Leveraging Tech To Transform Business
The CIO with ‘don’t wait for perfection’ as his motto has made operations paperless
When Suresh Iyer is not adding value to the operations of Blue Star Limited as its Chief Information Officer (CIO), or reading thrillers for a pastime, he works on his terrace garden. It is perhaps this restless drive for action that has across the past six years made Iyer a champion of digital transformation at the leading manufacturer of air-conditioners, air coolers and water purifiers.
“As a CIO, my primary role is to find new ways of leveraging technology for business transformation and growth,” says Iyer. “My team and I orchestrate a number of transformational initiatives conducive to the company’s business strategies,” he adds. “Our goal,” he goes on to say, “is to eventually deliver forward-looking insights and deeper understanding of the company’s ecosystem to its core businesses through application of analytics and artificial intelligence.”
HOW HE DOES IT
The insights garnered through analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are then applied to enhance revenue, to reduce costs, for customer experience and for employee engagement and for improving and “identifying new business models and services,” says Iyer.
“It’s my responsibility to enable new technology or digital interventions that will help enhance Blue Star’s operations and products, achieve growth and ensure that the company stays ahead of competition,” he explains. To do that Iyer and his team select, design and implement best-in-class leading solutions for Blue Star’s present, as well as future needs.
“We are building a connected enterprise which is expected to allow Blue Star’s ecosystem of customers, dealers, suppliers and associates to interact with the company electronically and thereby do away with manual interventions,” says Iyer. He explains that the company’s business and services are turning more productive because of the process re-engineering and automation initiatives of his team.
“Whether it is new business models, new geographies, new entities, new products, or new regulations, the company’s systems and processes have been set up to deliver these incremental needs as rapidly and as seamlessly as possible. The digital infrastructure at Blue Star is scalable and flexible to accommodate all such scenarios,” says Iyer.
NO CHALLENGES, ONLY OPPORTUNITIES
Iyer has frequently assisted the CEO in mergers and acquisitions, geographic expansion and organic growth. “Digitalisation has resulted in enhanced flexibility for the employees, boosted productivity and simplified processes. The operations have become more integrated and connected,” says he. Many processes, Iyer says, had become system driven to such an extent that the operations were paperless. “The company has become more and more data-centric, and this data is now being utilised to understand what is happening, and derive new insights and levers,” he tells BW Businessworld.
Iyer cannot recall challenges during his tenure as CIO at Blue Star, but merely “opportunities and excitement”. Speaking of the key changes in his company during his tenure as CIO, he says, “Perhaps the most important decision was to first create a big picture of a digital company; we envisioned the company’s operations in a digital world and this guided and enabled us to understand the individual pixels that fitted into the overall digital fabric of the company.”
“This also served as a basis for many of our decisions and prioritisation,” Iyer says. The other strategy that worked for him was actually a motto: ‘don’t wait for perfection – try as early as possible, fail early but optimally’.