S Anantha Sayana, head- Corporate IT at Larsen & Toubro Ltd, has successfully cemented IT with business
In this chat with Pratima Harigunani from CyberMedia News, he helps us take a peek into the how and why.
CMN: Congratulations on winning the Champion award in the above Rs 1000 crore category. Could you tell what helped you in winning the CIOL-Dataquest Enterprise Connect award?
S Anantha Sayana: Well, we have done a whole host of things with IT. But the reason we succeeded is the way we put it all together. We made sure that there were no mindless solutions and so we achieved customer optimization, efficiency and standardization at all levels. We put some solutions for enterprise and some as niche solutions.
CMN: Why the forking out?
SAS: We did it separate because there are some common areas which hold pertinent across the organization and hence they call for enterprise solutions. But some processes are specific to a given business level with particular needs and demands, it is here that we put in the niche solutions.
CMN: If you were to pat IT for one remarkable change at L&T, what would you pick?
SAS: I strongly commend ITs role in the way it has changed the face of communication at the company. We have adopted many pieces, from informal email to intense use of web conferencing, meetings, Webcast, etc. Today IT is at a stage where we have achieved hundred per cent automation for every business process.
CMN: And what would IT graduate to next?
SAS: So far, we have attacked transaction processing with success. The next round would be to use IT in aiding decision-making and strategy through analytics. We are developing a process to identify those business areas, which have not been adequately supported by IT. Now that we have established the first round, now we will look for solutions for competitive advantage and productivity. We will also use IT to take the connectivity and communication part, that was till now strong on internal scope, to the outside world as well.
CMN: Do you see any CIO challenge for yourself?
SAS: For a company that is in the growth phase, the tough part is how does IT measure up to this pace and supports this growth.
CMN: As you look back, were there any mistakes you learnt from?
SAS: What I learnt mainly was one should not be flooded away in enthusiasm and bite more than one can chew. That means looking at every project more carefully before jumping into it. We are adopting a portfolio-based approach to all IT investments.
CMN: And what is your formula of ROI metric ?
SAS: We have put in a system of doing a business case for any new project that we take and this covers areas beyond the financial ROI (return On Investment). We check the portions of business that would actually be served by IT. My metric is not just numbers but the actual IT usage in as to how are actual users deploying IT in practice to the last helm.
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