Extent of Technology Adoption Must be an Informed Decision

Mukund Prased, Director-Group HR, Business transformation & Group CIO ,Welspun Group
$3.5 billion worth Welspun Group is a conglomerate headquartered in Mumbai and has registered a CAGR of 30 percent over the last decade. The BSE listed group of companies has its presence in the business verticals of Pipes, Plates & Coils; Home Textiles; Steel; Infrastructure and Energy.
Every domain of the industry is today experiencing the impact of the disruptive technologies hitting the deck. The way IT is transforming the business processes can be seen for example in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) which has become popular, encouraging the big and small organizations to implement it. The high level of awareness among workforce and the objective oriented approach of enterprises are acting as initiators for such new technologies to be accepted. With the advent of these technologies, people can use their own system and work with the operating system and applications they are comfortable with. At the same time, these new technological adoptions are accompanied with security concerns and ensuring IT security has become a challenge for the CIOs. The organizations are finding it difficult to evade the probable repercussions of passing on confidential information to the employees. The way we use to define IT security is changing day by day but it is not a secret anymore.
Moving Selective Assets to the Cloud
Cloud computing is another technology bringing substantial overhaul to business processes however it is a phenomenon more promising for SMEs rather than the established Enterprises. Large product organizations can utilize the cloud only on building integrated solutions which are capable of customization. As every enterprise is unique in terms of the end result expected from implementations, it would demand a reasonable level of customization from solutions provided by vendors and this creates an opportunity for small enterprises to gain market share. Cloud has also come up as a good option for SMEs to optimize cost. It has enabled them to provide the quality of solutions which they would not have been able to render given the high initial capital investments required.
When it comes to the extent of adoption, the way forward for large organizations is to understand which aspects of the company’s assets can be moved to the cloud. They will have to look at a combination of public, private and hybrid cloud to decide on the extent of integration. Cloud has been a debatable topic and there are some risks involved. The legal aspects of cloud usage are still vague and as most of the service companies are small companies, the apprehensions of interruption or lack of continued service loom over the clients.
Another area which is witnessing considerable progress but needs a different approach to reach the next level is Supply Chain. In large organizations, starting a new product is a regular phenomenon. The product goes through a number of pre-test marketing and test marketing stages which makes the monitoring of new product development cycle very critical. In this area, some of the capacity can be internal while some can be external which means that outsourced capacity can be used for producing certain things and bringing it within the manufacturing unit for the final product at a final stage and assuring its quality control. The scope for development of supply chain management is also being multiplied by automation which is bringing opportunity for standardizing the processes. However, when it comes to progress improvement, the current supply chain management processes are sometimes error prone. They should be updated to take them to the development level from process level and thus enabling optimization.  
Overcoming the lack of Skilled Personnel
The biggest opportunity today lies in the unstructured data which can be in the form of customers, suppliers, employees or analytics. While there is a need to extract the relevant and meaningful data out of it, enterprises must look forward to knowledge management system within the organization which can keep structured data as well as unstructured data and simultaneously derive a way to analyze the unstructured data. While dealing with the deluge of data, the most evident challenge today is the lack of skilled personnel in this segment and it is high time for focusing on developing skills to manage unstructured data. There is a dearth of people who have expertise in data management and data analytics and the amount of support provided by the industry to the growth of these people will decide the future of unstructured data management.
In the times to come the key challenges for the CIOs will be getting involved into strategic processes, people management and identifying people who can contribute more to strategic skills. CIOs have struggled enough for business integration of IT and in most of the organizations, IT still remains a challenge. However, moving forward they have to take another initiative of challenging the employees with new types of jobs which they can acquire by getting involved into strategic decision making. This step will keep them interested and enthused to come up with new ideas and will also change the perspective of organization with respect to process improvement while playing an important role in development of workforce which is capable of taking the organization to a new level. (As told to Sudhakar Singh)