Atanu Pramanic, COO & VP (IT), RPSG Ventures Ltd (An RP-Sanjiv Goenka partnership), talks about the changing role of the CIO, the CDO, the future of We are ready post-Covid and of course new technologies like ChatGPT. Edited excerpts from a video interview.
Can you talk about how the CIO is changing?
We recognize that the role of the CIO is structured as a support role. Initially, the CIO was expected to provide laptops, desktops, and connectivity. Applications are slowly coming and then ERP is in the fold. After a while, maybe after 5-7, when digitization and digitalization ideas started, companies started to look at IT from a different point of view.
The “value addition” of the IT function within an organization has begun. From a support role to an enabling role, a business partner is probably what IT teams want to have in an organization (if they aren’t already there).
A digital business cannot be implemented with IT managing it, or some partners without the participation of the business and users. Digital business or digitalization is a concept that requires people, processes, technology to come together. That’s where the real value comes from. That’s what companies pay attention to. IT functions are the way to improve and retrain themselves to provide this value to the business.
What about the CDO and the CIO?
It’s a little easier. My friends in the company are CIO or CDO or CTO. But I believe in the end, one job.
When I passed out of college there was only the engineering department. Now if you are in the same university, in the technical engineering itself, they have introduced many specializations and they have all become professions: Like power engineering, printing engineering etc.
As with any technology-related company, they assign the CTO title. Where there is an orthodox organization that has the head of IT and CIO, and they are going to change in the new year, they will always give the name CIO. The digital native group would not consider giving it the correct name CDO. Somewhere in the middle comes CIDO.
But if you look at the skills and the development of the skills of human resources, it is not very different. Finally, they do a variety of things around, whether you call them CIO or CIDO or CDO or CTO. I think it’s a business choice.
There are companies that have the same CIO and CDO. There are organizations where the CIO performs the role of a CDO. There are companies that have a CDO with a CIO reporting to them. It’s just jargon used by a specific industry and has nothing to do with the actual work being done, which is the same thing.
What is the state of readiness and BCP post-Covid?
I’ll be honest here. We know what we know. The future is a percentage of making assumptions or predictions. Companies are at a point where they have created a variety of cost, process and skill evaluations. The last lever left with any company now is to do a technology ingestion or techceleration or you can call it digitalization.
Technologies are evolving. Taking an example, 7-8 years ago, when manufacturing industries in India started digitalization, some of the key technologies were not really available in India. We need to look at our fellow immigrants from Western countries. Today, thanks to the demand we have in the Indian business world, not every technology is available only in India, but there are expert partners who can support you in the implementation. This will go a long way because of the government’s demand, given to local private companies and given a way to move the world.
How are companies and CIOs looking at ChatGPT?
Look at the jargon that came about 10-15 years ago. In the early 2000s we had SOA and then BPM. For several years, they were very interested in the business. Then the cloud came in. Two or three years ago we had Web 3.0, Industry 4.0 & 5.0 and now Metaverse. Not all of these took the car seat. Not all of them are as successful as others.
Some things like IoT have passed and it is an economic phenomenon today. Blockchain was popularized 5 years ago. Today it has come down and kind of within the scope of each company can achieve. Drones are available for almost any use. But we took the time to understand these technologies, use cases and deploy them in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Similar to Metaverse, Web 3.0 and obviously ChatGPT. We need some more time. ChatGPT is a disruptive technology. Simply put, if Google has 20 answers you go through and take the best, ChatGPT gives you one answer, which is probably the best.
Now how much of a problem is that? How much of that is going to be a sale? Today we are testing ChatGPT. How to get involved in complex technical solutions and complex science and futuristic questions, only time will tell.
How much is business related in a marketing business? But it will definitely destroy other companies and OEMs. Some of them may go out of business.
Which of these new technologies will go ahead?
Internet 3.0. Metaverse. ChatGPT. Some of the companies are only complying for non-compliance with a valid case. Therefore, where is the real use of these advanced technologies, it must be considered and must be seen in the nature of the business in the short term. But these things will cause problems.
What advice do you have for new CIOs?
Number one, no short cuts. The key for a business CIO is to understand the business. Today, all technologies are available in Indian markets. There are enough players, enough partners, enough skilled resources that can support you with technology.
But if you don’t understand your own business and find the right use cases for a solution to be implemented, you won’t succeed. In most cases, there are technical implementation failures, 9 out of 10 cases due to lack of use, knowledge or acceptance.
Why is that? Choosing the wrong technology solution for the wrong use case can sometimes lead to uninformed decisions. When an intuitive decision is made, that person becomes an expert. But 9/10 of those decisions fail because of the reasons mentioned above. We got married while studying. You have to keep learning every day.
Are we ready for India’s techade?
India is in the right slot for economic boom and technology boom. For the first time in history, India’s scores are in our favour. Look at consumerism or FMCG wealth or technology, high numbers really make things stronger. If you look at the Atmanirbhar Bharat of the government, the media or the use of technology, many Indian figures (not in the economy), they are helping India. From that perspective, implementing a business solution is much easier. The next generation is keen to use technology to take India to the next level.
COO & VP (IT), RPSG Ventures Ltd