• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

Should CIOs And CDOs Work In Silos Or Interdependently?

Prateek Pashine, President - Enterprise Operations, Tata Teleservices, speaks about the role of the CIOs and CDOs, and more

Photo Credit :


Prateek Pashine, President - Enterprise Operations, Tata Teleservices.

The role of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is constantly evolving. The Board expects CIO to move from a predominantly back-office operations to actively playing a role in business transformation.

Prateek Pashine, President - Enterprise Operations, Tata Teleservices, speaks about the role of the CIOs and CDOs, and more. Excerpts:

Please share your thoughts on the collaborative roles of CIOs and CDOs.
The role of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) has evolved from managing systems and networks for a business to leveraging technology to enable differentiators in customer connect, supply chain efficiencies and managing workforce. Having realised the potential that digital offers, companies across sectors are swiftly shifting gears towards making digital a core component of their business strategy.

The Board expects CIO to move from a predominantly back-office operations to actively playing a role in business transformation. Thus, CIOsare increasingly being mandated with responsibilities that impact business outcomes. Some companies have started appointing Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to digitally transform their business and augment the digital quotient and capabilities of the organisation.

CDOs leverage their business understanding with the possibilities that digital brings to transform business models, find disruptive ways to win in the market place, find newer, better and simpler ways to connect with customer, leverage technology to improve operations and manage always on the move and geographically spread workforce better.

But, should the CIOs and CDOs work in silos or interdependently? CIOs and CDOs need to work closely with each other, to craft and deliver the new way of doing business in this digital world.

With the kind of tech-enabled business disruptions happening worldwide, it is important for an organisation to have a shared vision on technology and business, and CIOs and CDOs can play critical roles in this endeavour. CIOs primarily providing IT expertise and CDOs equipped with business specific insights, both having distinct and relevant expertise, can deliver significant business outcomes.

How can businesses transform with the help of a CIO?
Today CIOs have a critical role to play in business transformation of an organisation. The ever changing business landscape require companies to break the silos of ‘technology functions’ and ‘business functions’ and work as an integrated function.

The CIOs today not just support but also lead business change. They provide high-level vision, as well as empowering and syndicating skills, to restructure IT to serve complex global business more effectively. In fact, a lot of companies worldwide are expanding the role of a CIO encompassing the role of a CDO for a seamless digital integration with business functions to drive transformation.

CIOs can transform the business in some of the following ways -

Back-office to boardroom: New age technologies are disrupting businesses like never before. Information technology which was once considered back office function, today pervades more top-line activities. It is, thus, imperative for enterprises to define and align their IT and digital strategy in-line with organisation’s overall business objectives and goals. CIOs should be a part of board-room discussions, must have a shared vision on technology and business.

Inter-departmental collaboration/interactions: Drive interactions and collaborations between IT departments and the business units, thereby increasing ITs acceptance by the business. To accomplish this, they need to connect increasingly with the CXOs and their business peers.

‘Wearing the customer hat’: In digital world, customer expereince will be biggest factor in deciding success of an enterprise. Thus, it’s important to understand customer - their needs, expectations, pain-points, etc. It helps CIOs, in collaboration with business units, in designing better products, services, setting effective engagement rules, etc.

What are some of your observations regarding digital adoption among the enterprises?
Digitally mature companies are well-placed to reap the benefits of being ahead of the curve and grow by leaps and bounds over those who are yet to start this journey. Enterprises have realized that going digital is the only option that they have to stay relevant and competitive in the contemporary business environment.

At the heart of this very development is the new age consumer who is always connected on the internet to make informed decisions and demands a very responsive and customized attention. Companies which are quick to adopt innovative technologies and move towards this growth curve will remain fittest to survive.  

In terms of digital adoption, large enterprises are ahead of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). While most SMEs are keen on adopting technology, lack of awareness and skill-sets holds them back. They are also unsure of which technology model to choose, since they have varied requirements in terms of scalability, flexibility, and costs.

The share of digital technology investment in India, which was merely 10 percent in 2014, will rise to 35 percent in 2020 and 60 percent in 2025, as per NASSCOM. With digital taking centrestage for product innovation, customer engagement and revenue generation, CMO-led tech spending is expected to outgrow CIO-led tech spending – according to 2016 CMO Survey of Gartner.

How is the TDBS helping SMEs to go the digital way?
Tata Docomo Business Services (TDBS) is effectively playing the role of a ‘Technology Catalyst’ by digitaly transforming companies, helping them chart their digital growth strategy. With continued innovation in our products and services, we have evolved from simply being ‘connectivity partner’ to being a holistic one-stop-shop ‘business solution partner’ providing overall Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) requirements of SMEs.

SME customers want solutions which are easy to deploy and are cost effective. We offer SMEs the widest portfolio of services which includes not only telecom services but Cloud, SaaS and other enterprise mobility solutions. TDBS is strongly focused on product innovation and has been offering many “firsts” to the industry and businesses alike. It was the first to offer cloud services to SME businesses across the country. The product portfolio is built to offer best fit solutions to SME customers across India.

It is our continuous endeavor to ensure that our customers can procure these services easily and more importantly, in a cost-effective manner. We have empowered our SME customers by developing solutions which can be configured on a pay-as-you-go model and are cloud based which means that they do not have to make upfront investments.

Through our vast network of channel partners, we reach out to millions of SME customers spread across the country. Irrespective of the size of the SME customer, we provide an ‘individualized’ account management experience through our sales and our ecosystem partners.

Creating awareness and educating enterprises about digital benefits is important for the industry to evolve and catch-up with the fast-growing economy and ever changing technology landscape. We educates customers on the whole concept of digitization. We are doing this through symposiums, forums, and webinars.

Every year, we conduct Do Big Symposiums - a thought leadership platform, where industry stalwarts from across business verticals convene to discuss how digital technologies are used to deliver compelling products and services, connect faster with customers and optimize costs.

Recently, we launched the Digital Advisory Council (DAC) - a panel of experts and industry stalwarts whose only agenda is to help SMEs craft a cogent digital and business strategy by working closely with the Board and leadership teams of SMEs. We had our first round of entries in March 2017, and are looking to continue this initiative in the coming years for the benefits of SMEs across the country.

What is TDBS’ strength in digital technology? Please highlight IoT /M2M/Cloud solutions.
Prateek Pashine: TDBS provides a full-fledged telecom infrastructure which enables digitisation and connectivity bundled with applications. By bundling connectivity solutions with the end application, TDBS endeavors to provide a one-stop-shop solution to customers in their attempt to go digital.

We offer the most comprehensive suite of solutions in the enterprise space and caters to every digital requirements of customer and their ecosystem. We work with partners to build custom solutions, but we take end-to-end ownership for the customers. We  also offer a stack of ready to deploy, cloud-based standard solutions to enable the customer to begin their digital journey in a quick and efficient manner.

We were the first to offer cloud based IOT services and SaaS solutions among others to enterprise customers across the country. We were the first telecom service provider to set up an IOT practice in the country, providing complex solutions to enterprise customers across the country.

At present, TDBS is offering IoT solutions in the areas of Fleet Management, Asset Tracking and Automated Meter Reading for Utilities.  We plan to offer solutions across more use-cases in this financial year.

Our digital offerings across following service categories are –
• Could & SaaS: Colocation, InstaCompute, Managed Hosting, PrepTest
• Collaboration: Conferencing, Document Management, International Bridging Services
• Connectivity: Data Solutions (ILL, MPLS etc), Managed Solutions (CDN), Voice Solutions (PRI, SIP etc)
• IoT: Asset Management, Fleet Management, Workforce Tracking, School Bus Tracking
• Customer Connect: Call Register Services, Hosted IVR, SMS Solutions, Toll Free Services, Digital Survey, Live Chat
• Security: Mobile Device Management, DDOS, vUTM.

Can you share examples of few customer partnerships, and how did they benefit from the solutions provided by TDBS?
Here are some names of customers that have benefitted from pratnership with TDBS for their ICT requirements –

• BYJU’s – a Bangalore based education start-up
• Dr. Bond – a Mumbai based healthcare start-up
• Mahila Sewa Bank – a Ahmedabad based cooperative bank
• OPG Power – a Chennai based power generation company
• Kalyan Jewellers – a Kochi based major jewellery retailer.

With the ICT solutions offered by TDBS, these companies have enhanced operational efficiency, improved customer engagement, achieved seamless and secure visibility and connectivity across the value-chain, cost reduction, and better RoI.

Tags assigned to this article:
CIO India Prateek Pashine tata teleservices TDBS