the primary storage system. This acts like an insurance and ensures that even when there are multiple or cascading failures, information is protected. How does EMC help CIOs store, manage and retrieve data effectively? EMC leads the industry with some pathbreaking innovation. We pioneered the concept of data deduplication. EMC DataDomain and Avamar technologies introduce target and source-based deduplication in the backup architecture. This compresses backup windows, reduces network congestion, increases the reliability of backups and ensures faster data restoration. Along with that, EMC is working closely with application vendors to ensure that backup technology is natively integrated in applications. EMC is also working to enhance the backup target on disks such that the restoration process can be completely eliminated.
from the TOP
R. Mukundan, MD, Tata Chemicals, says the power and potential of IT is strengthening its relationship with business, and helping the company make in-roads in the FMCG sector.
Bonding By Shubhra Rishi
India is probably the only country where salt has a synonym: Tata Namak. For years, its producer Tata Chemicals has enriched the lives of Indian consumers. So much so that its products today are household names. No wonder then that the salt-to-soda ash-to-fertilizer maker, Tata Chemicals, has remained a leader in the national branded salt segment, among other things. Today, the company holds 66.3 percent market share and is the world’s second largest producer of soda ash. Part of the credit for Tata Chemicals’ envious brand positioning goes to its MD, R. Mukundan, who has been with the company for a decade. Under his leadership, the company has forayed into specialty and consumer products businesses, which has contributed around Rs 2,500 crore to the Rs 13,000 crore turnover in 2011-12. In this interview, Mukundan talks about TCL’s FMCG business and how IT is helping beat competition.
CIO: The consumer side of your business has grown from 11 to 22 percent of revenue. Why are you changing the direction of your business? What do CEOs and other C-level executives expect from you? Read all about it in View from the top. Visit www.cio.in/ceointerviews
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R. Mukundan: We aren’t trying to change the direction of our business. As India urbanizes, its supply chains will shift. So, the need for packaged products and special additives—new types of chemicals
and products—is only going to increase. Therefore, it’s only natural for us to leverage the growth of the Indian market. Raising the emphasis on the consumer business will reduce the cyclicality of pressure that comes from being only in the bulk chemicals business. Though it constitutes a major chunk of our overall business, its percentage has come down from 89 to 78 percent in the last few years. On the whole, our consumer product business, the specialty chemical
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R. Mukundan expects I.T. to Streamline the supply chain Improve customer service Provide competitive edge
Photos by Srivatsa Shan dilya
business including Rallis India—which is part of our specialty farm-focused chemical business—and the new area of nutraceuticals contribute to 22 percent of our revenues.
What are some of the biggest changes TCL has seen since it shifted focus to the FMCG sector? From a commodity company that dealt mainly in inorganic chemicals, we have shifted towards providing solutions to
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end-customers. We are also developing a strong B2C interface. In the last decade, we have built one of the deepest distribution networks in the area of food additives (salt). We have reached close to 60 million households. Therefore, our team wanted to add more to the portfolio of products that we could take to the market. And that’s when lentils and besan (gram flour) made it to the list. The idea was to bring additional products which could be leveraged by both farmers and consumers. We realized that the basic
requirement of a farmer is to access the market, and that of a consumer is to expect high quality products at a reasonable price. Therefore, today we act as a link between the two, utilizing our supply chain’s strength which already exists in the area of branded salt business.
You went from salt, to dal, to water purifiers. How do you decide which areas of FMCG to get into? I think the transition from salt
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to lentils was purely based on our distribution strength as a company. This way, we were able to lineup products in the nutrition and wellness area for consumers directly. And subsequently, sugar substitutes are the new addition to the list. But these sugar substitutes are meant for our industrial consumers of companies which are in the food business. We are setting up a 300-ton production factory in Chennai to make artificial sweeteners and probiotics.
How does TCL deal with some of its biggest competitors? In the national branded segments, Hindustan Lever and ITC are our main competitors. But when it comes to lentils, we don’t have any national competitors. If you look at the consumer side, in salt, the total market size in India (loose and unbranded) is close to 6 million tons per year. Within that, the branded national players occupy 33 percent—about 1.5 million tons. At TCL, we sell close to 1 million tons. Therefore, it’s quite a substantial market. There’s great scope for us to capture the branded market segment since the penetration is not very high. This means we need to focus on increasing our distribution reach. It’s also about educating consumers on the benefits of iodized salts.
What are some of the supply chain issues you face with your consumer business? The basic principle of our commodity business is to not fluctuate the pricing too much. But at the same time, commodities such as pulses vary almost on a daily basis. So, it all depends on our ability to manage risks. For instance, a good question to ask is: How do we keep the end-product’s price the same, or, how do we manage the fluctuations in input costs? The ideal way to do this is to make sure that our inventory levels are low. But in order to do that, we require a suitable 46
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“The use of IT is going to become pervasive in our business. It will increase the levels of transparency and decisionmaking ability.” —R.Mukundan
amount of time and planning in order to build a low inventory supply chain model. Last year, our consumer business saw a turnover of Rs 80 crore. This year, we plan to increase it to twice the amount. The opportunity is much bigger, and we believe that we can scale our consumer business above Rs 1,000 crore.
Is there a way IT can help you streamline your supply chain? Since managing the supply chain is key, IT becomes a vital leverage point. We also believe that IT will play a greater role, going forward. As the data and communications network in India continues to improve, we believe that our company’s effectiveness and efficiency will improve as well. As of now, only the major demand and supply centers are linked to IT. But we need to be able to link up all our packaging centers, since we
need to monitor them on a real-time basis. Right now, there’s a lag between secondary and primary sales. The robustness of secondary sales data is also something that we need to build over a period of time. It’s not a limitation of software, but a limitation of the networks. As things progress, connectivity will improve, and we will also have specific applications to capture the kind of data which can be migrated to our servers and analyzed for appropriate action. So, this is not only limited to the procurement side—with farmers—but also to the consumer side, where we would be able to capture secondary sales data and look for appropriate trends and take corrective action based on customer feedback. We plan to expand our database from one million to 10 million farmers. This involves intensive IT work which is being done under the Samrudh Krishi service, our own IT-led farm advisory service. Over a period of time, the database on the farm and consumer-end is going to be very critical for us to do two things: Manage risk, and forecast intelligent patterns as they emerge.
And what about challenges in the FMCG sector? How are you dealing with them? Once in four to five years, we review costs of our supply chain operations. This way, we have been able to constantly produce innovative product offerings and review cost structures within IT. Another way to deal with these challenges is to focus on what customers want. We have periodically conducted deep customer studies and collected customer insights before launching products into the market. If you look at our products, one of the biggest reasons why our branded products survive is because of packaging innovation. But in addition to that, we are bringing product innovation as well. We recently launched low sodium salt, Tata Salt Lite, which contains 15 percent lower sodium
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View from the Top
than ordinary salt. It has been quite a big success. We have also launched double fortified salt with iron fortification which is addressing the problems of anemia prevailing in large parts of the country. In the same category, we have also launched flavored salt know as Flavoritz, which is available only in A-category stores. We also launched i-Shakti dals about a year and a half ago, along with Tata Swach, a water purifier brand. In the last 10 years, we have reconfigured our supply chain twice.
Other businesses that moved from B2B to B2C opened their own stores. Are you planning to follow suit? As far as opening our own stores is concerned, we have no such plans. Although, opening a retail chain in the rural sector gave us an opportunity to offer a complete solution to farmers, which is a differentiator as far as the farm network is concerned. If you look at our fertilizers and farm business, our own rural network called Tata Kisaan Sansar—which has 700 stores—is one of the largest and profitable retail rural networks in India. It has proved to be a big differentiator in terms of brand value creation and brand franchise among our customers.
How are you reaching out to customers apart from the traditional retail stores? In 2010, we extended TCL’s i-Shakti brand, which was initially launched with salt, to sell a range of pulses to consumers directly. This is a unique initiative as a part of our consumer business, where we deliver the i-Shakti brand of pulses directly at the doorsteps of the customers, without their having to incur any additional costs. Our pulses brand reaches 21 states, and they are widely available at medium to
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large centers along with local kirana stores. This is just a complementary channel to our existing retail channel. The pulses are unpolished and maintain high qualitative standards. A consumer can order as little as three kg and get it delivered within 48 hours. The consumers have responded exceedingly well in Mumbai, where the call center was set up in October last year, but it’s still too early to pronounce anything specific on it.
Tata Chemicals Established:
lot of value in terms of cost-saving and service delivery, what are some of its cons?
In the past, we outsourced the IT function Revenue: because retaining talent Rs 14,859 crore was becoming an issue. Employees: Therefore, we thought if this 12,000 was outsourced, employees Plant Locations: would have the ability to grow India (6 plants), USA, more. Also, an IT company UK & Kenya would have greater ability to source the right talent and manage it for us. That was the philosophy behind our move. But now, we understand that the thin line You said TCL is unifying its between IT and business is disappearing. backbone using SAP. What So, we realize that there are certain direct business benefits do positions which shouldn’t be outsourced you see from this move? and therefore, kept within TCL. We will be If you look at our data management, adding at least two to three critical resources our information systems, which were who will be on the rolls of the company, on different platforms earlier, have now within IT. We are now strengthening our become uniform. So, IT has helped us own teams internally on various skills. We consolidate all the data into one common believe that some of the skills should be place. This is an attempt to bring all within the company. the processes across TCL, including the overseas entity under one common, single unit. What’s the future of TCL? In terms of benefits, we really don’t have The use of IT is going to become a specific method to measure the value pervasive in our business. IT will not we are getting from it, although we do only increase the levels of transparency know of the value it generates in terms of and ability to make decisions but also stickiness of customers. We are also good at reduce the risks. Our company’s target is articulating reduction in cost and efficiency to grow all businesses and put emphasis improvement. For instance, our finance on growing the specialty chemicals and team will say, the implementation of SAP consumer business. has reduced the entire cycle time by so many This will help us decommoditize our days. But that’s efficiency improvement. business. We plan to increase the share The effectiveness improvement value is of our consumer and specialty business more difficult to monitor. from the current 22 to 50 percent. That’s an We also know how much we spend on IT. anticipative position. CIO While our budget is around Rs 80 crore in IT systems, the annual spend is close to Rs 30-35 crore. Mumbai
You have outsourced most of your IT. While it ensures a
Shubhra Rishi is senior correspondent. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
REAL CIO WORLD | J U LY 1 5 , 2 0 1 3
At the Dell Storage Forum 2013, about 300 CIOs had an opportunity to optimize their storage investment with technologies they already ownâ€”and discover new innovations that redefine efficiency, flexibility and reliability in the data center. It also helped them to scale their technical knowledge, network with peers, test-drive the latest features, interact with Dell experts and walk away with actionable insights on how to shift from managing IT operations to enabling innovation in the data center.
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Future. Fluid. Forward.
t is no hidden truth that CIOs today are increasingly expected to play the role of a strategic leader more than anything else. “Most of the CEOs today expect CIOs to be a part of the strategic initiative,” said Alok Ohrie, Dell India’s President and MD, in his keynote addressing 300 CIOs at the Dell Storage Forum. To help CIOs get there, Ohrie outlined Dell’s vision of building where the business is going. According to Ohrie, the IT infrastructure demands of today are a paradigm shift from what they were earlier. This change started to accelerate a few years ago with virtualization technologies aimed at consolidating hardware and increasing server utilization through the use of virtual machines. “However, the simple concept of virtualization wasn’t easily achieved. It solved one problem but created others like virtual machine sprawl, lack of control, management of heterogeneous hardware and software among others,” he said. Ohrie presented a detailed explanation of Dell’s new fluid architecture, the core tech showcase of the forum. He said, “Achieving the promise of fluid data management requires
President and MD, Dell India
a purpose-built design. Dell’s Fluid Data architecture “The next phase of is an end-to-end, IT infrastructure c u s to m i z a b l e IT deployment in design that helps you organizations will quickly respond to depend on factors like changing data value so you can deliver the agility, scalability and right data to the right efficiency” place at the right time for the right cost.” Ohrie stressed on how the strategy and vision was developed on the basis of feedback from the customers. He said, “Our goal is to give you choice and better, more costeffective options, so CIOs have power to do more,” he said. Highlighting how Dell’s customers could leverage from the companies expertise and years of experience, “Today, Dell is capable and equipped to serve the needs of tomorrow’s IT infrastructure, especially the converged kind,” Ohrie concluded.
Dell Storage Forum featured interactive sessions through the course of two days with positve audience response.
From Stone-age to Storage Alan Atkinson,
VP and GM, Dell Storage
“We are capitalizing on the trends and translating them into customer value”
his is actually the most ambitious year in Dell storage history,” stated an emphatic Alan Atkinson, VP and GM, Dell Storage. “We are trying creating the next generation of datacenter and cutting down on both capital expenditure and operational expenditure.” Customer value at any scale is at the centre of the Dell’s new vision for
storage architecture, he added, as he outlined Dell’s fluid data architecture strategy to an audience of about 300 CIOs at the Dell Storage Forum. Quoting a Gartner report Atkinson revealed that that the worldwide estimated yearly data growth through 2017 is expected to be around 30 to 50 percent. “The IT spend, however, is nowhere close to that growth. The predicted IT spend increase in 2013 is just three percent,” he added. According to Atkinson, simply trimming around the edges when faced with such a problem may not yield the right kind of solution. CIOs have to do something very different, he said. “We are capitalizing on the trends and translating them into customer value at any scale by focussing on value, performance and agility for evolving workloads,” said Atkinson. This translates to leveraging stateof-the-ar t storage technologies, optimizing for performance and value,
One on one chat with pioneers from the industry.
embracing new workload-driven architectures that converge data, compute, and networking and a focus on software and service innovation for performance optimization, data management, and automation, he said. Highlighting some trends from Dell, Atkinson indicated that ‘the middle is shrinking’. “The really interesting storage related trend seems to be happening at the low end and the high end. At the high end we have technologies like NAND and flash storage which tend to be expensive but ver y quick and solve a lot of performance and latency problems. At the low end, it seems like no one is ready to throw anything out. Cold data is moving to cheaper storage media and that data growth is explosive,” he explained. The key is to get the hot data to the performance optimized flash storage and the cold data to scale out storage, concluded Atkinson.
Optimizing Storage for Applications
E Bhaskar Raman,
Enterprise technologist, Dell Asia Pacific & Japan
“Organizations can leverage the powerful features of the Dell Compellent and EqualLogic arrays”
nterprise applications can eat up your storage solutions in a jiffy. “It is vital that CIOs understand how they can optimize the storage solution to work in favour of the application,” said Bhaskar Raman, enterprise technologist, Dell Asia Pacific & Japan as he detailed the company’s strategy to optimally provision storage for performance, availability and protection of applications, databases and the private cloud. Quoting a Forrester research, Raman said that 59 percent of CIOs felt that high data volume growth is the most challenging aspects of data archiving. “Dell’s fluid data architecture optimizes data to drive business results and has powerful infrastructure resources that scale acordingly,” he added. Raman also highlighted simplified private cloud management with SMI-S and SMP support using the fluid data architecture. “Organizations can leverage the powerful features of the Dell Compellent and EqualLogic arrays to do that,” he said.
Dr. Pavan Aggarwal,
CEO, Mumbai Dabbawala Association
SECRET OF MUMBAI DABBAWALAS
r. Pavan Aggarwal, CEO of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association presented an intriguing session on ‘Optimization at its best’ as a case study of the world-renowned lunch-box delivery servicemen. How does a six-sigma certified lunch-box delivery service manage to deliver every day, unfailingly? This is a product workflow that has been studied by management schools all over the world. Aggarwal explained that a Mumbai dabbawala’s main goal is on-time deliveries. According to Aggarwal, timing is the key and the hours between 9:30 am to noon are very critical. “The dabbawalas use their heads for quick decision. A simple series of colour codes on the lid of each tiffin box identifies its destination down to the floor of office building. That’s right, technology backup is nil,” said Aggarwal.
World-renowned thought leaders like Shiv Khera and Dr. Pavan Aggarwal educated audeinces with case studies.
Optimize with Data
raditional storage has made enterprises vulnerable to be affected by market changes. “Inactive data, slow backup processes and dead data silos are the main problems that are holding back enterprises from going ahead,” said Harmeet Malhotra, Director, Storage
Solutions Marketing, Dell APJ at the Dell Storage Forum. The current data explosion calls for innovation. “Organizations must begin implementing unified storage systems to consolidate file-based access in a single storage platform,” said Malhotra. Dell’s Fluid Data Architecture seamlessly scales the infrastructure while reducing acquisition and operational costs. “Following the launch of EqualLogic as part of the Fluid Data Architecture design, we have experienced 12 times increase in customer numbers. Today, a new EqualLogic array gets sold every 20 minutes globally,” he said.
Director, Storage Solutions Marketing, Dell APJ
“CIOs must implement unified storage systems that consolidate filebased access in a single storage platform”
Simplifying Enterprise Storage Steven Lee,
GM, HCL Technologies, India
“Only Dell can provide the infrastructure, the software and the pretested, pre-configured end point devices.”
ince 2002, Dell’s incredible scaling model has helped grow past legacy systems who could not react to changing dynamics in server virtualization. Steven Lee, Enterprise Technologist, Dell Asia Pacific & Japan shed light on Dell’s roadmap for storage for virtualized data centres and cloud. Dell-acquired Compellent has been a market leader in providing Automated Tiered Storage and is unique in the
ability to automate the management and movement of blocks to the optimal tier of storage. Dell aims to revolutionize storage further with its new product line Data Progression. “Data Progression automatically migrates blocks of data to the right tier,” he said. Lee laid out Dell’s enterprise strategy with other newer products like Dell EqualLogic PS Service and Dell SDNEnabled Fabric networking solution which are basically end-to-end solutions.
Participants at the Dell Storage Forum - 2013 had an opportunity to test drive Dell’s latest technology and products.
Redefining Indian Dairy Industry with Dell
CEO, CTO, Chitale Group
“High-capacity Dell PowerEdge Servers, operating on Intel Xeon Processors, provide Chitale Dairy the flexibility that we require” Aniruddha Sinha, GM-IT, Air India
ishwas Chitale, CEO and CTO of Chitale Group in conversation with IDG’s Editor-in-chief, Vijay Ramachandran explored various examples of how he leveraged technology to bring effect a paradigm shift in India’s dairy farming industry. The Chitale Dairy conducted studies to improve their sales outputs and discovered that it would need high merit pedigree bulls. This led Vishwas Chitale to establish Asia’s Ultra Modern Buffalo Research & Development farm fitted with automatic feeding stations. “The Chitale Group has seen a growth of up to five times in the recent years by scaling up extensively. Our partner ecosystem is very robust with empowered farmers and producers which in turn helped the dairy and the company to grow. Modern technology has also helped us micro-manage,” he said. In the current difficult marketplace, Chitale Diary has improved competency levels and kept up with the production demands with the help of Dell Virtualization Solution. The solution has enabled Chitale to manage Chitale Dairy’s growth with considerably low operating costs.
It’s no longer just about managing data growth but personal growth as well.
Author, & Motivational Speaker
BEYOND TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT
ncreasingly, CIOs all over the world are expected to move beyond the role of a technology enabler to a more businessoriented decision maker. Shiv Khera, the author of the several awardwinning books and prominent motivational speaker, spoke on how they can make this transition smoothly, using a few real-life lessons. Khera started off by stressing on the fact that top management executives don’t have a business problem but a people problem. He said, “Most of our business problems are solved when the people problem is nipped in the bud.” According to Khera, conditioning oneself to win very vital and this is the first step to positive thinking. He went on to educate the audience on other aspects of personality development like skill, will and their interdependency, people skills and selling skills.
Accelerating IT Value
lobalization has had a major impact on today’s IT environment. Businesses operate 24x7, and getting information in real time is expected. By 2015, enterprise appliances based on 100 percent SSD technologies will be strategically deployed in 50 percent
of all data centers, said Dean Riach, Storage Services Principal – APJ, Global Storage Services. In order to achieve this, enterprises are looking at storage solutions providers to support the deployment, Riach highlighted. According to Riach, through 2014, enterprise investments in private storage clouds will exceed public storage cloud investments by at least a 5-1 ratio. “Dell’s Cloud Services can help you understand how cloud deployments will impact your IT, end-user experience and data management processes.,” he said.
Storage Services Principal – APJ, Global Storage Services
“It is essential for the CIO to innovate to stay relevant to the business.”
Activate your business Terry Seeto,
Director, Technical Sales, Dell Networking, APJ
“The old ways of networking have left IT locked into too-big, too-expensive, toocomplicated approaches.
et wor king par adigms haven’t kept up with rapid advancements in virtualization, convergence, mobility and the cloud — all the IT capabilities essential to driving business today, said Terry Seeto, Director, Technical Sales, Dell Networking (Asia Pacific and Japan), in his address on how CIOs can change the business by harnessing the full power of the network. With Cloud and Virtualization being deployed in 80
percent of the organizations by 2016, data growth increasing by almost 25 percent, and three times more mobile devices in the enterprise, Seeto confirmed that the next wave in IT is here. In order to free the network from the constraints of outdated networking paradigms, Seeto outlined the virtual era and role of networking, the future of the enterprise network and software-defined networking and newer architectures.
After powerpacked sessions, CIOs unwind and relax with a musically empowered act by A26 band.
An expert panel discussed four mega-trends Cloud, Mobility, Big Data Analytics and Security. The panel consisted of (from L to R) Subodh Dubey, Nataraj.N, Vijay Ramachandran (moderator), Sridhar.S and Tarun Pandey.
Taking Your Data Center from Ordinary to Optimized
Director - Enterprise Solutions, Dell India
“Our goal is to give you choice and better, more cost-effective options – not to lock you in”
n his concluding session, S. Sridhar, Director - Enterprise Solutions, Dell India wanted to emphasize that Dell is a different kind of company, with a different purpose, point of view, and objective and development strategy. “Our goal is to give you choice and better, more cost-effective options – not to lock you in,” he said. According to Sridhar, ordinar y storage tiering has limitations, fluid data knows if it should move into the slow lane, the fast lane or the speed
of light lane. He also highlighted that Dell’s strategy of organic and inorganic growth was been developed based on feedback from its customers. “We listen to your needs, looked at trends that impact you today and in the future, and developed the best solutions in conjunction with our customers and our partners,” said Sridhar. “We want to give you the power to do more. More value, more efficiency, and more effectiveness in every corner of the organization,” he concluded.
THE STATE OF IT ENTERPRISE INFRASTRUCTURE In a survey conducted by Netmagic, 253 Indian CIOs say that despite a weak economy, they plan to grow their organizations' IT infrastructure. The study, titled Netmagic Infrastructure Assessment Survey 2013, threw light on how the changing dynamics of enterprise infrastructureâ€”in terms of outsourcing and cloud computingâ€”are impacting Indian organizations.
Datacenters Per Company
Unplanned Outages a Year 65%
Raised Floor Space Per Datacenter More than 1,500 sq ft.
1 to 5
500-1,000 sq ft
Top Datacenter Concerns
100-500 sq ft
5 to 10
1,000-1,500 sq ft.
How Many of these DCs are Outsourced or Captive?* 65%
Percentage of Mission-critical Apps with Active DR 14%
11-50% 51-75% Captive
* Sample size - 193
76% and above
Top IT Infra Challenges CIOs Plan to Address this Fiscal Last on the list: Migrating current IT infrastructure platforms Ensure IT infrastructure management processes meet security and compliance requirements Simplify and automate IT infrastructure management Reduce IT service management costs by deploying infrastructure monitoring tools
CUSTOM SOLUTIONS GROUP NETMAGIC SOLUTIONS
What CIOs Have Outsourced*
Frequency of DR Drills
OS and DB management
29% Mission-critical app management
27% Security management * Sample size - 142
Cloud Types Within Enterprises Private Cloud - IaaS (in-house)
Private Cloud - IaaS (hosted)
Hybrid Cloud - IaaS
Public Cloud - IaaS
Their Outsourcing Strategy Single vendor Not Outsourced
How Happy Are They? Expected Servers, Storage, and Networks Infrastructure Growth in the Next Two Years
27% Less than 10%
58% Upto 30%
15% Greater than 30%
Extremely satisfied Extremely dissatisfied Moderately dissatisfied
Recognizing where you fall short in your management style and then developing a plan to strengthen those areas can mean the difference between being a boss and being a leader. By Rich Hein Just because you hold a leadership position doesn’t mean you are a good leader. “As a manager, you wield a tremendous amount of power. You can be an incredibly negative power or a positive one who’s looked up to by both peers and employees,” says Kathleen Brush, author of The Power of One: You’re the Boss. According to Brush, many people in leadership positions don’t understand that employees don’t come self-motivated. “If you’re lucky, you may have one or two employees who are, and so, it’s the bosses’ job each day to motivate their employees,” says Brush. The effects of bad leadership can range from mundane to catastrophic. The effects could mean missed software milestones, late product delivery, poor employee retention, unethical behavior and more. To make sure you keep your career on an upward trajectory, it’s important to determine where your strengths and shortcomings lie. Knowing this allows you to fill the gaps and strengthen areas of weakness. The 11 profiles listed below fall into the demotivating behavior category. So, if you find yourself fitting some of these descriptions, it’s time for some self-examination and perhaps time to make some changes.
1. The Lousy Listener Speaking of communication, this is normally a person who has a fairly large ego and typically doesn’t listen because they feel like they have all the answers. This, in turn, causes employees 62
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Reader ROI: How to be the ideal leader What employees expect from a leader Things a leader shouldn’t do
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to have a hard time buying into projects and goals, knowing that their superior hasn’t considered something that could cause issues later. Brush offers another example. “I saw repeatedly that you’d have a marketing or HR person and the company is contemplating some new IT technology and they would just glaze over. Next thing you know your employees are saddled with a system that causes productivity to decrease because their manager didn’t participate in the decision when they should have.” She also noted the reverse with CIOs and people from a tech background. When strategy and marketing came into the play, she’d see that same vacant stare.
2. The Complacent Leader In IT, change is always in the air. There is always new technology emerging and the competition is constantly trying to outdo one another. CIOs that land in this zone will quickly find their competitors have gained an advantage through IT. “A lot of managers embrace the philosophy that if employees have a problem, they’ll inform their manager. If they don’t tell him, there is the chance of his assuming everything is good. That’s not always the case, and this is recipe for employees to become disenchanted and disengaged,” says John Reed, from Robert Half Technology. When employees find themselves working on technology that is out of date and behind the times, they often question their future. “I’ve worked for companies that have had antiquated IT systems and the employees are appalled and demotivated by the fact their company could not keep up with IT. It is a huge downer of morale,” says Brush.
device. They like to communicate in the medium that can be particularly ineffective, especially when there needs to be some serious interaction. “A communication that could take three minutes in person or on the phone now takes three hours or three days,” says Brush. The written word is always subject to interpretation and you can’t read someone’s tone in an e-mail.
5. The Unethical Boss This is a category that doesn’t just annoy employees, it appalls them. For that reason, it’s a powerful demotivator. When a boss breaks or fudges the rules or indulges in behaviors that reveal a lack of moral principles, he or she loses employees’ respect. Without their respect, a boss cannot lead. In addition, when a leader indulges in unethical practices, he gives his employees permission to do the same. “Padding mileage reports, splurging on business travel expenses, failing to take responsibility for mistakes—they all become endorsed activities by the boss—the role model,” says Brush.
The effects of bad leadership can range from mundane to catastrophic. They could mean missed software milestones, late product delivery, poor employee retention, unethical behavior and more.
3. The Buddy Boss Instead of being leaders, managers belonging to this category make buddies. “Rather than earn their respect, what they try to do is to create friends in the workplace,” says Brush. According to the experts, bosses can never be buddies with their employees. Ever. Friendships neutralize the boss’ authority and power. They can also cloud a leader’s objectivity and hinder his/her ability to correct behaviors, to delegate and to hold employees accountable. When friendships compromise output, it’s the boss who will be accountable. “Be friendly to employees, but do not cross the line that muddies the relationship between boss and friend. It could cost you your job,” warns Brush.
4.The Inbox Slave This can also apply to text messaging, says Brush. Communications are the backbone of any organization, and this person is very comfy behind their mobile or desktop
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A leader has to display integrity and honesty in what they do. They also need to be focused and supportive of the people working for them. “It absolutely has a trickle-down effect,” says Reed.
6. The Unfair Boss Our current societal efforts to treat people equally have led to confusion among some leaders about “equality” versus “fairness” in the workplace. “I talked to a manager who gave all his employees the same pay raise because he ‘wanted to be fair’,” Brush recalls. He then seemed mystified that the productivity of his best employees declined to that of an average worker. “Rewards can be powerful tools of motivation, but they must be administered fairly,” says Brush. Remember: Fair doesn’t mean equal.
7. The Disorganized Boss Workplaces are filled with employees who lack direction because disorganized leaders don’t deliver and manage plans and strategies to guide their teams. What’s the chance of an unguided team maximizing its productivity to create REAL CIO WORLD | J U LY 1 5 , 2 0 1 3
competitively superior innovative widgets? “What’s the chance of employees being inspired by a leader who leads like a doormat or by random thoughts?” questions Brush.
8. The Cynical Boss “Being cynical is an oxymoron for a leader; it’s almost an admission that you can’t do your job,” says Brush. They regularly say things like, ‘No that’s not going to work’ or ‘I don’t know why we are doing this; this is stupid’ and they don’t realize the impact that has.’ “Employees don’t get charged up to do a team cliff dive. If something is stupid, then the boss has the responsibility to make it unstupid,” says Brush. If you’re a leader and you think that something is not worth doing or going to create major problems, it’s your responsibility to go to your superior and get clarification.
They send e-mails that are confusing and require back and forth or make requests without setting necessary parameters. Often times they aren’t responsive unless cornered. “When you don’t communicate with people, they just make it up in their heads,” says Reed. He offers an example from a different perspective, perhaps there is a rumor that the company is downsizing. If the boss doesn’t come out and talk about it, most employees will assume that it’s going to happen and will start making preparations.
10. The Know-It-All
This leader typically likes to demonstrate that he is the smartest person in the room and in doing so, often can overlook critical items. “Newer leaders often times feel like they have to appear to their team as if they always have the answer. A really effective leader knows that the best answers often come from the people you work with,” says Reed. 9. The Poor Communicator “People that are managers in a technical environment “This is a recipe for high turnover,” says Reed. This type are involved in managing technology projects, technology of boss isn’t great at articulating what his expectations are. initiatives and making sure that the strategy is in place. Where they aren’t typically focused is blocking time off to talk to people on their team to talk to them about their job satisfaction, how they feel about their job and their future,” says Reed. He goes on to note that a leader that An army officer elucidates what one needs to keep in mind doesn’t always have the perfect answer but in order to become a good leader. knows where to get that answer is what can define an elite manager. In his recent book, Special Forces operator and Army Officer Peter Blaber recalls the
Leading by Example
moment that someone shared with him a secret to leadership. There are three M’s to being a successful leader and to life in general, he writes: “They stand for the mission, the men and me. He then drew a line from the top M through the middle M, down to the bottom M. ‘They’re all connected,’ he continued. ‘So if you neglect one, you’ll screw up the others. The first M stands for the mission; it’s the purpose for which you’re doing what you’re doing. Whether in your personal or professional life, make sure you understand it; and that it makes legal, moral, and ethical sense, then use it to guide all your decisions. The second M stands for the men. Joshua Chamberlain, a Medal of Honor-receiving school teacher in the Civil War, once said that “there are two things an officer must do to lead men; he must be careful for his men’s welfare, and he must show courage. “Welfare of the troops and courage are inextricably linked. When it comes to your men you can’t be good at one without being good at the other. Take care of your men’s welfare by listening and leading them with sound tactics and techniques that accomplish your mission, and by always having the courage to do the right thing by them. The final M stands for me. Me comes last for a reason. You have to take care of yourself, but you should only do so after you have taken care of the mission, and the men. Never put your own personal well-being, or advancement, ahead of the accomplishment of your mission and taking care of your men.” This advice is what separates the leaders from the wannabes. Being a leader is about doing the right thing and leading by example. You simply cannot have one standard for yourself and one for everyone else.
11. The Foul-Mouthed Boss Some managers don’t realize how demoralizing this type of behavior can be. If foul language comes out of your mouth in an angry tone, you can very easily create a situation where no one wants to function. Whether it is anger, disgust or this is how you talk to your friends, you can’t bring it to the office. “Leaders have to earn the right to retain the services of the best and brightest, every day, by the way they conduct themselves,” says Roy West, CEO of the Roy West Companies and senior scientist at the Gallup Organization. If you’ve seen some of yourself in these profiles, then it’s time to step up and do something about it. Take some leadership seminars, communication courses or do whatever it takes to help you better connect to the people who depend on you daily. CIO Rich Hein is a senior writer who covers IT careers. Send
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feedback on this feature to email@example.com
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IDG EVENTS STERIA
STRENGTHENING SAP: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ASSURED Once considered a support function, IT is now seen as a driver of business growth. Here CIOs discuss how achieving transformation to deal with strategic changes is their core challenge today. By Shwetha Rao
upgrades, hence, play one of the most crucial roles in the transformation process as part of this Business-IT umbilical connection. “This is where maximum quality achieved by the most resourceful manner holds importance,” he added. However, many CIOs were of the opinion that owing to the deep levels of customizations required by company-specific processes, upgrades usually tend to use up a large amount of time and resources. Companies like Brakes India have also ensured they stay ahead. “We take every upgrade and every patch that comes in with an n-1 approach because the latest batch is usually replete of problems. But we are also driven by the fact that there are budgetary changes involved. And because we support a large number of organizations out of a single instance, we need to maintain high levels of standard. But to manage the continuous rate in which these changes are available, we spend “SAP testing and upgrading about two and a half months to test every time. It is quite has the potential to be intensive, especially when gap costly and risky, consuming analysis is done manually,” a major share of the overall said R Madhusudan, VP-IS at IT budget.” Brakes India. Another major IT concern SAURABH SRIVASTAVA was the effect SAP upgrades Non-executive Chairman, Steria have on existing processes. “On a basic level, performing
ith SAP at the heart of many enterprise technology solutions in both the public and private sectors, CIO Magazine, along with Steria spoke to CIOs to understand the simultaneous challenges of Running, maintaining and upgrading their legacy IT systems, Reducing total cost of ownership through increased industrialisation, offshoring and on demand models and Adapting to accelerating changes in all aspects of their businesses. Initiating the conversation, Saurabh Srivastava, Non-executive Chairman at Steria said, “Businesses are changing the way they cater to customer demands in order to gain a competitive edge. Today they have to cater to not just their customers’ but also their customers’ customers demand.” According to him, all IT strategies across verticals are completely focused on delivering directly to business. SAP
upgrades on the live environment is being on the riskier side. So, understanding upgrade requirements and their impact is important. We can’t afford even five minutes of downtime,” said Suresh Pillai, GM-IT from Kamachi Sponge and Power Corporation. For S Senthil Nathan who is the Head-IT at Cavinkare, every product upgrade is accompanied by a cost escalation. But these expenditures cannot be added on to the company’s end products and hence eat into internal IT budgets. In response, Srivastava pointed out Steria’s capabilities in helping perform upgrades at near-zero downtime. “No one understands upgrades tailored to client specifications better than us. Steria shares its broad SAP expertise developed over 20 years with clients to ensure they make the most of their software investments. Our SAP practice employs over 1,000 specialist professionals across the globe and our belief lies in working closely with companies for minimal interruption to everyday business.” This event report is brought to you by IDG Events in association with
GREEN GAINS GROUND Over 190 Indian IT decision makers participated in Schneider Electric's CIO Green IT Study. It shows the increasing importance of green IT in Indian enterprises. Here's a snapshot.
Virtualization's Here to Stay
The State of Green IT Initiatives
Over the last three years, 11 percent more organizations adopted virtualization.
India Inc has done plenty where green datacenter initiatives are concerned.
52% We plan to outsource datacenter power consumption and cooling infrastructure
69% We've replaced servers over three-years-old with new energy-efficient models
71% We've installed energy-efficient HVAC and building automation controls
Of CXOs explicitly support green IT initiatives.
We've revised our datacenter layout to reduce power consumption
88% We've reduced IT equipment energy consumption by at least 5%
Spending Driver: Energy Efficient IT Compared to 2012, fewer CXOs factor in energy efficient IT in their purchasing practises, but it's a small difference.
More Orgs Outsource DC Management
There's been an uptick in the number of organizations that have outsourced datacenter management.
Power Audits Rise The number of organizations conducting datacenter power consumption audits has gone up by 5 percent.
Of Indian organizations have teamed up their IT and facilities departments to reduce IT power consumption.
CUSTOM SOLUTIONS GROUP SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC
SALUTING EXCELLENCE Schneider Electric Congratulates the Winners of the Green IT Awards 2013
WINNERS LARGE ENTERPRISES ALOK KUMAR
ANIL K. KAUSHIK
GM-Infrastructure & Services BPCL
JAYANTHA PRABHU CTO Essar Group
CIO TVS Motor Company
VP & Global Head-Internal IT & Shared Services, TCS
Deputy General Manager-IT National Insurance Company
M. K. MADHAVAN
CTO IndusInd Bank
CIO & SVP Genpact
Executive Director (IS) Indian Oil Corporation
EVP & Group IT Infrastructure Head Kotak Mahindra Bank
V. C. KUMANAN
S. FRANCIS RAJAN
Head-Technology Infrastructure Group ICICI Bank
WINNERS MID-SIZED ENTERPRISES CIO VFS
RAVI SHARMA GM-IT Watson Pharma
Director-Operations, IS & Projects Allergan India
Sr. Director-IT IDFC
VP-IT Aviva Life Insurance
SVP-IT Apollo Munich Health Insurance
WINNERS GREEN PIONEERS
Brought to you by
YOGESH KAPOOR Head-IT HSBC Bank
MURALI KRISHNA K. SVP & Head-CCD Infosys
VP & CIO Hero MotoCorp
CXO Agenda | Finance
Weaving a Success Sunil O. Khandelwal, CFO, Alok Industries, says IT has empowered the company with timely decisions that help it tweak its strategy to stay profitable and beat competition.
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An end-to-end provider of integrated textiles solutions, Alok Industries has a wide customer base that includes domestic and overseas retailers, and garment exporters who are vendors to major international labels. The companyâ€™s exports stretch to over 90 VOL/8 | ISSUE/09
CXO Agenda | Finance
Starting his career as an accountant, he has grown with the company and has recently been elevated to the position of executive director. Unlike CFOs of manufacturing companies, Khandelwal’s belief in IT is unshakeable. In this interview, Khandelwal talks about how IT empowers the company with data to take informed decisions in a jiffy and the impact of the weakening rupee means on his business.
CIO: About 30 percent of Alok Industries’ net sales come from the export business. How does the weakening rupee affect your business?
SUNIL O. KHANDELWAL: The rupee’s
Sunil’s Agenda: To help the company stay profitable in a down economy and beat competition— piggybacking on IT.
depreciation has certainly had an impact— not only on the revenue side, but also with regard to our absolute value of exports, which stands at about Rs 4,000 crore. Also, we have foreign currency borrowings like packing credit, FCNR B loans , and some imports. So, overall, it does affect Alok’s balance sheet. The liability side, however, is still kept open considering the natural hedge we have in terms of exports. The exports revenue—which is usually in
immediate reporting period. The rupee’s volatility has compelled us to take hedging for three months only, and that too for actual orders. Previously, sometimes the tenures even stretched to a period of 12 months or more. With the liabilities remaining open and the three-month hedging of exports, sometimes there is an immediate impact in terms of markto-market, but it gets neutralized over a period of time. If the rupee depreciation trend continues for some time, the buyer also starts factoring this in rupee pricing, thereby making us more competitive vis-a-vis competitors. For example, in the past three months, the Indian currency has depreciated by 10 percent, whereas the Chinese has appreciated by three percent. This makes India a much cheaper source for international buyers, compared to China. Alok Industries operates across different segments in both domestic as well as international markets. How are you dealing with the slowdown in western markets?
As an integrated textile provider both in cotton and polyester, our primary strength
Story with IT countries, with major markets being the US, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Behind those impressive numbers is Alok Industries’ CFO, Sunil O. Khandelwal, who has been with the company for the past 24 years. VOL/8 | ISSUE/09
dollars—is more, but the forex liability or outgo is not that high. The liability or import outgo in a particular year would not exceed the Rs 2,000 crore. So we have about 50 percent cover. So, sometimes, if we hedge just before the depreciation happens, it leaves a mark-to-market impact for
BY YOGESH GUPTA
is of scale and size of operations which keep us on the radar of all international buyers who source from India. In the past couple of years, we have matured into a company with high integration, modern technology and world class infrastructure offering a wide range of products that are REAL CIO WORLD | J U LY 1 5 , 2 0 1 3
want anything post facto. If there is any problem in a division, we solve it as soon as possible, since the information is readily available. That’s the major role of IT. Availability of information is crucial. A marketing person, for instance, can check the availability of a particular item in any warehouse, sitting from the office and issue a challan instantly. If this is to be done manually, it’d take a few days to search through the thousands of bales in the warehouse. Technology has made tracking and identification quicker, which is extremely important as the response-time-to-client is shrinking fast. The fashion cycle worldwide has reduced drastically from 120-180 days to 60-90 days maximum. Even the sampling has to be done really fast.
of great quality and huge volume and those that fit their requirements. More than 85 percent of the Indian textile industry is unorganized, and there are very few players like us in the organized segment. Our strategy of integration, technology and scale has been so effective that it has ensured our order book is always full for three to four months throughout the year. We have not faced any slowdown due to weakened demand from different countries across the globe. In your opinion, how can IT help you stay on course in such a highly fluctuating economy?
Our business runs on SAP, which was implemented in 2006 integrating all the business processes such as sales and distribution, materials management, finance, export, production and planning, and quality management. Necessary customization was carried out, retaining the core SAP system as it is, to facilitate easy product upgrades from time to time. This was necessary, as SAP did not have any industry specific solution for integrated textile manufacturing. All the required reports are generated through SAP and all business functions depend on SAP for decision making. Alok has been very focussed on IT and using integrated applications since its inception. We also integrated HCM. Our CO module is in the final stages of implementation. This will help us to get online order profitability considering all the cost components.
IT helps us make timely decisions. It, for instance, shows us which line of business is more profitable, and we tweak our strategy accordingly. ”
How do you see IT helping Alok Industries map the demands of its huge customer base and network of retailers?
Because of the comprehensiveness of our SAP implementation and accurate online data capturing—which is largely automated with necessary integration—decision making, analysis and optimization have become 70
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very easy for us. Information Technology has become an integral part of our business. This being a centralized application with robust connectivity across our plants and offices, accessibility and availability of data is easy. Necessary business continuity plans have also been in place for all applications and networks across all locations, which ensures high availability of applications. The role technology is playing here is exactly what we want it to be—a businessenabler. We can take decisions faster than under normal circumstances, and to that extent, IT has done a good job. We do not
How else do you plan to leverage the capabilities of IT?
The aforementioned integrated SAP environment is quite expensive if you factor the annual maintenance cost, user licence, and maintenance of server. Having incurred that cost, we definitely wish to optimize the way we use it. The online reports help enhance productivity and reduce cost at various levels. They also reduce inefficiencies in the production environment. Now, we are also integrating production planning with SAP as we have optimized this process and its capabilities. Additionally, the system suggests areas where improvements can be made.
You’ve been with Alok Industries for over two decades. How has your relationship with IT changed over time?
Since its inception, Alok has been using integrated RDBMS based applications across all business functions and this has helped us to roll out SAP easily, as users were completely familiar with integrated
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CXO Agenda | Finance
environment. IT has played a critical role at Alok from day one. Now, all crucial information is made available online through MIS reports, which help us make right decisions. This has been of great value because timely decisions keep organizations ahead of competition always. It, for instance, shows us which line of business is more profitable, and we tweak our strategy accordingly. There are many reports generated by the system which are effectively used by different people from different departments. One might get lost and spend too much time in thousands of these reports. However, there is a customized template which contains all the data critical for my role in the company. Retaining manpower is a constant challenge for textile manufacturing companies. Have you turned to technology to address this challenge?
With the recent economic developments happening in Chhattisgarh, Bihar, and Orissa, the number of people migrating out of these states for employment opportunities in other states has gone down.
Besides RFID and barcodes as major applications of IT, we also invested heavily in setting up robotic warehouses 18 months ago. They are equipped with state-of-theart German machines which are integrated back to the SAP system. Right from production, quality check and packing, to stacking in the warehouse and dispatch of polyester yarn are done automatically by robots at our factory in Silvassa. We are implementing most of this automation for cotton yard production too. As a fast-growing company, the idea was not to reduce the workforce, but modernize production and relocate employees to other departments. Since there is no human intervention in the entire process, there are less quality defects and the packed material is much cleaner. This end-product is now exported across the globe. In international markets, these high quality products fetch a premium, besides enhancing our credibility as a modern manufacturer. The additional price adds to our profits too.
Increasingly, the effectiveness of IT projects is being measured based on business outcomes. How closely do you work with the CIO to enable this?
The CTO plays a major role in the organization, and he is part of every business discussion. Every rupee that we spend on IT has to give us the benefit it’s supposed to give. There is a fixed annual IT budget, but if there is an ad-hoc project or IT overhaul, the IT team needs to justify the benefit that is drawn out of it. If the benefit justifies the capex, we immediately give the go-ahead. We were fortunate to have a CTO right from the early days of the company. He is well-aware of all our business requirements, information needed, daily reports, and other operating procedures and needs. This continuity over the years has helped us a lot in achieving common business goals from both ends: Technology and business. CIO
Send feedback on this interview to yogesh_gupta@ idgindia.com
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with a Chance of
By analyzing a wealth of weather information, multiple industries can adjust inventories and marketing schemes, based on the shifting winds of Mother Nature. By Kim S. Nash
Merck, maker of the allergy pill Claritin, anticipated hay fever in the US, and a year ago, started making plans to capitalize on it. With a subscription to specialized weather forecasts, Merck knew way back in July 2012 that this March would be unseasonably cold in most of the US, leaving many allergens dormant. Then, quite quickly, May would bring lots of warmth, pollen and spores. Merck shared its weather intelligence, based on temperature and moisture data correlated to customer behavior by ZIP code, with Wal-Mart. Together they decided to boost promotions and supplies of Claritin and other allergy products at the time when people were desperately ready to buy. “The upside is potentially millions of dollars in additional sales,” says Debbie Sonnentag, Merck Consumer Care’s director of category development for Wal-Mart. Companies in all corners of the US are factoring weather data into their business strategies, hoping to turn a profit on Mother Nature. Sears monitors weather nationwide from a crisis command center, figuring out how to stock enough snow blowers in a winter storm and air conditioners in a heat wave. Home insurer EMC Insurance analyzes hailstorm history to catch false claims. Westar Energy in Kansas schedules power-line repair crews with an eye on severe weather in other states, in case distant outages require their help. DHL Express, a division of the $73 billion (about Rs 4.06 lakh crore) global delivery company, uses weather data to make minute-to-minute decisions that affect 3,000 flights per day worldwide. “Weather,” says Travis Cobb, VP of hubs, gateways and network control for DHL’s Americas region, “is the million-dollar question.” Yet weathermen have a bad reputation for a reason: Getting it right is hard. The Weather Channel, for example, every day processes 20 TB of data about wind, rain, sleet, snow, temperature, tornadoes, air pressure, moisture, earthquakes, hurricanes, wave heights, lightning, and ice, says CIO Bryson Koehler. And much more. Plus, business customers can buy custom information created by analytics. Insurers might want to see rain accumulation modeled against auto insurance claims. Pharmaceutical companies can buy maps of air stagnation patterns to understand patient respiratory distress. Consumer packaged goods companies, logistics businesses, restaurants, railroads, amusement parks, financial services firms—the list of weather watchers goes on. Some analyze how past weather influenced customer behavior, hoping to discover useful tidbits for the next marketing campaign. For others, anticipating future weather can reveal worthy risks to take and ways to avoid problems that competitors don’t foresee. “Weather is the original big data problem,” Koehler says.
Hot Competition Weather provides no shortage of business opportunities because it affects everyone. Demand will probably never ebb. As a result, the world of weather data is competitive, niche-y and expensive. Google recently patented a robotic device that analyzes weather and a personalized navigation system that suggests changes to driving routes, based on the weather. Some players even sell weather derivatives that companies buy to offset expenses incurred as the result of weather. Dominating the market for weather forecasting services are The Weather Channel and AccuWeather, with market shares of 51 percent and 14 percent respectively, according to researcher IBISWorld. Both provide consumer weather forecasts and both vie fiercely for big-name business customers. The Reader ROI: Weather Channel has Home Depot and American Airlines; How organizations can use AccuWeather has Lowe’s and Union Pacific. weather information to drive sales Smaller firms, such as Weather Trends International, and What kind of insights one CustomWeather, specialize in corporate accounts. Boutique can acquire from weather weather companies focus on narrow markets such as agriculture information or energy. IT vendors such as CoreLogic and Planalytics The possible pitfalls in the offer weather information with analysis tools and services to process integrate data from ERP, manufacturing, and other IT systems.
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Bryson Koehler, CIO of The Weather Channel, advises organizations to be careful enough to not mix personal biases with statistics.
Most of these companies scoop up free data from the National Weather Service, whose mission is to protect life and property and enhance the US’ economy. But that’s just a starting point. The companies supplement that information with data collected from their own systems and sensors, as well as from niche players. Then they run it through secret algorithms, interpret it, and create new products. For example, AccuWeather’s Weather-Triggered Marketing service supplies a stream of data to help companies choose the best periods to offer a discount or increase inventory, or to help them post social media updates that make sense, given local weather conditions. Facebook users of one US state don’t want to be bothered with the weather conditions in another. Custom services include analyzing item-level point-of-sale data against weather events to see patterns. AccuWeather says it can find relationships among local sales data and up to 200 weather variables. One gem: The topselling food during hurricanes is blueberry toaster pastries. This analysis requires a different kind of IT department. “R&D is a huge piece of IT here,” says Steve Smith, chief digital officer of AccuWeather. Smith stacks his staff with data-scientist types who become experts on specific industries, such as railroads, retail or commodities trading. The posturing by these companies can be entertaining. In marketing material touting its forecasts of February’s snowstorm in Northeast US, AccuWeather dissed rival Telvent DTN for describing 74
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what turned out to be a record-setting storm as “brisk.” The Weather Channel, which holds 77 patents, proclaims, “The only thing more powerful than the weather is our ability to help you profit from it.” Still, there’s lots that can’t be foreseen about weather, and companies rightly worry about it. Satellites 23,000 miles up and sensors all over the ground—on portable weather stations, buildings, vehicles, mobile devices—take millions of observations at regular intervals that are analyzed by public and private weather organizations. But the band of space between Earth’s surface and orbiting satellites is where the wild stuff happens. Two thousand to ten thousand feet up, the weather changes. Winds die or cold fronts break up. Precipitation evaporates or the air warms. Conditions in the lower atmosphere make all the difference, says Randy Bass, a member of the aviation weather research team at the Federal Aviation Administration. The three to five inches of snow a broadcaster predicts for Wednesday turns into a foot dumped on an area where the temperature unexpectedly dropped 10 degrees. Then everyone says the weatherman blew it. Airline pilots and weather balloons transmit reports from that mystery band, but they aren’t enough. “There’s no good way to get data from there in the amount and with the timeliness we need,” Bass says. All of which makes weather a favorite scapegoat for companies that miss financial expectations. In recent conference calls with Wall Street, various executives cited weather as the reason behind
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Big Data disappointing sales of sandals, green beans, doughnuts, books, airline tickets, and auto parts. In its latest annual report, FedEx issued a broad warning to investors: “We are particularly vulnerable to the physical risks of climate change that could affect all of humankind, such as shifts in weather patterns and world ecosystems.” Nothing like covering every base. But with so much data available, often for free from the federal government, and with so much computing power on hand to crunch it, companies won’t be able to claim to be surprised by the weather anymore, says Al DeChellis, a supply-chain consultant and former VP at Alberto-Culver. “If you’re selling seasonal products and you’re not using weather data, you’re not doing your job.”
Seeing through the Fog At Alberto-Culver, which is now owned by Unilever Group, DeChellis pioneered the use of weather data 8 years ago to sell one product: Static Guard. The spray can of chemicals to get rid of annoying static cling is a seasonal product, but not in the way people assume, he says. Cold weather isn’t the culprit; relative humidity is. If humidity sinks to 50 percent for at least three weeks, static electricity builds to humongous levels. DeChellis’ team worked with Planalytics to correlate dry air to consumer sales by geography and convinced some retailers to pay more attention to Static Guard, he says. In the Chicago market, for example, salesmen sometimes convinced retailers to promote Static Guard two or three times per year, rather than just once. “We considered it a major win,” he says. Scott Jean, chief actuary at EMC Insurance, is something of a weather detective. He knows hail is a big deal in Midwest US. So are homeowners’ claims of hail damage. Hail accounts for about 30 percent of the company’s homeowners’ claims, and payouts have been increasing, he says. As the recession hit the US in 2009, Jean noticed an uptick in hail claims. He suspected the involvement of storm-chasing opportunists who call on homeowners after a bout of hail and, for a fee, inspect their roofs and help file damage claims. “They will find something wrong with a roof that could have been there 10 years before we insured the homeowner,” Jean says. With hail data supplied by CoreLogic and Doppler radar material pinpointing hailstorms to specific dates and locations, EMC Insurance can catch errant claims. But the insurer drills down further to consider the size and intensity of a hailstorm as well as the age of the roof. “Peasize hail won’t do damage to a good roof, but a storm chaser will say otherwise,” he explains. “We can argue reasonably that it didn’t occur.” Whether the guy who inspected the roof is dishonest or just mistaken, EMC Insurance doesn’t want to pay bad claims. Homeowners insurance isn’t usually profitable for insurers, but Jean thinks it can be, with judicious and methodical analytics, of which weather is a key piece. “We should be able to be profitable without overcharging consumers,” he says.
Advances in analytics technology in the last several years, combined with plentiful weather data, allow such analytical creativity and exactitude, says Tom Davenport, senior adviser to Deloitte Analytics and professor at Harvard Business School, and Babson College. IT organizations are good at excavating data from internal systems and using technology tools to combine it with outside information. But some IT groups aren’t as good at understanding the context in which the material will be used, he cautions. With weather data, such insight is important. Not only do CIOs want to facilitate access to useful data, but they can also help the company create new products or services. Or help streamline operations. No one can predict the weather correctly all the time, but getting a peek at what’s coming can help the business, Davenport says. “You can’t control it, but you can control for it.”
When Disaster Strikes Sears faces troubles in retail overall, but the $39.8 billion (about Rs 2.2 lakh crore) national chain brought its size, experience, business relationships, and technology to bear in its successful response to
Some analyze how past weather influenced customer behavior, hoping to discover useful tidbits for the next marketing campaign.
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the Nemo winter storm, which affected the Northeastern region of the US in February this year. As Nemo developed, the crisis command center at Sears headquarters jumped into action, says Raj Penkar, president of supply chain at Sears Holdings. Established in 2010, the command center runs seven computer monitors tracking various data and information. From local and national news feeds, Google Earth and other sources, Sears created maps of the affected areas, color-coded according to expected severity. Red is bad, and there was a lot of red on Sears’ Nemo map. Staff members from the risk management, facilities, corporate communications, inventory management, logistics, transportation, and IT departments together made decisions about employee safety and store operations, Penkar informs. As reports about Nemo made it clear the storm would be a whopper, Sears scanned its inventory, store, and warehouse systems to get the latest data on product stock levels. The crisis team figured out what extra inventory would be needed and how to move it closer to the trouble spots. Sears put extra snow blowers and generators, among other “recovery” products, in or just outside affected areas, ready to go to individual stores as Nemo passed. In some areas, once the roads were clear, Sears asked suppliers to truck inventory REAL CIO WORLD | J U LY 1 5 , 2 0 1 3
Big Data Nemo hit full-on, Sears issued a press release about stores stocked with the right equipment. The release also noted that people could expect two inches of snow per hour and winds of 50 mph, and that Sears offers convenient in-store pickup of online orders. Each day, Sears’ managers received several “LogHot” email alerts showing the severity of the storm. The alerts included maps of the storm’s predicted path and the number of stores and distribution centers that could be affected. Key personnel carried special cellphones reserved for storm communication. Field employees updated a private wiki with on-the-scene information. For example, entries from staff at Sears’ distribution center at Pennsylvania—another Northeastern state— included notes about roads that had been shut down, regional delivery centers that had been closed and stores whose delivery trucks weren’t unloaded due to the storm. Sales figures from that period are one way to assess Sears’ agility in handling the storm, Penkar says, but more importantly, “The right product [was] there, that our customer needed.” DHL Express prides itself on its intense focus on how weather affects customer satisfaction. DHL analyzes feeds and data from, among other sources, Real-time analytics will enable customized weather reports the National Weather Service, partner airlines, on smartphones, in cars, and on refrigerators. airports, AccuWeather, The Weather Channel, and a hive of organizations that specialize in weather as Lots of mobile phones come pre-loaded with weather apps from AccuWeather or The it affects flying. Its three network control centers in Weather Channel. But the companies want to go beyond local forecasts, which anyone can Cincinnati, Germany, and Hong Kong are staffed get by typing in a ZIP code. They want to combine sensors and geolocation technology to 24/7. The data never stops. provide personal weather reports. Of course, Mother Nature can be tricky. Using real-time analytics, weather companies intend to combine data about where “Sometimes you can look at it too closely and someone is standing with other information, such as the air pressure and temperature, make decisions off one 5-minute data set, and the collected by sensors in the phone. The result will be a forecast tailored to the mobile next thing you know, the weather’s gone,” says phone customer as he moves around during the day. He could also query the data to find Mark Becker, director of the network control out, for example, the chance of rain at the company softball game he’s about to play. group at DHL Express. What guards against First, however, systems for data collection and the speed of analytics will have that? “Experience,” Becker says. Most of his duty to improve to make personal weather forecasts possible, says Steve Smith, chief managers and controllers have 20 or more years digital officer of AccuWeather. But his company is working on it. Smith also envisions on the job. collecting weather data from cars in motion, such as when wipers go on and when antiVisibility, as you might imagine, is DHL’s lock brakes kick in. watchword as it manages the 3,000 flights per “That’s how you get to something actionable and relevant to you,” Smith says. “We day carrying packages to its customers in 220 change weather from a commodity to something of value.” countries. Betting correctly that airports would AccuWeather also works with appliance-maker LG Electronics to embed a weather app be a mess in the Northeast after Nemo, DHL in high-tech refrigerators. flew its planes out of major airports before the Readings from mobile devices could also make regional forecasts more accurate. storm, keeping them at its hub in Cincinnati. Participating cellphone users would form a network of continuously updated weather data The contingency routing decisions were based to fill gaps in existing weather-collection systems. For example, the average thunderstorm on experience, terabytes of data, and IT systems is eight to 10 miles wide, but observations from weather stations on the ground are to model scenarios. The process is worlds typically 50 miles apart, says Randy Bass, a member of the aviation weather research better than it was years ago when weather team at the Federal Aviation Administration. A tighter network would make forecasts information was scarcer, says Cobb, the VP of better, he says. hubs, gateways and network control. Personal weather forecasts are “very feasible,” states Bass. “Is it perfect? No. But it will be In the past, “you would see the 6 o’clock better than watching TV and guessing what conditions will be at a certain time.” news, the 11 o’clock news and make decisions,” — K.S.N. he says. Even now, working with incomplete and directly to Sears stores, bypassing the usual stops at regional distribution centers. Of course, Home Depot and other competitors were doing the same thing, Penkar notes. “When something like this happens, everybody needs trucks and vendors,” he says. “Not to be negative, but we all try to help customers and at the same time, we’re all trying to run a business.” In the days leading up to Nemo, Sears had a supplier reroute four truckloads of generators in Atlanta—a Southeastern US state—up to the Northeast. A supplier in Wisconsin, a north-central US state, held six trucks of generators for Sears to pick up. The evening before
Coming Soon: Personal Weather Forecasts
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Debbie Sonnentag of Merck is working alongside Wal-Mart to make sure the availability of allergy pill Claritin is high when hay fever strikes—an initiative driven using weather information.
sometimes wrong information can’t be helped, he says. “Each situation is unique. What we try to do is mitigate risk.” DHL faced its most unusual weather challenge in 2010. A large volcano in Iceland started to erupt in April of that year, after 200 years of quiet. Soon, a giant cloud of ash covered surrounding countries, at times up to seven miles high. Government officials shut down most of northern Europe’s air space for eight days in April while the cloud lingered, and sporadically in May as parts of it drifted back. Worldwide, 104,000 flights were canceled during that period, up to 19,000 per day. As the cloud broke up and parts of it drifted unpredictably, air safety officials had to react to the changing situation. Even when they opened the skies to planes, DHL had to determine for itself whether and how to fly. “That was dynamic,” Cobb says, understating the tension of those days. A DHL plane was one of the first to fly into western European airspace when the sky cleared—a move worth a lot to its reputation and, therefore, its business, Cobb beams. The company’s market share increased, following this feat.
Removing the Emotional Factor
conjure scenarios and play out ideas, he says. But that’s a particular danger when using weather data, says Koehler, CIO at The Weather Channel. “Telling the story of weather,” as he puts it, is often how even the most accurate forecasts get mangled. The Weather Channel has written a lexicon to translate weather numbers into language that consumers of the information can understand. For example, when the probability of precipitation is 60 percent or more, forecasters say “likely.” When it’s below 60 percent, they say “chance.” Back at Merck, Sonnentag cautions her team not to get carried away adding subjectivity to the weather data they use. People “tend to be emotional” about the weather, she says. Before Merck used weather facts, people would attribute up or down sales to whatever local weather they happened to experience, she says, “even though that was based on a single market, sometimes a single day.” Hard data removes subjectivity. So, Merck plans to promote Claritin more than it normally does in the autumn months. Sonnentag has faith in her weather data. However, the risk is that weather will shift and Merck will have overstocked Wal-Mart’s distribution centers. Merck could lose money if it has to truck a lot of unsold Claritin back home and throw out expired lots, she says. She’ll know in a few months. CIO
Making the best decisions in the moment with imperfect information challenges even the smartest managers, Davenport says. You try not to sully the statistics with biases or inaccuracies as you use them to
Kim Nash is a senior editor. Send feedback on this feature to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Processed food giant Venky’s uses Open Source technology to tailor an ERP for its poultry business, thus enhancing operational capabilities and boosting transparency. BY VARSHA CHIDAMBARAM The Organization: Established in 1971, Venkateswara Hatcheries (VH Group) is today a $1 billion (about Rs 6,000 crore) conglomerate and the largest fully-integrated poultry group in Asia. Its founder, Late Padmashree Dr. B.V. Rao is often referred to as “the Father of the Indian Poultry Industry”. With such a grand legacy and subsequent accrual of relevant expertise in the poultry industry, the company’s operation encompasses all the aspects necessary for successful poultry farming. VH Group’s Rs 1,000 crore business wing—Uttara Foods and Feeds (UFFL) is a leading manufacturer of quality poultry feed. Venky’s Feed, and the company’s flagship brand Venky’s Chicken are among the forerunners in their respective markets. This profitable business unit also has production plants spread across eight different locations in India. In fact, the company is so profitable that it went on to buy an English football club, the Blackburn Rovers, for £23 million (about Rs 209.3 crore) in late 2010. The Business Case: “The needs of the livestock industry are very different from those of others,” claims B. Venkatesh Rao, managing director, UFFL. And that’s the reason you don’t, everyday, find a hatchery that uses an ERP system. Unlike other ERPs, which monitor inanimate objects, the ERP for poultry business has to be more dynamic because the industry requires high levels of manual monitoring. Until 2012, UFFL was running an in-house IT solution . With the gradual expansion and resultant globalization of business, this no-frills solution was soon found to be wanting. Most importantly, around 2010, UFFL got proposals for poultry seed farming in Bangladesh and Vietnam, but the old outdated system stood as a stumbling block. Poor infrastructure in these countries prevented the company from laying its own corporate
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lease lines, and privacy concerns ruled out cloud or public domain as an option. Also, language and local tax conditions posed challenges as well. Thus UFFL realized there was a burning need for a new and effective solution. The Project: The IT team at UFFL consists of people well-versed and experienced at Open Source technology— the reason they chose OpenBravo, an Open Source ERP vendor. The choice to go Open Source was unanimous, says Rao. “We wanted an open platform that gives us the flexibility of customization.” The Open Source solution gave the IT team at UFFL the opportunity to experiment with new ideas and build new capabilities, but they first diligently studied the OpenBravo platform. In collaboration with solution architects from OpenBravo, UFFL’s IT team engineered a state-of-the-art ERP solution. The Solution: UFFL went live with the new ERP in early 2011. One of the noteworthy features of OpenBravo was its localization pack, which allows it to operate in 64 different languages; a feature soon put to use, given their expansion to Bangladesh and Vietnam. However, what made the system more effective was its Web service. In the world of increasing mobility, Web service answered UFFL’s twin needs of protecting data and enabling mobility. The company has also developed a mobile application which its sales force can use to place purchase and transaction orders. The challenge with the new solution, though, surfaced when it was time to hand the system over to users. With the new solution, UFFL standardized on a number of things; mainly, its reporting structure. However, users were very used to seeing reports in a certain format. Therefore, a change management drive was needed. The company launched a massive awareness and training exercise to educate users about the merits of the new system and turned their reluctance into approval.
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B. Venkatesh Rao, MD, UFFL, and his IT team made effective use of Open Source technology to create an ERP system that addresses the unique requirements of the poultry business.
The Benefits: Today, UFFL has more than 250 users on the OpenBravo system. The biggest benefit, according to Rao, has been the increase in transparency. “The system has made live updates in the livestock business a reality. ” The system has also uncovered capabilities hitherto considered impossible. For instance, they’ve developed a new desktop application that allows employees
working from remote areas with poor Internet connectivity access an offline module to continue work uninterrupted. The Web service functions can autosynchronize any incremental work as soon as connectivity is established. Venky’s can now confidently consider expanding their business in remote areas. CIO Send feedback to email@example.com
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Poor interconnection between multiple locations meant Essar Group’s employees had to face productivity issues. Here’s how the company overcame this challenge.
BY ARITRA SARKHEL
The Organization: The Mumbai-based $27 billion (about Rs 1.61 lakh crore) Essar Group started its operations in 1969 and has ever since spread its wings to different geographies such as the USA, France, China, South Korea, and Egypt among others. Today, the conglomerate has diversified interests from steel and energy to infrastructure and services, and caters to a huge list of customers across the globe. The Business Case: While the Essar Group is headquartered at Mahalaxmi,
Jayantha Prabhu, CTO, Essar Group, has ensured better user productivity through WAN optimization.
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Mumbai, it has offices in Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai; a steel plant in Hazira, Surat; an oil refinery in Vadinar, Gujarat; and a steel plant at Ontario, Canada. Besides these major locations, it also has offices in remote locations across the world. As a result, the workload also increased dramatically along with the number of office locations. “The group’s requirement kept increasing year on year,” says Jayantha Prabhu, CTO, Essar Group. Moreover, a lot of the group’s important activities take place from their key locations in India: A central Internet gateway at the corporate office in Mumbai, a global datacenter and a central network operation center in Hazira. The dramatic increase in application workloads and number of branches led to additional pressure on the group’s bandwidth requirement. End-users faced the repercussions of this over a period of time. Not just employee productivity, even access to mission-critical data took a beating as the slow network resulted in replication of stagnant data. The Solution: Essar Group zeroed in on WAN optimization, following a six-month-long POC, as the solution to its network challenges. Prabhu and his team evaluated many solutions and finalized a vendor to achieve optimized
and throttled performance, and control the sudden high flow of bandwidth. The in-house IT team of seven people at Essar deployed the WAN optimization solution, apart from mobile controller appliances at important locations of the Essar Group. Besides fixing the issues at key locations, the team also installed a mobile software on end-users’ laptops. “It is beneficial for users in remote locations as they don’t have to install external hardware, but just a small client to access critical apps,” Prabhu says. The Benefits: Essar group benefited tremendously from the deployment. The end-users, who once faced less bandwidth, now have a much better experience and consequently, high productivity. They can also get far better performance from applications. Also, a central management console (CMC) enables central management of all the new appliances deployed. In terms of cost reduction, WAN optimization has proven to be more costeffective, compared to making additional investments to increase bandwidth. “Reduction in bandwidth cost was a substantial gain for us,” says Prabhu. CIO
Send feed back to aritra_sarkhel@ idgindia.com
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technology IMAGE BY MASTERFILE.COM
A CLOSER LOOK AT BIG DATA
A majority of organizations believe that big data can give them a competitive advantage, but moving from data to insight poses a major challenge. Here are the four barriers that stand between your operation and data insights. VOL/8 | ISSUE/09
Breaking Barriers BY THOR OLAVSRUD
BIG DATA | Over the past three years or so, the buzz around big data has continued to grow. While some dismiss it as so much hype, businesses around the world are taking notice: In its recently released 5th annual Digital IQ Survey, consulting firm PwC found that 62 percent of respondents believe big data can give them a competitive advantage. But believing in the power of big data is one thing; leveraging big data for actionable insights is another. PwC also found that 58 percent of respondents agree that moving from data to insight is a major challenge. “The amount of information and data that we’re collecting now is truly enormous in terms of the volume that is outside the four walls of the organization,” says Anand Rao, principal at PwC. PwC found that organizations struggle with four major big data barriers: They’re blind to the importance of visualization. They’re investing more in gathering data than analyzing it. They’re facing a talent gap. They’re struggling with insufficient systems to rapidly process information.
Businesses Blind to the Importance of Visualization Visualization is fundamental when it comes to actually deriving insight from the trove of data at most organizations’ disposal. Visualization helps put data into context and bring REAL CIO WORLD | J U LY 1 5 , 2 0 1 3
business cases to life. In many cases, advanced visualization capabilities allow organizations to glean insights that would be impossible to derive otherwise. For instance, due to archaic records and inaccurate information, most utilities have no idea where all of their underground assets are located, resulting in all-too-common service interruptions for residents when a power line is accidentally cut or a water line bursts. To avoid these problems, the City of Las Vegas took advantage of smart data to develop a living model of its utilities network. VTN Consulting helped the city aggregate data from various sources into a single real-time 3D model created with Autodesk technology. The model includes both above and below ground utilities, and is being used to visualize the location and performance of critical assets located under the city. And yet, only 26 percent of global survey respondents are using data visualization. But the picture is very different when you focus in on top-performing companies— those respondents that reported revenue growth of greater than five percent and
on actions we took, we want to look into the future. That requires visualization that is much more dynamic.”
Investing More in Gathering Data than Analyzing It “Companies are investing significant amounts in gathering data,” say Rao and another principal at PwC, Oliver Halter. But perhaps not enough to integrate, merge, and analyze it. Thirty-two percent of organizations have invested more than $1 million (about Rs 5.8 crore) in gathering, storing, and retrieving internal data, but only 26 percent have invested more than $1 million (about Rs 5.8 crore) in analysis of internal data. Rao and Halter say respondents from the financial services, insurance and healthcare industries appear to be investing the most in data integration, and one-third of top performers likewise are investing more than $1 million (about Rs 5.8 crore) in integrating third-party data. Organizations may be hoarding data without analyzing it because IT and the business are locked into old ways of
Companies often overlook their existing talent: People in marketing analysis, actuarial groups, and pricing/product development.They can serve as a great starting point for talent to translate data into insight. whose companies are in the top quartile for revenue, profitability, and innovation. Those organizations lead the pack in terms of plans to invest more in data visualization in 2013. “The kind of visualization that most people are moving toward is having dashboards of information where you can zoom in or zoom out—easily digestible to the business user,” says Rao. “It’s more hindsight analysis, basically backward looking. Most organizations are getting that. But now that we understand what happened or did not happen based 82
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working with data. “The traditional model of how business and IT work together traditionally no longer works in this field,” says Halter. “Business and IT always have had difficulties talking to each other. Traditionally, business creates requirements and IT executes. In the world of exploring data, that doesn’t work so well anymore. The knee-jerk reaction of IT is, “We’re going to collect data and manage it, and you guys figure out what to do with that.”
Of Indian CIOs say big data does not feature in their technology roadmap currently. SOURCE: CIO RESEARCH
But the sophisticated analysis required to glean meaning from big data is often beyond business users.
They’re Facing a Talent Gap And that leads to the barrier: Talent gap. As Rao and Halter note, it’s no secret that companies often lack talent in the skills necessary to interpret big data. Only 44 percent of PwC’s survey respondents said they have a sufficient pipeline of talent to undertake deep analysis of data, though top performers were more likely to feel they have a sufficient talent pipeline. But Rao and Halter say that companies often overlook their existing talent: Individuals in marketing analysis, actuarial groups, and pricing/product development. These individuals can serve as a great starting point for talent to translate data into insight. “Organizations that have been successful early have created new organizational models,” Halter says. “They’ve created centers of excellence where business and IT come together. I have worked with clients where we literally created entirely new structures on the side of the IT organization. The teams have to be much more nimble, much more agile.” Rao adds, “You need someone who understands the business, can translate the business from a problem into a solution. They have to understand enough about analytics to know that this type of
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problem requires that type of solution or analytics technique.”
Struggling with Insufficient Systems
Thor Olavsrud writes about IT security, big data, and open source technologies. Send feedback on this feature to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Smart Shopping Lists APPS | Wal-Mart plans to use big data related to a customer’s usual shopping to automatically create shopping lists for them on its mobile app. That’s one of the tools the world’s largest retailer plans to use to improve the in-store shopping experience as it looks to mobile-influenced purchases outpacing e-commerce sales, informs Gibu Thomas, Wal-Mart’s global head of mobile. “The future of retailing is the history of retailing, of a personalized interactive experience for every customer delivered through a smartphone,” Thomas says. Independent studies of the US market say that in-store buying influenced by mobile use was on track to be about twice as big as e-commerce sales by 2016. Mobile already drives about one-third of the traffic to Walmart.com, spiking to more than 40 percent during the holiday season late last year, reveals Thomas. The store’s smartphone app also boosts buying: Customers who have the app make more trips to Wal-Mart and spend as much as 40 percent more there, he states. A majority of WalMart’s customers have smartphones. The app already includes a shopping-list function, which can tell customers where to find their products in the store, and in the future, it may give them relevant digital coupons they can redeem through the phone. Wal-Mart is also testing a system called “Scan and Go,” with which shoppers can scan each of their purchases with the Wal-Mart app and then scan their phone at a self-checkout register to pay, Thomas says. But through analyzing what customers usually buy, the company now thinks it can automatically compile a list that will come up whenever the shopper opens up the app. It’s designed to anticipate what the customer will need. “The best shopping list is the one you don’t have to create, so that’s the one we’re working on,” Thomas concludes.
— By Stephen Lawson
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IMAGE BY MAST ERF IL E
The fourth big data barrier is existing systems. Rao and Halter note that big data demands increased computing power to rapidly gather, store, and analyze massive volumes of data. But many organizations doubt their ability to do so with their current systems. Even top performers mostly aligned with the pack with regard to confidence in their processing power. But Rao and Halter say they believe that organizations often struggle with this issue because they’re looking at the entirety of the data available to them rather than focusing on a particular problem. “When companies don’t have a hypothesis or problem they want to solve, they face a big data overload,” Rao says. “There’s all this information out there and they don’t know what to do with it. If you approach it from a perspective of a particular problem like, ‘I’m trying to grow a market with this specific segment,’ it becomes much clearer. Most organizations are just overwhelmed with all the information available rather than focusing just on the problem that has to be solved.” That’s also the best way to get a rapid return on investment to a big data problem, Rao says. Halter adds that there is one thing that the companies most successful in leveraging big data have in common. He says, “All of them out there ahead of the curve have a very senior executive that for whatever reason saw the potential early and just rammed it through the organization.” “I think big data is becoming more and more an umbrella message,” he adds. “It’s not just big data, it’s about data everywhere. It’s how to use data big and small to get ahead of the curve. There’s no way out of it. It’s not just large files and Hadoop; it’s really about changing your culture to a more analytical culture.” CIO
CIO100 AWARDS THE GRANDEST RECOGNITION CIO magazine has a long and proud tradition of honoring leading companies for business and technology leadership, and innovations through its premiere award program—CIO100. Now in its 26th year in the USA, it is globally acknowledged as the mark of excellence in enterprise IT. Over the last seven years, CIO100 has grown to represent the recognition most coveted by IT leaders in India. The CIO100 Special Awards, conferred on the opening night of the two-night celebrations, turns the spotlight on exceptional contributions from among the winners with a specific area of specialization or theme. The 7th edition of the CIO100 Awards will be hosted in Pune. A winners only platform, CIO100 witnesses a stellar assembly of the country’s finest CIOs as they congregate for the ultimate glory—the CIO100 Awards.
CIO100 SYMPOSIUM POWERING THOUGHT LEADERSHIP The CIO100 Symposium is where thought mavens and recognized leaders in the CIO community get together to create a powerful platform for sharing insights. A blend of formal sessions by international subject matter experts and group discussions by industry leaders make the symposium an effective knowledge-sharing platform. The CIO100 Symposium builds a neutral and thought-provoking agenda. Delivered by some of the worldâ€™s leading authorities on business, technology or leadership, the content of the symposium inspires change and action. This year, the CIO100 Symposium will feature an array of international speakers who will address the gathering and turn the spotlight on some of the most critical issues that CIOs face today.
MAKE THE MOST OF IT!
THE CIO 100 FRATERNITY A POWERFUL NETWORKING PLATFORM CIO100 is restricted to only the honorees, making it the most exclusive event of its kind. The platform is designed to facilitate conversations and networking on the sidelines that allow the attendees to exchange notes with peers and let their hair down. From musical evenings and roundtable discussions, to contests and incentives, the agenda at CIO100 has been tailored to allow attendees a great time fraternizing with peers and industry leaders.
Second Edition: June 2013
The CIO Leadership Agenda is a program designed to help CIOs reinforce their understanding of the fundamental link between IT and the overall functions of the organization. In its second edition, more than 30 CIOs had an opportunity to learn, network and grow.
Event Report Presented By IDG Events
THE NEW BUSINESS
LEADER The second edition of CIO Leadership Agenda held in June helped CIOs understand how to lead and not just manage business goals, reinstate the fundamentals of their environment what they do, and what they can do, hear from peers on how IT helped to build and create a vision for the organization’s success, and also discover best practices in building and nurturing a high-performing team among others. By Gopal Kishore
he increasing role and impact of technology on businesses and business functions in recent times and the fact that IT is at the heart of every significant business process and is crucial to innovation and enterprise success, is largely responsible for the evolving role of the CIO. In its second edition, The CIO Leadership Agenda engaged a select CIO audience in its power packed two-day program to be held. The event experience showcased leadership strategies that helped IT leaders to gain competitive advantage in today’s leading Indian companies.
Hard Sell Your Ideas As leaders, most CIOs’ successes depend largely on getting people to buy into their ideas and vision. But more often than not, people don’t buy ideas by weighing between the right and wrong. The decision is almost always taken emotionally. And, there lies the catch, because facts can’t be manipulated, emotions can be. Arun Gupta, CIO at Cipla Industries spoke to IT Leaders at the second edition of CIO Leadership Agenda on how they can begin finding support from their peers and
management who currently don’t share their enthusiasm for new initiatives. “CIOs need to stop selling their ideas,” he said. “A more viable approach is to begin asking the right questions. On introspection, many of us will see that we usually talk about our projects and our solutions. Business naturally doesn’t see any value in our projects,” he added.
CIOs need to stop selling their ideas. A more viable approach is to start asking the right questions. Arun Gupta, CIO at Cipla Industries Watch full video on: www.cioleadershipagenda.com
Watch full video on: www.cioleadershipagenda.com
For an organization to become an ubiquitous enterprise, the focus systems and devices with an ‘Always On’ connectivity. TK Padmanabha, CTO, Wipro Technologies
Why then do CIOs sell projects? The hypothesis about being proactive and partner to the business has something to do with it. But, Gupta suggested CIOs steer away from the practice. “I believe that situation belongs to the past as it ends up in a situation where the wooing is all left to IT, and all business does is play the role of a reluctant partner. Unless there is a connect on both sides and endorsement from senior management, the CIO begins to appear desperate while others wonder why. So, stop selling and start collaborating. Proceed only if you find reciprocal acknowledgement of need,” he emphasized. To sum up, Gupta quoted Peter Drucker, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” But when a CIO identifies the real pain behind business’ processes, he is already on the right track. “All that matters then is you communicate your thoughts effectively. Paint the right picture with your words and do it in a way others can relate to, and avoid technical jargon at all costs,” he said.
Innovating with Technology While Innovation in the enterprise has been coming from various hues, it has now shifted from the core to the edge of the enterprise. TK Padmanabha - CTO, Wipro Technologies, spoke about how innovation is being driven by the rise of trends like analytics, mobility, cloud as-a-service, even as the future will see newer technologies such as machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and natural user interface (NUI) fast becoming mainstream. In the second edition of CIO Leadership Agenda, Padmanabha highlighted several innovation themes at Wipro, the top three challenges faced by business today and the business value of big data. According to Padmanabha, Wipro has taken an innovative approach to high volume- low cost data storage, large scale data processing, intelligence augmentation and contextual data and visualization, which is driving data scale and intelligence augmentation. “For an organization to become an ubiquitous enterprise, the focus should be on scalable systems and hyper
connected devices with an ‘Always On’ connectivity.” he said. With the physical and digital world intersecting to drive digital consumerism for an immersive experience, and data monitoring, process optimization and sensor driven decision analysis creating smart systems, technology is certainly taking innovation to new heights, he added. Being able to cope with uncertainty, constant pressure to innovate and handling ever increasing complexity are the top three business challenges that enterprises need to cope with today, Padmanabha pointed. “In order to overcome these challenges, companies should look at unlocking the business value of big data, which will help cope with uncertainty, reduce complexity and increase innovation in the enterprise,” he said. For instance, the retail industry uses in-store customer traffic patterns through security video footage or through RFID tags on carts while banks and insurance companies are using predictive analysis to prevent fraud and cybercrime. In fact, governments of several countries use big data analytics to predict earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks and crimes, he highlighted.
Improving idea velocity Minor innovations make up 85 to 90 percent of companies’ development portfolios, on average, while most innovations in enterprises happen by chance and they rarely generate the growth companies seek. Therefore, increasing the idea velocity and getting those ideas implemented is the key to increase innovation, says Rishikesha Krishnan, Professor of Corporate Strategy and Policy at IIM-Bangalore and co-author of ‘8 Steps to Innovation: Going from Jugaad to Excellence’ a “how-to” guide for innovation leaders undertaking this journey. Two of the most important aspects of innovation and improving idea velocity, according to Professor Krishnan, are selecting and pitching ideas successfully. To pitch an idea successfully, he suggested following the three golden principles of Curiosity before content which gets people interested, options before solution which increases credibility and making the idea concrete by providing a demo.
Two of the most important aspects of innovation and improving idea velocity are selecting and pitching ideas successfully. Rishikesha Krishnan, Professor of Corporate Strategy and Policy at IIM-Bangalore Watch full video on: www.cioleadershipagenda.com
Watch full video on: www.cioleadershipagenda.com
helps accelerate deployment of cloud applications tailored to each business,” she said. “PureData on the other hand helps meet current Big Data challenges, fast and easy.” CIOs will need to begin maximizing their investments and deliver faster time to value for cloud deployments. IBM PureSystems can help achieve quicker insights into business information from their SAP applications, she said.
Current IT needs revolve around accelerating new apps, improving IT efficiency and simplifying cloud infrastructure.
Redefining History Monica Aggarwal,
Director at India Systems and Technology Lab, IBM
However, nothing works like getting out there and implementing these principles. So, CIOs got an opportunity to apply these three principles to design a pitch for their ideas and came up with some innovative suggestions. Pitching an idea is just half the journey, and many ideas get stuck at the drawing board, and are under reviews for months, because the business impact is not clear. To increase the idea velocity, Professor Krishnan recommended reviewing ideas by walking around, and asking if the idea is real, can we win, and if is It worth doing. Professor Krishnan highlighted these principles with several examples which included Steve Jobs introducing the iPod, and Starbucks using an ideas portal to generate, review and implement ideas from its millions of users.
Changing the Economics and Experience of IT Technology today, more than ever, is the leading force impacting business. It has brought in new systems of engagement and is driving new requirements. Monica Aggarwal, Director at India Systems and Technology Lab, IBM spoke to CIOs on how IBM’s expert integrated systems called IBM Pure Systems have fundamentally change the economics and experience of IT. Aggarwal said that only 1 out of 5 enterprises globally have highly efficient IT infrastructures that can withstand change in the current marketplace. 34 percent of new IT projects are deployed late today and 68 percent of IT operating costs this year is only spent on management and administration. “Most of our current IT needs revolve around three things namely, accelerating new apps, improving IT efficiency and simplifying cloud infrastructure, and IBM Pure Systems helps you get there,” she said. “PureSystems simplifies each phase of the systems lifecycle by streamlining, accelerating, simplifying and integrating at the system level.” The IBM PureSystems family comprises of PureFlex for infrastructure level cloud services, Pure Application for the cloud application platform and PureData that delivers Big Data platform services. “While PureFlex aims at delivering cloud infrastructure faster at a lower cost, PureApplication
Finding solutions to pressing problems may not be easy when you are faced with a number of challenges, most importantly, truncated funding. This is the state of the Indian CIO today. However, all of us have lessons to learn from history and Vijay Ramachandran, Editor-in-Chief, IDG Media India, shared a few such stories with the CIOs to help them address issues of flexibility, agility and adaptability. Ramachandran started the session by showcasing a video wherein a crocodile’s hunting pattern was documented. He said, “When source of food becomes scarce, a crocodile becomes extremely adaptable.” Stressing on adaptability and its consequences, he painted a picture of the earth 65 million years ago and how a meteor destroyed the entire dinosaur population on the planet except crocodiles. Documented research suggests that the girth of a crocodile is determined by the water body in the surrounding habitat. Ramachandran equated this situation to efficiency of the enterprise and stated, “You starve yourself of resources and you become the small crocodile in the arena.” In 168BC, an army of Roman soldiers washed out the entire Macedonian army in a few hours. Romans didn’t have too many resources but were extremely manoeuvrable and could respond to the changes in the battle really fast. Similarly, CIOs are building robust systems and efficiencies into them. However, the problem arises when the external atmosphere is altered the responsiveness goes for a toss. “Flexibility will always beat rigidity and responsiveness is a better thing to build for than efficiencies,” said Ramachandran. The Katana, an extremely light-weight and most important flexible sword, gave the Japanese an edge over their
Flexibility will always beat rigidity and responsiveness is a better thing to build for than efficiencies. Vijay Ramachandran, Editor-in-Chief, IDG Media Watch full video on: www.cioleadershipagenda.com
Watch full video on: www.cioleadershipagenda.com
enemies in 14th century. Taking a page out of their books, Ramachnadran said, “Flexibility gives the organization an edge and combined with efficiency insulates the existing system and prevents it from breaking.” Ramachandran jumped to the 18th century, 1833 to be precise. He spoke about Frederick Tudor and his business of transporting ice by making long transatlantic voyages. The profit from this business for Tudor and his ice ship owners in today’s day and age could be re-calculated to billions of dollars. “Innovation has an expiry date. If we only innovate within the limited framework of today’s needs, we might not survive to benefit from tomorrow’s advances,” said Ramachandran. He moved on to stress the importance of speed. “Do not blow your time making prototypes all the time. Commission a prototype rapidly and move into production superfast. Speed is the key here.” Ramachandran made a mention of the shoe brand Keen and how Mahindra and Mahindra deployed touchscreen kiosks to explain the features of their newly launched XUV 500 to save time on training dealers for the same purpose.
Performance Feedback and Its Challenges Shampa Sarkar, trainer at MARG discussed on an important leadership challenge of managing difficult interactions with peers as well as juniors. According to her, CIOs largely find managing team member expectations very difficult. “Feedback is important to make performance improvements and help improve morale and engagement within a team. But many CIOs don’t give honest, constructive feedbacks in their organizations because of fear. Fear of losing relationships, fear of attrition and also, fear of an emotional reaction, especially retaliation,” she said. CIOs in the audience responded to Sarkar’s statement citing the negative notions that employees have regarding annual feedback sessions. “The problem is that on the receiving side, even employees who want to improve fear having to defend them or to agree to something they do not really believe,” Sarkar agreed. “Bullying, fear of confrontation and lack of preparation will not help you in this case.”
Feedback is important to make performance improvements and help improve morale and engagement within a team. Shampa Sarkar, Trainer at MARG Watch full video on: www.cioleadershipagenda.com
If you focus on IT (Inner Transformation) then IT (Information Technology) becomes less sterssful.
Anju Bhatia, Senior Trainer of APEX, The Art of Living
Sarkar also showcased HR-related case studies on the subject and asked CIOs to respond with win-win solutions for each problem. “As a manager, one looks at internal milestones apart from HR driven performance metrics. These milestone related interactions help ease much of the tension that prevail during the feedback session,” said Murali Krishna, SVP & Head-CCS at Infosys during the open-house discussion on one of the case studies. Sarkar agreed that it is very important for CIOs to bring in the discipline of having monthly or quarterly feedback sessions. She also suggested that CIOs be clear about the performance metrics. “Try to give a marginal performer a candid, constructive feedback to correct the deficiency but a solid performer needs developmental feedback to enhance his / her capabilities,” she said. She also asked CIOs to create a trustworthy environment for candid feedback to be possible. “When you make extra efforts to recognize contributions, respect individual personalities and focus your feedback on most important business results, feedback sessions will become a breeze,” she concluded.
Mind Matters Stress is one of the key factors which leads to burn out and reduces productivity. Anju Bhatia, senior trainer of APEX (Achieving Personal Excellence), a corporate initiative of The Art of Living, spoke to CIOs on importance of insights and focus on goals in an IT leaders’ live in a session while showcasing various ways to reduce stress. Educating CIOs on various methods to develop a sense of focus, Bhatia urged CIOs to adopt quick daily drills to de-stress. “Increased competition, inter-personal relationship problems or miscommunications can cause a lot of unrest in the mind. Apart from this the odd working hours, which lead to unhealthy lifestyle and food habits, take a toll on our body,” she said. She also said that healthy diet at timely intervals and adequate sleep can help IT leaders achieve more things more satisfactorily.
THE NEW RULES OF BEING A CIO CIOs at the Leadership Agenda discuss the changing role of the CIO and how they can align their IT with business. Most talks on business-IT alignment today revolve around two facts. First, IT has become more aligned to business today and second, IT is still not a strategic partner at the enterprise level. Something is wrong with this picture. CIO Magazine, along with Wipro, tried solving the puzzle by speaking to CIOs and look at what’s changed in the IT roadmaps at Indian enterprises today. “IT is still in some sectors viewed as a cost centre. However, IT is increasingly being viewed as a business consultant.” said Valerio Fernandes, CIO, Continental Automotive Components. But, Gopal Shukla, VP, Business Systems Group, Coco Cola had a different view. “We are custodians of processes but that doesn’t mean that we stand at a tipping point. I think, IT’s position depends mainly on how the CIO perceives himself,” he said. Highlighting recent studies, Vinay Bansal, GM and Business Head, Total Outsourcing, India and Middle East, at Wipro, said that while CIOs have begun to become
business strategists in addition to their technology role. The increasing availability of ready-to-use IT software solutions is changing the way CIOs look at the challenges they face today. “Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. This is when CIOs must begin asking questions on their own business IT alignment. Is sourcing elevating the role of a CIO? Yes and no. Only a CIO decides how much he wants to participate in business strategy. We, at Wipro, want to help CIOs to go ahead and engage in these strategic talks,” he said.
FLASH FORWARD Flash technology is rapidly deﬁning a new business landscape, where organisations can quickly gain competitive advantage by improving IT efﬁciencies. Reducing business interruptions without sacrificing performance or usable capacity is one of the major areas of focus for CIOs. Delegates at the CIO Leadership Agenda discussed how they can Boost IT efficiency and extract immediate value from investments. Many CIOs were of the opinion that unprecedented data growth is generating a lot of pressure on the IT infrastructure. According to Ramakrishnan S , CIO and CTO, TAFE realising macro efficiencies with green storage for data centres, designed for fast data access at low wattage has become critical. Traditional enterprises are grappling with the problem of legacy infrastructure. Mike Doran, Director – worldwide IBM storage solutions highlighted the challenges of accessing data that has been archived for about 30 years, and has seen multiple iterations of technology refresh. A solution for accelerating data access times is definitely flash storage. Sandeep Dutta, VP – storage and systems technology group, IBM, added, “Businesses are moving to all-flash systems
to boost critical application performance, gain efficiencies and strategically deploy resources.” The CIOs also discussed how it is important to find a causal link between responsive IT systems and increase in organization’s efficiency to draw the roadmap for the future could be beneficial for CIOs. Murali Krishna K, SVP and head-CCD, Infosys tried to weigh in on how finding the causal link helped his organization, “In our case, we have used the downtime to invest a lot in changing the culture within the IT and leveraged that downtime to change the behaviour of the user community,” he said.
Event Experience The programme helps us to prime ourselves to ask the right questions, and make the right decisions. I am excited about implementing the techniques that I learnt here. S Srinivasan, CIO, Sundaram Fasteners
My key take away from the CIO Leadership Agenda is how to get buy-in from the management for the projects. Anil Kumar Kaushik, GM - IS Services, Bharat Petroleum Corporation
We got to understand the challenges that the business is facing, and how to solve them using a technology solution. Harnath Babu, Vice President IT, Aviva Life Insurance
The program helps us to get a horizontal view of the business thanks to the speakers and interaction with our peers. Dhiren Savla, Global CIO, VFS Global Services
Being innovative is extremely critical for a company like ours, and there are several ideas from here, that I am hoping to implement. S Ramasamy, Executive Director-IS, Indian Oil Corporation
HEARD “Where is the Foot Spa?” “I work at a bank. I never faced any budget problems.” “Blow your trumpet!” “You used to work on magnetic spools? Wow! I am not that old.” “Get me some more chicken. Get him whatever the chicken ate.” “I only drink whisky, everything else is just plain water.” “Innovation has an expiry date.” “Play easy. It’s a game of pool, not hockey!” “History is a vast early warning system. So, go hit the history books.”
endlines DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY
* BY LAUREN BROUSELL
The vivid color images pouring through the windows of this New York City building are not like the neon signs of Times Square. These lights are from two giant, high-resolution video walls in the lobby of the headquarters of InterActiveCorp (IAC), a $2 billion (about Rs 11600 crore) Internet and media company. Stretching one-third the length of a football field, the screens display digital art or videos related to events held in the building. But until recently, the video walls consumed too much power and were expensive to maintain, says Vincent Luciani, CIO at IAC. So, the company replaced the walls with Prysm display technology that uses low-power, solid-state lasers. The 664 Prysm tiles consume 70 percent less power, require much less downtime for maintenance, and have 20 times the resolution of the previous technology. Luciani says that together the walls display more than 50 million pixels, and they’re brighter than ever before. “It’s really become a focal point of the lobby and the building. It lights up the west-side highway.”
J U LY 1 5 , 2 0 1 3 | REAL CIO WORLD
VOL/8 | ISSUE/09
PHOTO BY MASTERFILE
Great Wall of Video