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CIO Review >> Magazine >> October - 2013 issue

Innovation and Technology go Hand-in-Hand

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Michigan, USA, based Syntel, Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNT), with a 16000 plus strong prescence in India, is a multinational provider of Information Technology (IT) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) solutions. Founded in 1980, the company has a market cap of `20500 crores.


Disruptive Technologies Facilitate Innovation

There are various disruptive technologies shaping the industry to deliver business innovation. Mobile and data collaboration tools and technologies are helping businesses to focus on enabling their employees, customers and other stakeholders. This helps them leverage their rising mobile lifestyle, empowers them to collaborate and provides them with contextual information on a near real-time basis. Technologies such as social media are providing enterprises with the opportunity to get deeper insights into customer behavior patterns and provide the framework to dynamically connect knowledge-sharing and content-creating capabilities between individuals.
Technologies such as Analytics and Big Data are helping organizations process structured and unstructured information, sourced from traditional legacy systems such as ERP, CRMs, and social media feeds, to create contextual engagement and personalized interactions that can drive businesses forward. This empowers them to break the barriers of limitations associated with traditional information architectures.
While social media, analytics/big data and mobility are technologies that are shaping the future, cloud computing becomes the key underlying base, enabling this business transformation by providing the elasticity and scale to drive business results. The advancements of all these technologies (coupled with the evolving way in which software applications are written using open standards based API's and agile methodologies) is significantly changing the way businesses will be run.

Disruption’s Challenges

Embracing these new disruptive technologies is a key challenge that a CIO needs to confront. It is noteworthy that while these are challenges, the tremendous opportunities that businesses can gain far outweigh the downside. Therefore, these challenges need to be converted to opportunities that can be exploited to deliver value.
Information Security: Clients need to access information at anytime, anywhere, and using any device. These needs should to be looked at from various angles—people, processes and technology (PPT). Working in tandem on delivering complex integrated technology solutions and upgrading processes to embrace these environmental changes can affect the set-up and cultural/behavioral changes needed in the workforce.
Technology Challenges and Solutions: Diverse media and geographical location specifications need technology solutions that can support diverse scenarios and ensure consistent end-user experience.
Process Challenges: Implementing processes that are in line with the organizational vision, and integrate seamlessly with the clients' security policies is another core challenge. We have to ensure perceived risks are managed stringently, while delivering business benefits. This requires constant interaction with people to create the change management required for effective implementation of these processes.

Hurdles in a CIOs Path

As a CIO it is a struggle to provide real-time and contextual information on end-user devices in a secured manner that is directed towards smart decision making on a real time basis. This is particularly complex in our industry, which is governed by diverse industry-specific laws and regulations, as well as diverse customer security policies. These policies differ in maturity levels and risk taking abilities.
The diversity in a client's risk perception also poses a challenge in evolving a reasonably uniform policy that can be implemented to ensure consistent end-user experience for all employees. This can be addressed with a focus on creating a baseline level of acceptable operating guidelines within which adoption is taken up. This baseline is dynamic and quickly changing, and hence the model needs to be very adaptable.

Innovating and Collaborating

Innovation and technology go hand-in-hand, and innovation is extremely important for driving business growth, either through top line growth or bottom line growth. Innovation can be as simple as just doing things in a better way, to reduce effort and enhance value.
At Syntel, the culture of innovation is driven by Idea Junction, a platform which allows employees to contribute their ideas for continuous improvement and excellence. These ideas are reviewed and if they are accepted, they are implemented and continuously monitored for the benefits that have accrued to measure the success of the idea.
My favorite gadget, the iPad is another example of innovation. It has become an integral part of my work and personal life. It helps me navigate through my personal and work life requirements seamlessly and allows me to travel light all the time.