Running IT like a business

More and more corporates re working to create separate companies out of their IT departments. Initially, it was thought to be just one of the companies big corporate houses create to manage their overall books and save some taxes, but eventually, the usefulness of this move is coming out loud and clear.

The early movers like 3i Infotech (IT wing of ICICI bank) and ITC Infotech (IT Company of ITC eventually ended up becoming a revenue generating companies with their parent companies just contributing to a small fraction of their revenue. This encouraged a few more who were not in IT arena before,  to take this step including big ones like Reliance Industries and .

Many CIOs, who aspired to be CEOs running their own companies did show the business case and made themselves the CEO of IT companies the parent organisations gifted them. Some were able to show success, some remained without much outside growth and for some, the companies remained in just the books.

After all, what is this all about. IT departments were traditionally treated as support functions with no direct measure of productivity like sales and production. Initially, almost all IT departments reported to the CFO as the key function using the IT systems were accounts and finance. However over last decade, everything changed. IT has become the essential part of organisational growth and key differentiator in the market. CIOs have become more powerful and ambitious. The CEOs too feel that measuring performance of their IT function would be best done by creating a separate profit centre where their IT departments have agreements with user departments and charge a fee for service. This just not stop here. IT departments who were earlier protected get subjected to harsh reality of market dynamics where they have to become increasing customer focussed and openly compete with other IT service providers.

It has been seen that this move creates higher accountability and success from the IT folks as compared to the traditional IT function which still exists as a support function of the companies. Going ahead, it is not unwise to think that CIOs would start managing IT like a business as a default and as a function only as an exception.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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1 Response

  1. Umesh Pandey says:

    Respected Sir,
    This is Umesh Pandey recalling memories of 20 years back. I serched you a lot , where ever I go I would peep to find you , but today was sucess full to find on facebook.
    My contact no. is 9369295521 , please post your contact no. I shall be calling you.
    You will believe me that I am carrying tears in my eyes now.
    Many Regards;

    Umesh Pandey

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