Ashok Jade, CIO - Shalimar Paints


Ashok Jade,  CIO - Shalimar Paints

‘We are early adopters of many new emerging technologies’  

Commitment as a Tech Head  
Over a period of time, the role of a CIO has changed. The modern CIO has less of IT executive role but more of business executive role having a good expertise in technology. It does not mean that a CIO has to go away from technology. He must remain with technology that must be applied for business, according to me true digitalization which can create a new business model or a new revenue stream.

Experience Cell
Skill gap is one of the main challenges every CIO faces. In our case also we do address this issue periodically. According to me this challenge will continue as technology innovation is happening very fast.But at the same time the pool of skill people can’t be created at the same speed. Training and skill development has its own cycle time and it takes time.
As soon as a new technology is launched, skill availability will be bigger challenge however; as much as technology gets used widely and becomes matured, people skill will also get developed and the gap will be reduced. This cycle will continue for new technologies.
We have multiple strategies to handle this. First, we engage skilled and capable partners; second, we ensure that the partner has done couple of implementation of desired technology and had prior experience;third, being an SME, we can’t affordto spoil multiple dollars if project fails and so we wait to get some real success stories.
We ensure that we take benefits of new technologies being an early adopter but not with high risk where we lose higher costs. 

Key Priorities
We are already early adopters of Cloud, Mobility and Social Media. We are early adopters of technologies that benefit our industry. We have plans to invest in IoT to boost efficiency of our manufacturing units. We are also evaluating VR to connect to our customers and business influencers. 
We are also doing pilot of multiple AI solutions which we plan to use in CRM and employee engagements.

Adaptability to Organizational Changes
Technology change should not be stop business innovation and growth. Every CIO must ensure that IT Landscape and architecture they are building should be agile, integrated and flexible enough to implement any business model/system. It is not only limited to IT Infrastructure but is applicable for application landscape too. 
However, while doing so, a CIO should also ensure that required precautions are considered from a security point of view. It is obvious that managing security will be a challenge as much as you adopt the flexibility.

Investment Plans for FY 18-19
In 2017-18, we have achieved our agenda to a large extent. We were mainly focused on customer engagements, working capital, influencer management and employee engagements. We have witnessed increase in engagement level with our customers and trade. At the same time we have also seen increased productivity of employees.A couple of technology investments in supply chain gave us large benefits for working capital.



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