How to Lead Like Red Burns Pg 38 Unlocking Your - CIOLeader

cio &
Best of Breed
Next Horizons
Unlocking Your Firm’s
Innovation Potential Pg 10
How to Lead Like
Red Burns Pg 38
Desktops-as-aService Pg 52
T r a c k t e c h n o lo g y
B u i ld b usi n ess
Shape self
What CIOs Can Learn From US Govt. Shutdown | CIA Director Warns of �Cyber-Pearl Harbour’
Volume 02 | Issue 14
"I have always
leveraged IT
for business
Mukund Prasad
Director-Group HR, Business Transformation
& Group CIO, Welspun Group of companies
A 9.9 Media Publication
Volume 02
Issue 14
October 21 2013
yashvendra singh | [email protected]
To transform business,
a thorough study of the
three key business drivers
— people, process and
technology — is needed
n the year 1962, American
Airlines introduced its computer reservation system called
SABRE. In a decades’ time, the
solution transformed into much
more than just an inventorycontrol system. The technology
provided American Airlines the
base for tracking spare parts,
generating flight plans and
developing a host of decision
support systems for the top
management. Not only did this
prove to be a strong differentiator for American Airlines, the
system has since become a standard for airlines looking to meet
similar needs.
Today, no company would
want to lag behind in technology
deployment. The growing competition in the market is putting
immense pressure on enterprises to adopt new and evolving
technologies without any delay.
They are forced to keep pace
with the changing trends lest
they lose out to competition.
This change is also reflected
in the demands made by the top
management on the CIO. In
the past, all that the enterprises
wanted from the IT department
were reliable IT operations and a
steady and secure infrastructure.
Today, this qualifies for the mini-
editors pick
“I have leveraged IT
for business
In a career spanning over three
decades, Mukund Prasad has
successfully led many
business transformations
mum. The top management
in a corporate looks at the CIO
and his team to come up with
innovative ways and means of
leveraging technology that will
enable the company to grow and
differentiate from competition.
Taking a cue from this, enterprise technology decision-makers are coming up with creative
architectures, enabling access to
flexible environments for application development, and are
making available business data
in real time -- all this to provide
the much-needed competitive
advantage to businesses.
But is this all that is required
for transforming business?
Unfortunately, no. To ensure
the success of any transformation, a CIO would have to have
a thorough study of all the three
key business drivers – people,
process and technology. While a
CIO has a firm grip on technology, there could be chinks in his
armour when it comes to understanding the business. Mean-
while, business transformation
is possible only if one has a clear
understanding of each business
process within the corporate.
In this issue’s cover story, we
have profiled one such enterprise technology leader who
has been there done that. In
a career spanning more than
three decades, Mukund Prasad,
Director Group HR, Business
Transformation and Group CIO,
Welspun Group has worked
in several top enterprises in
varied sectors. In each of these
companies, Mukund has left an
indelible impression in the form
of business transformation by
leveraging technology.
We hope you are inspired by
his leadership journey, and will
look forward to your feedback.
October 21 2013
October 2013
Cover Story
16 | “I have always leveraged IT for
business tranformation” In his career
October 21 2013
Unlocking Your Firm’s
Innovation Potential Pg 10
How to Lead Like
Red Burns Pg 38
Desktops-as-aService Pg 52
Volume 02
Issue 14
October 21 2013
Volume 02 | Issue 14
Copyright, All rights reserved: Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from
Nine Dot Nine Interactive Pvt Ltd. is prohibited. Printed and published by Anuradha Das Mathur for Nine Dot
Nine Interactive Pvt Ltd, Bungalow No. 725, Sector - 1, Shirvane, Nerul, Navi Mumbai - 400706. Printed at
Tara Art Printers Pvt ltd. A-46-47, Sector-5, NOIDA (U.P.) 201301
Please Recycle
This Magazine
And Remove
Inserts Before
01 | Editorial
06 | Enterprise
52 | viewpoint
spanning over three decades,
Mukund Prasad, Director-Group HR,
Business Transformation & Group CIO,
Welspun Group, has successfully led many
business transformations
"I have always
leveraged IT
for business
A 9.9 Media Publication
Cover design by:
Anil T
Special leadership
section Page 26A to 37
27 | Top Down
Team management Atul
Nigam, Head-IT, Samsung
Data Systems India, says a
CIO should always motivate
team members to bring the
best out of them
35 | opinion
Major events of the
first Singapore Everest
Expedition in 1998 The
year 1996 was a more
hopeful year, with the team
succeeding on a number of
alpine summits
30 | Leading edge
Doing Well By Doing
Good: A Leader’s Guide
my story
28| Innovation should be a
regular affair
Rajesh Ramachandran,
President and CTO, Rolta India
Limited, shares his leadership
journey with Debashis Sarkar
of CIO&Leader
Addressing community
problems increasingly
requires cooperation among
the private, public, and notfor-profit sectors
The Elephant Catchers Key
lessons for breakthrough
October 21 2013
44 | “CFO can be a CIO’s greatest ally”
Jaspreet Singh, Associate Director, Ernst &
Young LLP, talks about various facets of IT
46| tech for
how the nsa
deploys malware
Once an attacker has
infected a victim, he
has full access to the
user’s machine
10 | Best of breed:
Unlocking your
firm’s innovation
potential After an
unrelenting focus
on cutting costs,
organisations must now
38 | Next Horizons:
how to lead like
red burns Here are
five leadership lessons
from the career of
the late Red Burns,
cofounder and leader of
NYU master’s program
October 21 2013
advertisers’ index
This index is provided as an additional
service.The publisher does not assume
any liabilities for errors or omissions.
Managing Director: Dr Pramath Raj Sinha
Printer & Publisher: Anuradha Das Mathur
Executive Editor: Yashvendra Singh
Consulting Editor: Atanu Kumar Das
Correspondent: Debashis Sarkar
Sr. Creative Director: Jayan K Narayanan
Sr. Art Director: Anil VK
Associate Art Director: Anil T
Sr. Visualisers: Manav Sachdev, Shokeen Saifi & Sristi Maurya
Visualiser: NV Baiju
Sr. Designers: Shigil Narayanan, Haridas Balan
& Manoj Kumar VP
Designers: Charu Dwivedi, Peterson PJ
Pradeep G Nair, Dinesh Devgan & Vikas Sharma
Consulting Sr. Art Director: Binesh Sreedharan
Designer: Rahul Babu
Chief Photographer: Subhojit Paul
Sr. Photographer: Jiten Gandhi
advisory Panel
Anil Garg, CIO, Dabur
David Briskman, CIO, Ranbaxy
Mani Mulki, VP-IT, ICICI Bank
Manish Gupta, Director, Enterprise Solutions AMEA, PepsiCo
India Foods & Beverages, PepsiCo
Raghu Raman, CEO, National Intelligence Grid, Govt. of India
S R Mallela, Former CTO, AFL
Santrupt Misra, Director, Aditya Birla Group
Sushil Prakash, Sr Consultant, NMEICT (National Mission on
Education through Information and Communication Technology)
Vijay Sethi, CIO, Hero MotoCorp
Vishal Salvi, CISO, HDFC Bank
Deepak B Phatak, Subharao M Nilekani Chair Professor and
Head, KReSIT, IIT - Bombay
Manish Pal, Deputy Vice President, Information Security Group
(ISG), HDFC Bank
Shiju George, Sr Manager (IT Infrastructure), Shoppers Stop
Farhan Khan, Associate Vice President – IT, Radico Khaitan
Berjes Eric Shroff, Senior Manager – IT, Tata Services
Sharat M Airani, Chief – IT (Systems & Security), Forbes Marshall
Ashish Khanna, Corporate Manager, IT Infrastructure, The
Oberoi Group
Sales & marketing
National Manager – Events and Special Projects:
Mahantesh Godi (+91 98804 36623)
National Sales Manager: Vinodh K (+91 97407 14817)
Assistant General Manager Sales (South):
Ashish Kumar Singh (+91 97407 61921)
Brand Manager: Jigyasa Kishore (+91 98107 70298)
Product Manager-CSO Forum: Astha Nagrath (+91 99020 93002)
Manager: Sharath Kumar (+91 84529 49090)
Assistant Manager: Rajat Ahluwalia (+91 98998 90049)
Assistant Brand Managers: Nupur Chauhan (+91 98713 12202)
Vinay Vashistha (+91 99102 34345)
Assistant Manager – Corporate Initiatives (Events):
Deepika Sharma
Associate – Corporate Initiatives (Events): Naveen Kumar
Production & Logistics
Sr. GM. Operations: Shivshankar M Hiremath
Manager Operations: Rakesh Upadhyay
Asst. Manager - Logistics: Vijay Menon
Executive Logistics: Nilesh Shiravadekar
Production Executive: Vilas Mhatre
Logistics: MP Singh & Mohd. Ansari
Published, Printed and Owned by Nine Dot Nine Interactive Pvt
Ltd. Published and printed on their behalf by Anuradha Das
Mathur. Published at Bungalow No. 725, Sector - 1, Shirvane,
Nerul, Navi Mumbai - 400706. Printed at Tara Art Printers Pvt Ltd.
A-46-47, Sector-5, NOIDA (U.P.) 201301
For any customer queries and assistance please contact
[email protected]
Predictions For
IT Cos For 2014
Pg 8
image by
story Inside
Healthcare Providers In India To
Spend $1 Bn in 2013 An increase of seven
percent over 2012
care providers in India will spend $1 billion US Dollars on IT products and services in 2013,
an increase of seven percent over 2012, according to
Gartner. This forecast includes spending by health
care providers (includes hospitals and hospital systems, as well as ambulatory service and physicians'
practices) on internal IT, hardware, software, external
IT services and telecommunications.
“IT services, which includes consulting, implementation, IT outsourcing and business process outsourcing, will be the largest overall spending category
through 2017 the forecast period within the health
care providers sector,” said Anurag Gupta, research
October 21 2013
director at Gartner. “IT services is expected to grow
6.9 percent in 2013 to reach $276 million USD in
2013, up from $258 million in 2012 – with the consulting segment growing by 12.4 percent.”
Internal services will achieve the highest growth
rate amongst the spending categories — forecast to
be 14.5 percent in 2013. Internal services refer to salaries and benefits paid to the information services staff
of an organisation. The information services staff
includes all company employees that plan, develop,
implement and maintain information systems. Software will achieve a growth rate of 11 percent in 2013
to reach $98 million in 2013.
Data Briefing
Will be the growth
of 3D printers in
Enterprise Round-up
They Ratan Tata
Said it
illustration BY peterson pj
In December 2012, about three weeks before he would
retire as the head of Tata Group, Tata made a startling
admission — he said the salt-to-software conglomerate
was unlikely to ever enter the airline business. The
reason that drove Tata to his decision was “destructive
VMware Unveils Enhanced
Cloud Solutions The cloud
solutions will simplify and automate
management of IT services
“Overseas, people go
bankrupt or companies go
bankrupt. Here they never
do, they continue to be sick
and still operate. Then they
are operating to kill you.”
—Ratan Tata,
Former Head,
Tata Group
VMware has announced new capabilities and enhancements across its portfolio of cloud management solutions to simplify and automate management of IT
services for multiple clouds and platforms. New product releases include VMware
vCloud Automation Center 6.0, VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite
5.8, VMware IT Business Management Suite, and VMware vCenter Log Insight
1.5. In addition, VMware will update the automation and management capabilities
of VMware vCloud Suite 5.5.
For IT to keep pace with business demands, stay relevant and deliver IT services
with agility, it must transition from being builders to brokers of IT services," said
Ramin Sayar, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Management,
VMware. "VMware cloud management solutions enable IT to deliver this agility
while standardizing and ensuring governance and control -- whether the goal is
to better manage a highly virtualized environment, build a vSphere-based private
cloud, extend to the hybrid cloud or broker services across many providers.
Quick Byte on Green IT
Spending on green IT and
sustainability initiatives in India is
expected to increase 17.6 percent to
reach $29.2 billion in 2013, from
$24.8 billion that was spent in 2012
October 21 2013
image BY
Enterprise Round-up
Predictions For IT Cos For 2014
Many industries will face intense
challenges in 2014 and beyond
Gartner has revealed its top industry
predictions for IT organisations and users
for 2014 and beyond. Most industries
are facing accelerating pressure for fundamental transformation, including embracing digitalization in order to survive and
stay competitive.
Gartner's annual Predicts research on
industry trends titled "Top Industries Predicts 2014: The Pressure for Fundamental
Transformation Continues to Accelerate"
features 12 strategic planning assumptions
that CIOs, senior business executives and
IT leaders should factor into their enterprise
planning and strategy-setting initiatives.
"Transformation remains a critically
important phenomenon across all industries. Many industries will face intense
challenges in 2014 and beyond, and will
have no choice but to radically change
their established business models," said
Kimberly Harris-Ferrante, vice president
Global Tracker
on Cloud
Fifty percent of
enterprises worldwide will
be using hybrid cloud by
October 21 2013
and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Last
year saw many industry decision-makers
focusing on adopting new technologies to
improve business operations by addressing
developments such as the Nexus of Forces,
the convergence of social, mobile, cloud and
information. Today, by contrast, leaders are
significantly shifting their business models
and processes.”
Harris-Ferrante said that this trend is driven in part by the challenges of consumer
empowerment and market commoditization, which in many ways are greater than
in the past, and are particularly difficult for
traditional enterprises to address. The need
to digitalise the business and be customercentric is also crucial, and requires new
approaches to information delivery, communication and transactions. Business
leaders and CIOs must carefully assess their
industry-specific strategic requirements,
including the demands of consumers and
business partners, to map out transformation plans based on new technology availability, consumer demographic/behavioral
changes and market conditions.
CIOs and other IT and business leaders should use Gartner's predictions and
recommendations to better understand the
forces that are changing their world and
develop strategies to address the requirements of this fast-changing business environment. Top industry predictions include:
By 2016, poor return on equity will drive
more than 60 percent of banks worldwide to
process the majority of their transactions in
the cloud.
By year-end 2017, at least seven of the
world's top 10 multichannel retailers will
use 3D printing technologies to generate
custom stock orders.
By 2017, more than 60 percent of government organisations with a CIO and a chief
digital officer will eliminate one of these
roles. By 2017, 40 percent of utilities with
smart metering solutions will use cloudbased big data analytics to address asset-,
commodity-, customer- or revenue-related
needs. By year-end 2015, inadequate ROI
will drive insurers to abandon 40 percent of
their current customer-facing mobile apps.
Full-genome sequencing will stimulate a
new market for medical data banks,
with market penetration exceeding three
percent by 2016.
Enterprise Round-up
illustration BY Peterson PJ
34% Use No
Protection at
Wi-Fi Hot Spots
Hooking up to the
network can carry
hidden risks
It's almost second nature now, whiling away a
few moments online using a Wi-Fi hot spot. But
hooking up to the network can carry hidden risks.
Despite this, more than a third of users take no
addition precautions when logging on to public
Wi-Fi, according to the Kaspersky Consumer
Security Risks survey conducted by B2B International and Kaspersky Lab in summer 2013.
Nowadays it’s easy to get online — in addition
to cellular networks and broadband cable communication networks, there is often have at least one
hotspot which can connect computers and mobile
devices to the Internet.
However, many of these hotspots skimp on protection for users — and many users are unaware
or unconcerned about the potential problems this
can cause. In our survey, 34 percent of users said
they took no special measures to protect online
activity using a hotspot, while 14 percent were
happy to bank or shop online using any network
that came to hand. Just 13 percent take the time to
check the encryption standard of any given access
point. Does extra caution make sense when using
public Wi-Fi, or is it all a worry too far?
It’s You, a Website and a Man in the Middle
The answer is YES. You never know what “that
guy with the laptop at the next table” might be
doing. Maybe, like you, he’s checking his email
or chatting with friends. But maybe he’s monitoring the Internet traffic of everyone around him
– including yours. A Man-in-the-Middle attack
makes this possible. Any Wi-Fi access point is a
window to the Internet for all the devices attached
to it. Every request from a device goes via an
access point, and only then reaches the sites that
users want to visit. Without any encryption of
communications between users and the access
point it’s a simple task for a cybercriminal to intercept all the data a user enters. That might include
data sent to a bank, or an online store. Moreover,
attacks like this are possible even if the hotspot is
password protected and a secure https-connection
between the required site and the user's browser
is established.
What data are cybercriminals interested in?
Anything they can use to make a profit – especially account logins and passwords for e-mail,
e-banking, e-payment and social networks.
Fact ticker
India Has Biggest Appetite for
Mobile Commerce It scores high
in using mobile for banking transactions
Consumers in India are leading
the demand for mobile commerce services, with 97 percent of
consumers asking for more mobile
interactions with banks, telcos,
retailers, utilities and other businesses. SAP AG has announced
the study findings for India which
indicates an impressive traction of
mobile commerce in the country
with 80per cent of the population making parallel usage of the
mobile phones other than just calls
and text messages.
The surging popularity of mobile
commerce in the country also
highlights the increase in the internet penetration with 63 percent of
consumers accessing the internet
on their mobile atleast once a day.
65 percent of the users feel mobile
is a convenient mode of transaction leading to a greater consumer
adoption in this segment. The
study found that India scores
high in using mobile for banking
transactions when compared to
other countries in the world. “The
dynamic nature of business as well
as the freedom to operate from
different parts of the world and at
odd times has created a need for
mobile commerce becoming mainstreamed,” said Neeraj Athalye,
Head - Sales , SAP Platform &
Technology Business at SAP.
anon has announced the
launch of it’s first ultralight
portable scanner imageFORUMLA P-201 scanner along with the
introduction of CaptureOnTouch,
a mobile application for easy
scanning on the go. The scanner
and application together will help
consumers to effectively scan
the documents in variety of file
formats like PDF, JPEG and so
forth. Users can further share the
scans through e-mail or archive
in other applications on a click.
Canon is mainly targeting
sales representatives of insurance companies who digitize
customer documents on-site.
Besides this demand for mobile
scanning is expected to rise
for frequent travelers, SOHO’s,
MSME/SMEs & doctors etc.
Scanning anytime, anywhere
of important documents with
P-201 is just a plug away.
“There are 2 million selling
agents for BFSI vertical. India
will modernize the last mile sales
transactions. The portable scanner will help in making this more
efficient,” said Dr. Alok Bharadwaj, Executive Vice President,
Canon India. P-201 is capable
of scanning variety of document
sizes and paper densities like
plain paper, postcard and business card. The scanner scans
at a speed of 7.5 seconds per
page with a 200 x 200 dpi result.
It has contact image sensor and
supports simplex scanning side.
October 21 2013
Best of
Features Inside
What CIOs Can Learn From
US Government Shutdown
Pg 12
Unlocking Your Firm’s
Innovation Potential
After an unrelenting focus on cutting costs,
organisations must now innovate
By Frank Wander
here is a dearth of top-line growth as the economy continues to bear down on traditional
corporate America. Years of cost cutting produced short-term financial gains in order to
satisfy Wall Street—often at the expense of the talent infrastructure. Today, the single largest loss in America is our waste of human capital. Consequently, companies now yearn
for innovation. Short-sighted “staff redesign” initiatives led to the elimination of highly
experienced workers with deep institutional knowledge, leaving behind a disengaged workforce
October 21 2013
illustration BY
What Executive Coaching
Can Teach CIOs Pg 14
m a n a g e m e n t | B EST OF B REED
with limited experience. As Steve Jobs
understood, deep experience underpins
“Creativity is just connecting things.
When you ask creative people how they did
something, they feel a little guilty because
they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a
while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesise
new things. And the reason they were able
to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their
experiences than other people.”
So, what now? Each corporation must take
its demoralised, disengaged and inexperienced workforce and unlock both incremental and breakthrough innovation; it must
awaken the full potential of both individuals
and teams. Nothing is more productive than
a small, tightly knit group of high-aptitude
professionals with deep institutional knowledge, operating in a culture conducive to
creativity. Yes, nothing! Traditional corporations have lost their innovation potential
because they now lack the necessary ingredients. Fortunately, the damage can be
reversed. Your organisation does not have
to find innovation to be elusive. Creative
outcomes are not the result of chance, but
of a thoughtfully designed talent infrastructure that delivers the desired results. If you
embrace the caring practices outlined in
this article, and are sensitive to the roles
that talent and culture play, you can position
yourself to outcompete. Making innovation
an organisational imperative is important,
but it is just step one. You must approach
this opportunity in a thoughtful, holistic
manner to continuously make progress.
Innovation is a product of mind and
emotion. It requires deeply experienced,
engaged and socially cohesive teams. Workers can be in an innovative state of mind, or
they can be mentally disengaged, producing
survival level output. It’s up to you and your
organisation. To achieve the former, talent
must be valued and embraced by management, nurtured so they have the required
institutional knowledge, and immersed in
an environment where prosocial behaviour
is both an expectation and the norm. By
removing the socially corrosive forces that
impair a firm’s cognitive infrastructure,
creativity can be unlocked, making large,
Unfortunately, the leadership
practices employed by
traditional corporations are toxic
to the cognitive and emotional
drivers of creative thought
untapped pools of innovation potential
available. Unfortunately, the leadership
practices employed by traditional corporations are toxic to the cognitive and emotional drivers of creative thought. By treating knowledge workers as interchangeable
parts, management reveals it is ignorant of
the cognitive and emotional underpinnings
of innovation. They destroy that which they
most crave. Culture is, in fact, a crucible in
which the social chemistry of your organisation crystallises into a positive and supportive environment or, in the case of many
large organisations, one that is negative and
poorly suited to creativity. It is the social
environment that drives mood, sentiment,
desire and, if designed right, unlocks innovation. In addition, innovation comes in different flavors. Everyone immediately thinks
“breakthrough,” but incremental innovation
is equally necessary. The breakthroughs
create new streams of revenue, and sustain
you over the long term, while incremental
innovation supports you by improving the
attractiveness and market share of existing
products and services. Both are needed to
remain healthy. Focusing on the breakthroughs by anointing a special group sends
a clear message to everyone else: “Innovation is not your job.” Why leave pools of talent untapped? An inclusive design is better.
Therefore, innovation is an outcome—
a byproduct of the culture you build and
the talent you nurture. Here is a list of 15
design fundamentals that will help you
unlock your organisation’s collective creativity and innovation:
Humans are creative by nature. Just watch
a group of children and this becomes immediately obvious. Creativity is an abundant
tool, even if it lies dormant in your organisation. As Abraham Maslow said, “But why
in God's name isn't everyone creative?
Where was the human potential lost? How
was it crippled? … We have got to abandon
that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle that anybody
created anything.”
That said, extraordinary creativity is a gift,
so hiring some talent with a creative and
innovative track record should be one of
your goals. They can work on breakthrough
innovation and strategy, or be seeded in
teams that need a boost.
Make innovation everyone’s job. If you
have a breakthrough innovation and strategy team, don’t treat them special. It’s just
one of many roles the company has to fill to
be successful. Everyone must be embraced
to be engaged. As Steve Jobs said, “Innovation comes from people meeting up in the
hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at
night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how
we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad
hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know
what other people think of his idea.” A creative mind is just too valuable to waste.
Mood and social climate are foundational. That’s because an innovative state of
mind is a byproduct of your environment.
Research has shown that an upbeat, positive
environment helps the creative juices flow.
It has also been proven that humor and fun
are great aids to creativity, and thus innovation, so encourage people to have fun. As
Albert Einstein said, “In my experience, the
best creative work is never done when one is
October 21 2013
B EST OF B REED | m a n a g e m e n t
unhappy.” You will get more creativity and a
lot more productivity, too. Everyone knows
we have an employee disengagement crisis.
Care about your workers and make sure
they know you have their back. How could
anyone be creative when they are focused
on survival? Create an organisational design
that tears down the walls that separate
people. Mix business and IT talent together.
Melding teams with different points of view
and thinking styles, a la Myers-Briggs, will
unleash creative abrasion, a well documented method of stimulating group creativity.
Offshoring is a tool, and like all tools it
must be used correctly. This model is the
exact opposite of what is required for innovation. Large teams of cheap, inexperienced
resources telegraph a clear message: people
don’t count. Please read my last CIO Insight
article, “Offshoring: Pathway to a Competitive Disadvantage,” to understand how vital
your decisions are in this area.
Stress and fear cause individuals to
engage in protective behaviours in order
to survive. This destroys innovation and
creativity because higher-order cognitive
reward them and openly praise
processes are cut off when the
their success.
limbic system, our threat senBuild an open environment,
sor, is stimulated.
where ideas are valued, not
Provide an environment that
dismissed. As Einstein said,
offers think time. Albert Ein“The important thing is to not
stein took long walks so that
will be the it
stop questioning.” If you don’t
he had time alone to think and
spending in india by
have a culture where people are
refine his theories. When you
the year 2014
comfortable to speak up, the
read about how breakthroughs
important questions will never
happened, examples of think
be asked. Social milieu drives
time appear consistently. It is
creativity. Great explosions of
a design decision you need to
creativity throughout history have come
make. Humans have abundant enthusiasm
in clusters, so people clearly feed on the
and creative energy when they are doing
knowledge and passion of others. The more
what they love. Let people have a say in their
creative your teams, the greater the likelinext assignment. Don’t let managers hang
hood it will be expressed. Build a blame-free
on to talent like they are prisoners.
culture. Innovation is often about trying and
Nurture deep and intimate institutional
failing. If failure becomes blame, then you
experience amongst your staff. This drives
have an innovation short-circuit.
breakthroughs because it provides a large
number of threads of knowledge which can
— Frank Wander, a former CIO, is founder
be woven together to unlock innovation.
and CEO of the IT Excellence Institute, and
Conversely, superficial institutional experiauthor of Transforming IT Culture
ence is like a threadbare fabric that is most
— The article was first published in
likely to fail. If you are a leader, be a great
CIO Insight. For more stories please visit www.
audience. Encourage people to be creative,
What CIOs Can Learn
From US Govt Shutdown
There are plenty of business continuity and disaster recoveryrelated lessons to be learned from the shutdown
By Eric Thomas
mployees that expect federal paychecks, veterans that need
benefits, impoverished families that rely on government
programs, and federal CIOs that are mandated to meet the
IT demands of a diverse stakeholder community are all
adversely affected by the US government shutdown.
Of course, federal CIOs do not engender the most sympathy
from the public or garner the most press coverage when it comes to
the government shuttering many services. In fact, they might not
receive any public sympathy and I have yet to see any mention of
the plight of federal CIOs on CNN. But that is all the more reason
they, and their staff, must be aptly prepared. The following is a list of
October 21 2013
seven things each federal CIO should understand about the government shutdown. Of course, many of these items are applicable to
any CIO or IT leader who has to deal with business continuity, disaster recovery and other unexpected crisis situations
Know your most critical investments and services. When funding
is cut back, do you know which investments are the most important? Do you have a prioritized list of critical services that can’t be
interrupted? Hopefully, you have adopted a portfolio management
process that will allow you to quickly create a list of must-have services.
Understand the nitty-gritty of your contracts. Will your contrac-
m a n a g e m e n t | B EST OF B REED
tors be allowed to work off-site? If so, does the contractor charge a
price premium for that flexibility? During a suspended contract,
do you need to worry that key human resources will be reassigned
and institutional knowledge will be lost by the time the contract is
restarted? Also, how are your service-level agreements affected by
the suspension of selected IT services?
Identify your key resources. H. Giovanni Leusch-Carnaroli, former associate chief information officer at the US Department of
Transportation and current director at Grant Thornton, has mentioned that you must be careful about deciding which personnel
are essential and non-essential. For instance, your privacy officer
may be deemed non-essential. That’s a good decision — until
there is a privacy breach and thousands of e-mail accounts are
compromised. And don’t forget about your help-desk personnel.
Are they prepared for helping with a suddenly large number of
remote users?
Remember, shutdown preparation is costly. Figuring out what
happens to your contracts, which personnel are important, which
programs are essential and non-essential, all take time away
from the normal course of your operations. There is a significant
opportunity cost to getting adequately prepared, especially if you
haven’t planned for and experienced a government shutdown in
the past.
Know how your projects will be managed. You just invested in a
crucial cyber-security system that is not funded through congressional appropriations. Therefore, the work can continue as it is
not directly affected by the government shutdown. However, the
illustration BY
have many
that are far
reaching for
federal CIOs
independent oversight and project management for the cybersecurity system is supported by a contractor that was just deemed
non-essential. Who will be tracking cost and schedule variances?
Who will ensure that project milestones are being met?
Communicate early and often. During periods of high stress and
general confusion, it is always best to communicate early and
often. You don’t want speculation to proliferate in the absence of
facts. Disseminate your contingency plans and hold conference
calls and virtual meetings with your staff to answer questions and
address the concerns of staff members.
Learn from your trials and tribulations. Use the experience to
pinpoint the weaknesses in existing business processes and
update your practices accordingly. For example, did your staff feel
properly informed? Did you make the right investment priority decisions? Did you forget to include public perception or the
impact to other agencies when determining your priorities? And
for those project s that were considered essential or non-essential,
could you outsource any of those functions?
Government shutdowns have many effects that are far reaching
for federal CIOs. These tips should help you avert some of the most
damaging impacts.
— Eric Thomas is the founder and the managing partner at Vergys LLC,
which provides strategic management consulting services to federal, public
and private sector organisations.
— The article was first published in CIO Insight. For more stories please visit
October 21 2013
B EST OF B REED | m a n a g e m e n t
What Executive Coaching
Can Teach CIOs
CIOs need to care less about who they report to and more
on results, and focus on relationship management
By Larry Bonfante
October 21 2013
illustration BY
s many of you know, in addition
to being a practicing CIO, over the
past four years I have also served
as an executive coach to dozens of
very talented CIOs. I’ve been asked
to share some of what I’ve learned from
having the opportunity to coach these successful IT leaders. This month I will focus
on common themes that I deal with in my
coaching practice. Next month I will write
about what I’ve learned from this experience that has made me a better CIO.
As you can imagine, in working with
dozens of CIOs in various industries, in all
geographies, and in all sizes of companies,
I have worked to support my clients’ leadership development in many areas and have
helped them tackle numerous challenges.
However, there are some recurring themes
that are both worthy of mention and are
common across clients and industries. Here
are four of them.
The importance of actively marketing
the value of IT. Many CIOs view marketing as an unsavory exercise that they are
both uncomfortable with and unskilled
to perform. At best, they view their own
marketing efforts as something they will
do after they do their “day job.” I’m here
to tell you that articulating the value of
IT and how you are leveraging your company’s investments in the human and
financial resources required to drive IT
operations and projects is your “day job.”
If people don’t understand the value of
A lack of direct reporting structure is not an
excuse for failing to drive transformational value
what you do and how it impacts the bottom line in business terms that resonate
with them, your likelihood of getting
the support you need to be successful is
pretty slim.
Who you report to is less important than
the results you deliver. In my opinion,
the trade press has done CIOs a great disservice by leading many of us to believe
that for a CIO to be impactful, he or she
needs to report to the CEO. It’s not true.
Who you report to (for 10 of my 12 years
as a CIO, I have reported to the CFO),
is less important than the results you
deliver, the relationships you create, and
the influence you develop as a business
executive and a problem solver. A lack of
direct reporting structure is not an excuse
for failing to drive transformational value.
Many CIOs have a chip on their shoulders. Yes, we feel that we are held to a
higher level of scrutiny than other functional executives, that people don’t value
or appreciate what we do, and that they
don’t care to take the time to understand
the impact of our efforts.
— The article was first published in CIO Insight.
For more stories please visit
“I have always
IT for business
In his career spanning over three
decades, Mukund Prasad
has successfully led business
transformation through technology in
one company after another across
industry verticals.
By Yashvendra Singh
Design by Vikas Sharma | Portrait Painting by Anil T
October 21 2013
mukund prasad | COVER STORY
Mukund Prasad
Director-Group HR,
Business Transformation
& Group CIO at Welspun Group
An Exceptional
Thought Leader
in IT Industry
“Mukund has the
ability to analyse
organisational issues,
evolve enterprise
wide processes and
systems and IT-enable
any enterprise for
and profit ”
—Vijay Dogra
Sr. Vice President - Enterprise Business,
HCL Infosystems.
October 21 2013
n my career span till date, I have made decisions by taking
care of the best interests of business, people and the organisation,” says Mukund Prasad, Director-Group HR, Business
Transformation & Group CIO at Welspun Group. To a lot of
people, this may sound clichГ©d. For Mukund, however, these
are not just run-of-the-mill words. He has imbibed them into
his professional life, strictly adhering to them throughout
his career. This has enabled Mukund to successfully lead business transformation
through technology in one company after another across different industry verticals such as core manufacturing, steel, pharma, textile, and retail. He has also had
a brief stint in IT consultancy.
“Things which have helped me in transforming business are the ability to connect with people to inspire, excite and exhibit situational leadership. Also, learning
to derive satisfaction and happiness in other people’s performance helps in creating more leaders. I have found that any leader has to have his own style and the
best way is to be your own self as far as possible in all situations,” he believes.
An engineering graduate, with an MBA degree, Mukund has over 30 years of
rich experience in providing leadership in cross-functional areas, including grouplevel HR of a conglomerate, corporate strategy, and defining the business architecture framework and technology strategy for the same.
Mukund’s career path has seen him work in some of the best organisations in
the country including Tata Steel, PwC, HCL, Ispat (now JSW Steel), Ranbaxy and
now Welspun Group.
Life as a CIO
Mukund joined HCL Infosystems in 1998 and in 2001 took over the role of a CIO.
During his stint at HCL, he made major contributions to enhancing organisational
efficiency. Some of the initiatives that he took included the complete redesign
of the data centre for SAP R/3 ECC 6.0 and –business suite components, implementing an RFID solution for inbound and outbound logistics and
mukund prasad | COVER STORY
Photo by shekhar
Imaging by vikas sharma
Mukund Prasad, Director Group HR,
Business Transformation and Group
CIO, Welspun Group has been dubbed
as the “big picture leader.” It would bode
well for enterprises if there were more
people like him who can blend cultures to
create a unified global business world
developing a knowledge management portal for
the company for creating the repository and enhancing its utilisation.
“Mukund is an exceptional thought leader in Indian
IT industry -- a rare combination of strategic vision,
business wisdom and execution excellence. His deep
understanding of not just enterprise IT but also of
human resources, all-round business imperatives
and management trends makes him an outstanding
business leader. He has the ability to analyse multidimensional organizational issues, evolve enterprise
wide processes and systems and IT-enable any
large enterprise for performance and profit,”
Vijay Dogra, Sr. Vice President - Enterprise Business,
HCL Infosystems.
On Mukund’s biggest strength, Dogra says, “I think
Mukund’s deep relationship with his team inspires
the team to give that extra discretionary effort that
every leader strives for. I have found Mukund very
caring about his team even years after moving to different organisations. He is a good task master with
clear end-goal in mind. His strength lies in putting
together and retaining high performance teams.”
“Mukund also analytically cuts through distracting
stuff to focus on what matters most at the moment and
creating clear direction in an ambiguous
environment. Among other things, what sets him apart
is his enthusiasm in committing the organization to a
shared sense of ethics and values. On a leadership scale
of one to five, I would give him a big five,” he adds.
COVER STORY | mukund prasad
View from the top
Betska K-Burr
An International Executive Business and Life
Coach. K-Burr has clocked over 5,500
Client coaching hours and has been
coaching since 1995.
The High
with other roles
in business at a
level; Bringing
and process
with strategic
planning and
at a group level
ukund knows that every leader’s job is to
create more leaders. He is a cheerleader
for leadership excellence as he focuses his
entire thought processes on how to encourage leaders to reach higher in their competencies – to never be complacent. He is a serious
student of PCMK Coaching methodologies
from Coaching and Leadership International
Inc. Within six months he achieved his Certified
Power Coach designation which is a feat difficult to obtain in such a short time frame. He
flew to Canada to study the next level up and is
currently studying how to be a Certified Group
Power Coach. As the Top CIO for India, it would
appear to be clear that Mukund’s way forward
is to help other leaders achieve what he has
achieved through engaging in training to learn
exemplary coaching skills and on-the-ground
leadership tools which work. Mukund has
demonstrated that he is a strategic and global
thinker. He is a big picture Leader. We need
more people like him who can blend cultures
to create a unified global business world. He
feels comfortable working with people from any
country and from any level of existence.
October 21 2013
Mukund moved from HCL Infosystems to join
Ispat (Erstwhile Ispat Industries Limited) in 2004.
Here too, Mukund spear-headed the IT policy planning and implementation for improving the business
productivity. He implemented SAP R/3 ECC 6.0 and
the new dimension products of -- CRM,
SRM, SCM, BIW, HCM, BIW and the Enterprise portal at Ispat.
However, the migration to SAP did not end smoothly. There was a moment of crisis, and a real test of
Mukund’s leadership abilities.
“During the migration of SAP at Ispat Industries
from AIX to HP-UX, while restoring/converting,
we faced serious problems in network and black-out
increased from the estimated 2 hrs to 4.5 hrs. The
entire team was in panic. In such a critical situation,
Mukund took the command and managed all the
stake holders and the team very effectively,” recalls
Alok Kumar, Associate Vice President – IT, JSW
Steel Limited.
“Mukund is honest in true sense. His communication is very loud and clear and he possesses fantastic
self-confidence. Mukund’s highest levels of commitment, a very positive attitude and very effective and
efficient way of delegating authorities have left me
without doubt in saying that he has been the best boss
that I have ever worked with,” he says.
Agrees G Venkateshwaran, Associate Vice President
– IT, JSW Steel. “Mukund has an excellent knowledge
of business and industry in general, and steel in
particular. He is very good in networking and relationship building and is excellent in marketing his ideas
and influencing people. The way he was able to convince the management in either getting the approval
for IT budgets or getting rewards for the right and
deserving candidates clearly showed that he was a
true leader,” he avers.
Satyabir Bhattacharyya, Executive Director - Asia
Pacific, Strategic Decisions Group, and a former colleague of Mukund feels that the latter has the ability
to align technology extremely well with the business
and strategic imperatives and is very thorough in
execution planning and implementation.
“Mukund worked very closely with me as President
and CIO for more than 4 years in a large integrated
steel company, where I was holding the position of
DirectorВ Corporate Strategy and Business Excellence
(CS &BE) DivisionВ which included the company-wide
IT function apart from Corporate Strategy, Strategic
Sourcing, Corporate HR and Plant Automation.В He
was obviously key memberВ of the CMD's core group
that was driving the strategic change program in the
company being a key member ofВ my Division. As part
of the execution of the overall corporate vision and
3-5 year strategic plan, Mukund was responsible for
mukund prasad | COVER STORY
the IT transformation. He had prepared the IT vision
and the blueprint that was tightly aligned with the
corporate strategy.В He hadВ masterminded the complete execution of SAP and that included
implementation of several modules with extremely
aggressive deadlines. His execution team had more
than 50 people full-time and consisted of more than
500 key users. It must be noted here that the technical support for WAN set ups and management of
communication links between remote locations,
designing, implementing, and maintaining large
multi-location voice and data networks, VPNs, Video
Conferencing on ISDN, VOIP solutions and data centers were the other complex challenges for Mukund,”
Bhattacharyya says.
“He demonstrated very superior leadership skills
in effectively meeting the company's strategic goals,
he carried along his internal and external customers
extremely well, and was considered a great motivator,
coach and mentor by each of his team members. I am
aware that many of them miss him even today. He is
by far the best CIO I have worked with in my 35-year
long career,” he adds.
Constantly looking for new challenges, Mukund
moved from Ispat to the pharmaceutical industry.
He joined Ranbaxy in 2007and took over the global
responsibility of 29 countries for IT strategy planning
and implementation. While at Ranbaxy, Mukund was
instrumental in rolling out SAP, APO, BIW, KM.CRM
View from the top
Dr. Rajan Saxena
Vice Chancellor,
Narsee Monjee Institute of
Management Studies
solutions in all the 29 countries and their governance
for maximizing the benefits. He set up business
councils for India, Asia pacific, USA, Europe, South
Africa, Latin America for proper IT governance and
also initiated the consolidation of various applications
in various regions.
Mukund achieved excellent results in improving
the business processes of demand forecasting and
production planning and scheduling function with
the help of APO and improved the business processes
of supply chain, manufacturing and sales planning
resulting in increase in schedule adherence in the
plant and compliance.
Recalling his association with Mukund, Ajay
Bajaj, Head – IT, APAC & WEMEA, Ranbaxy, says,
“Mukund is a complete team player. He realizes the
importance of delegating authority to subordinates.
I remember my visit to Moscow with him for a business council meeting with the country head. I was in
for a pleasant surprise when Mukund made me give
the presentation, while he supported it entirely.”
Going down memory lane, Jayant Kapoor, General
Manager – Business solutions, Ranbaxy, says, “Mukund was able to instill confidence in the IT team and
show way to manage an outsourced operation inhouse at a much lower cost. This involved developing and managing the critical skills. It was a case of
paradigm shift for the team that was very successfully
handled by Mukund.”
Mukund joined Welspun Group in 2009. He continued to lead from the front and displayed highest
have known Mukund as my student in
the MBA program at XLRI, Jamshedpur
since 1981. What impressed me most
about Mukund was his skills to adapt to
different environments and jobs which
were not necessarily the one which he
originally started with. He started as an
engineer at Tata Steel. After doing his
Executive Masters in Management from
XLRI, he decided to move out from the
production department and explore
opportunities in marketing area, which
he did successfully when he joined at
FMCG firm as Brand Manager. In a short
span of time his planning, and execution capabilities and creative skills made
him a star performer in this industry. He
To outsource
IT at a group
level in the
To let go the
real action to
bring flexibility,
agility and
command and
also adapted quickly management styles
of a family firm. He showed that more
than technical skills it were interpersonal
skills that can make all a difference to
a successful professional irrespective
of the organisation and its work culture
or management style. Mukund moved
again to commodity business but now
increasingly in the IT space. Today, his
understanding of IT and ERP processes
far outsmart those of many other CIOs
with whom I have personally interacted.
However, he needs to prioritise activities
especially when it comes to his academic goals and professional goals, which
he pursues with passion for completing
his PhD.
October 21 2013
View from the top
Ajai Chowdhry
Former Chairman and CEO
HCL Infosystems Ltd.
The Low
IT is still
a support
function and
looks forward
to the business
head for his
nod at every
step. It is
a business
enabler but
craves for
ukund shows a lot of character and
credentials. He has a curious mind,
Interest in people, love and passion for the
work which he does and demonstrates the
pride of its ownership. He comes out with
a lot of energy and a can-do-attitude which
is critical in the sense of urgency towards
getting the job done.
He managed inequality of talent, personality and remuneration with harmony
in the team.
There are certain qualities in him that I
admire. He is a positive thinker and has
the ability to recognize the moment to
degree of leadership and business understanding in
his various initiatives.
As Anil M Nimbargi, Sr. Vice President – IT,
Welspun Group, says, “He displayed his keen sense
if understanding when we were strategising for the
Data Center Design and finalising the Technical
Architecture for the Welspun Group of Companies
worldwide. All the changes that were suggested during the design phase, eased out the future challenges
that we would have faced otherwise. Due to this,
implementation was smooth.”
Kedar Nath Bansal, Asst. Vice President – IT, Welspun
Group, echoes the sentiment when he says, “Mukund
has successfully architected the IT Strategy and Roadmap for the Welspun Group. His technical acumen
was clearly visible when the contract for IT Strategic
Outsourcing was getting finalised. Today while we are
executing the contract for the last one year, not a single
change request was required. And all this was finalised
18 months ago and is running successfully.”
According to Guna Nand, GM IT, Welspun Group,
“The capability to handle ambiguities and complexities
were demonstrated very effectively by him in a multicultural environment across geographies.”
The Future Road
While Mukund has been doing what is expected
from a CIO – align IT with business – but will that
be enough going forward?
“We have seen a massive change pertaining to
the Role of CIO.В In last few decades, the role of
the CIO has changed dramatically. New technology
innovations and more technology savvy end user/
business are also a major reason for the CIO to
October 21 2013
find common ground. He knows when
to speed up and when to take more
time. However, I feel his other qualities
of straightforwardness and being nonpolitical can at times prove to be his
shortcomings. Mukund’s leadership abilities came to the fore in several projects
he implemented at HCL. He kept the
team aligned on the business objectives
during the challenges of developing the
SAP Practice. He built credibility when he
brought cost efficiency by consolidating
the IT investments and brought automation focus on CRM and Supply chain.
change / learn regularly. Learning new technology,
business skills and leadership abilities are foremost
important now. In coming days, infrastructure
people will manage the vendor; helpdesk and enduser support will be more important due to rising
demands from the users; application development
will be more done in the outsourced model. Hence,
the CIO role will also evolve in business strategy
and owning more than technology,” he opines.
According to Mukund, the big challenges in
technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013-14
would be:
Deployment of Cloud in the enterprise. This
solution is emerging in an interesting way. Data
protection and security aspects are critical and it
is still not very clear that how cloud solution provider will handle this challenge effectively. Also
policies and law of land should require to
be taken care.
Business Analytics and Executive dashboards:
Business Intelligence and analytics need to scale
up to massive growth in the data sources. Mobile
BI is also required to be explored.
Deployment of Mobile solutions will also a major
challenge in 2013. How to provide a cost effective
mobile solution in heterogeneous environment.
BYOD implementation.
Business Transformation through supply
chain automation,
IT enabled Shared Services
Enterprise PMO
“In fact, making road map and implementation
initiations of all the above mentioned solutions are
my wish list for 2013-14,” he adds.
mukund prasad | COVER STORY
A Power Coach
A certified power coach, Mukund Prasad, DirectorGroup HR, Business Transformation & Group CIO,
Welspun Group, has gone beyond the realm of
technology to help others overcome their limitations and
achieve their goals
oday’s leaders are expected to be masters at
people development. Long gone are the days
when a leader could get by on his/her technical ability. Senior leaders around the globe
are being asked to step up to the plate and take the
time to learn and understand the intricacies of human
behaviour – to understand why people do and say
the things they do. They are being asked to learn coaching skills where they use clever questioning skills to
help their clients self-discover solutions to challenges
and goals.
To help others achieve their goals and overcome
their challenges in all areas of life and at the same time
amplify his own strengths and lead-strong with both
logic and heart, Mukund Prasad, Group CIO, Welspun
Group, decided to undergo training at Coaching and
Leadership International (CLI).
“Mukund knows that every leader has blind spots
in their subconscious mind which is the driver of our
actions. Therefore, he works diligently at encouraging those around him to receive coaching from him
or another CLI Power Coach to dig deep inside self, to
find the blind spots and get rid of them. ,” says Master
Coach and Co-President of CLI, Betska K-Burr.
“Knowing that the world is currently in a chaotic
space because global leaders made decisions primarily
with their logical mind, Mukund understands the value
of a leader becoming a whole-brain genius thinker
where s/he makes far better decisions using BOTH
logic (left brain) and heart (right brain). Thus, when
using PCMK’s variety of coaching methodologies, he is
able to help any leader achieve ultimate clarity on how
to achieve a goal or solve a problem,” she says.
Lauding CLI and its strong tangible benefits, Mukund says, “At CLI, the methodologies are so strong that
they help the person to remove the biggest boulder
from his shoulder through processing of all information within his left and right brain to create permanent
positive shifts at a cellular level. Betska is an awesome
Guru Coach who helps the client in solving his problems by guiding him through excellent methodologies
developed by her and has huge commitments to people
for their development of leadership abilities. Their
return of investment can range as high as 300 percent!
These unparalleled coaching and leadership tools bring
waves of success of executive tired of poor results from
training programs,”
CLI, based on Vancouver Island in western Canada,
began in 1991 as a coaching, consulting and training
company. The industry has known for years that
training on its own simply does not produce good
results. Roughly ten percent of participants literally
benefit greatly from training programs which means
that organizations are spending billions of dollars
world-wide on coaching and training programs which
yield a minuscule 10 percent ROI. Frustrated by this
waste of time and money and lack of tools to dramatically improve performance, CLI decided to go into
research mode.
Today, CLI is known for their development of the
Science of Mind-Kinetics training program entitled
Power Coaching with Mind-Kinetics (PCMK). This
science literally puts the whole brain into action. It
turns unconstructive thoughts, words and actions into
permanent positive ones. The results (calculated ROI)
from these unparalleled thinking tools are astounding.
According to Betska, “Mukund is a born teacher.
Leaders, I invite you to engage him to dramatically
raise your leadership competencies. Be prepared to
answer some tough questions. Be prepared to truly
look at yourself. Be prepared to tap into the genius
which is so rightly yours.”
By investing time and effort at CLI, Mukund is today
a Certified Power Coach. He now experiences the joy
and satisfaction of helping others overcome their limitations and achieve their goals.
Mukund Prasad
with Betska K-Burr,
Master Coach and
Co-President of CLI
October 21 2013
Mukund Prasad, Director-Group HR, Business
Transformation & Group CIO, Welspun Group
Run, Grow,
October 21 2013
Welspun Group became
the first Indian manufacturing
company to enter into an
IT strategic outsourcing tieup when it signed a ten
year contract (with periodic
contract review) with leading
IT solutions provider
O p e n S o u r c E | C O V ER S T O R Y
elspun wanted to leverage technology
to take a qualitative leap in the next
few years. "It was not at all about
centralising IT operations, but more
about using the amazing power of Information Technology as a tool to usher in business transformations
across different segments and sections of the business,” says Mukund Prasad, Group CIO, Welspun.
It was an outside-in approach for understanding and
integrating Business and Automation. Generally IT
outsourcing deals are meant to take care of IT operations (Infrastructure and Application) and their regular
day to day maintenance.
To assess the benefits of the optimisation of costs
along with the challenges of technology obsolescence, it
was decided to conduct an ISP study within the group
across the seven different Industry segments globally.
It was observed that there are too many things required
to be done for bringing about synchronisation between
the opportunities for standardizing the business processes and automating the same as far as possible.
The in-house resources were not adequate to
implement the various technology and business
transformation projects that were needed to meet the
business objectives of the group. After a lot of deliberation, the company decided to go for
strategic outsourcing.
The requirements of outsourcing were classified
into the area of Run, Grow and transform the businesses. The Run part was basically going to take care
of the day-to-day operations, maintenance of infrastructure and application and the basic hygiene factors which are required to be taken care of by Information Technology.
"By taking the outsourcing route, Welspun was
also looking for basic hygeine of its IT. It would have
resulted in Hardware / IT Asset Refresh, Statutory
Compliance / Licensing, Skill Inventory, Recruitment
and retention and IT policies update," says Mukund.
What and How
The basic plan under the overall project entailed SAP
re-implementations and roll outs. The company also
set up Intranet and Knowledge Management Portal,
and vendor and customer portals. Besides, Welspun
also went in for HRMS, Financial Consolidation and
Master Data Management (to reduce the number of
items and create product catalogue for sales). The
mailing solution was upgraded and the security systems enhanced. Also, the network was upgraded and
DR/BCP planning was done.
Within the next three years, the company would
move up to having a Governance Risk & Control
(GRC), Business Planning / Demand Planning,
Financial Planning and Retail Planning.
What is the business Impact created?
Partnership with a
global leader in IT
services . Robust
IT processes .
Streamline IT
Savings on current
spend , Risk
Mitigation on skills ,
Business continuity
SLA driven IT
IT support in global
locations in hands of
a global vendor who
has its operational
presence in each
Single window for
managing SLA;s
, Vendor and all
aspects of IT
Deliver Business
Value – Business & IT
Capex to Opex
– saving upfront
resources, Process
Models, Tools and
ITIL based Service
Delivery framework
to provide consistent
global user
Application &
According to Mukund it would have taken seven to
eight years to do all these at a group level with internal
resources and with the help of implementation partners. We just did not have that kind of time.
“We will no longer have to incur huge CAPEX on
IT operations, be it hardware or software and the
challenge of struggle to retain IT related talent, or
reorganizing teams to ensure that all ongoing projects
get adequate attention and sufficient skilled personnel
have now been shifted or are shared with our new IT
partner,” he said.
”This will enable us to deliver better business value,
especially since we have integrated SLA driven delivery
with a single window for managing all SLA’s and this
process based approach to IT would enhance the quality of service received from the vendor in comparison
to what would be delivered under a project based
approach,” Mukund said.
This also has an inherent element of change management involved which will have to be driven judiciously to reap benefits.
“Implementation of the ITSO has already begun with
the realignment of Welspun’s existing IT resources, and
the first few business projects are already under way.
The impact of the change will be seen immediately by
those employees directly involved in these new projects,
but it will not be long before the entire group begins to
reap the benefits as well,” addded Mukund.
support skills and
Support the business
growth – Both Ramp
up and Ramp down.
Business controls
and audits.
Defined roadmap to
move to a complete
shared services
Consistency of
Service Delivery –
SLA based
Robust Service
Desk and Desk side
High Availability of IT
What is Unique
about this?
Complete OPEX
Manpower transition
to the selected vendor
Comprehensive Scope
of work across the
Comprehensive Asset
Application and
Infrastructure trans
form and Upgrade
Already identified
future business growth
requirements is
Service Level
Agreement (SLA)
October 21 2013
“An ideal platform for business
leaders to share leadership
strategies and help business
Inc. India invites
all CEOs and
founder managers
to an exclusive
programme which
fosters knowledge
sharing in the
community and
your efforts to
build and take
your enterprise
to the next
level of growth
and business
Annual membership to Inc. India Leaders Forum will entitle you to the following benefits
Provides an opportunity
for chief executive officers
and owner managers
to engage with a �likeminded’ peer group.
Annual meeting to
set the agenda for the
community’s strategic
and most current issues.
The Forum’s summits
bring together a focused
audience and authoritative
speakers, in a highly
interactive format
A series of quarterly
meetings throughout the
year. Constructive debate,
diverse opinions and indepth discussions provide
a premier networking and
instructive forum
Access to the 9.9 Media
bouquet of magazines
for complimentary
advertising (Includes: Inc.
India, CTO, CIO&Leader,
CFO, IT Next, EDU & I2)
Access to our in-house
research reports on
issues of relevance to
high-growth companies.
Membership to Inc. India Leaders’ Forum is corporate but limited to Entrepreneurs, Directors and Chief Executive Officers
Please contact Rajat Gupta at [email protected] or call at 0120-4010 914
ial ct
ec se
Sp ship
“Only one man
in a thousand is
a leader of men
- the other 999
follow women”
— Groucho Marx
October 21 2013
CIO&LEADER This special section
on leadership has been designed keeping in
mind the evolving role of CIOs. The objective
is to provide an eclectic mix of leadership
articles and opinions from top consultants
and gurus as well as create a platform for peer
learning. Here is a brief description of each
sub-section that will give you an idea of what
to expect each month from CIO&Leader:
An opinion piece
on leadership penned
by leadership gurus.
Plus, an insightful
article from a leading
consulting firm
top down
The feature focusses on how
CIOs run IT organisations in their
company as if they were CEOs. It
will comment on whether IT should
have a separate P&L, expectation
management of different LoB heads,
HR policies within IT, operational
issues, etc. This section will provide
insights into the challenges of
putting a price on IT services,
issues of changing user mindset,
squeezing more value out of IT,
justifying RoI on IT, attracting and
retaining talent, and competing
against external vendors
MY story
The article/interview will track the leadership journey of
a CIO/CXO to the top. It will also provide insights into how
top leaders think about leadership
The one-page review of a
book on leadership
October 21 2013
Top Down
Atul Nigam
head-it, Samsung
Data Systems India
Management A
CIO should always
motivate the team
members to bring
the best out of them
I have always had the experience of working in a team
from the beginning of my career. For a CIO it is important to manage and motivate his team to bring the best
out of them. Over the years, I have had the opportunity
of leading various teams in diferent organisations.
Today, I work with a 175-member team that comprises
primarily of developers. They work for different divisions viz. mobile phones, consumer electronics, supply
chain mangement and others.
As I have learnt during my past endevours, it is very
important to ensure coordination among team members. This results in innovatation in the organisation.
Currently, at Samsung, we are working on a supply
chain application as we have to link various business
from different locations. I believe the life for a CIO has
become very difficult in today’s time and with consumerisation of IT things are getting more complex. In our
organisation though, we have not yet started BYOD and
we do not have any plans of introducing it in the immediate future. It is an international practice that BYOD should not be a part of the system and our India
office is no exception.
Another important thing for the CIO today is to be business-oriented and
always try to speak to different vertical heads to find out their requirements and
then meet these requirements.
This also means that a CIO should have excellent rapport with all the business
managers in the company, so that they are willing to discuss the new things they
are planning in their respective divisions. For a CIO to survive in today’s competitive world, he has to be very good in business dynamics and how he can provide
more business avenues for the company.
No doubt he needs to have the required technical skills but business acumen
is also equally important. He also needs to train his team in that manner so
that they look at deploying any solution which has business benefits. I have
always told my team members to align their goals with those of the company’s
and work towards achieving a common goal which can benefit the whole
IT department.
—As told to Atanu Kumar Das
October 21 2013
My Story Rajesh Ramachandran
Innovation Should
Be a Regular Affair
Rajesh Ramachandran, President and CTO of Rolta India
Limited, shares his leadership journey with Debashis Sarkar
of CIO & Leader
started his career
in the early 90s
developing software
for operational
technologies at
Siemens. Later he
moved to Oracle
where he worked with
Thomas Kurian, who
headed the product
development for
Oracle in late 90s. He
then shifted to Ebay
and transformed the
Indian technology
centre into a centre
of excellence. He is
presently with Rolta
India, offering CAD,
CAM, geospatial
information system
solutions, EBusiness
and related services.
How did your early days help shape you as a
I started my career by developing software for industrial
robotics, which gathered a lot of interest in the early
90s. Later, I worked for Siemens where I was developing
software for operational technologies for power plants,
process industries and automotive. At the global R&D
centre of Siemens in Germany, I came up with innovative software for networking.
Once, I learnt and had the fun of developing softwares, I wanted to venture into the space of business IT,
where I could develop software for enterprises. Then I
moved to Oracle in the late 90s. I had the great opportunity to work directly under leaders like Thomas Kurian,
who headed the product development for Oracle then.
We worked together on middlewares. Earlier, the enterprise software was seen as just database and applications, but at Oracle, we found that we just cannot push
the data complexity to applications because you want
them to be as simple as possible.
At Oracle, I got to learn how to be a technology leader.
I was introduced to business intelligence, data integration, infrastructure and application development for
different channels for web as well as mobile. At Oracle, I
understood how to bring technology
driven business innovation. Then I moved to Ebay in
the the online space, which was catching pace and was
becoming a way to reach to the masses. My role at Ebay
October 21 2013
was to transform the Indian technology centre into a
centre of excellence as well handle the Indian and
APAC business.
We were among the first to go for a big data-based
search at Ebay, which resulted in a big business driver for
Ebay. I got to know about bringing an equilibrium
on how to bring business driven by technology. In a
career spanning over 20 years at Siemens, Oracle and
Ebay, I learnt that customers want specific solutions for
specific problems.
Then I moved to Rolta, where I am enjoying my role as a
CTO and at same time being a business leader for a MNC
which invests a lot in intellectual property. My whole journey is based upo three principles — it is always important
to have good people around you, one needs to have a great
ecosystem, where innovation should be a regular affair
and finally we need to be result-oriented to be competitive.
Please highlight one change in your career that
helped you in a big way.
I think the change from a technology leader to a people
leader happened in 2004 while I was in Oracle. I used to
be a product leader and I wanted to be a strong technology
leader defining innovation.
I also realised that there is a big difference between people
leader and people manager. A leader is someone who creates more leaders under him while a manager just manages people working for him.
Ra j e s h Ra m a c h a n d r a n | I n t e r v i e w
At Oracle, I got to learn
how to be a technology
There is a big
difference between people
leader and people manager
Every leader needs a
mirror to reflect himself
My best experience
with technology was when
I gifted my 70-year old
mother a smartphone and
taught her to use WhatsApp
How should a leader think about
mentoring and who should he go
after to seek mentoring?
Every leader needs a mirror to reflect himself. Many a times we get into the flow and
lose track of the key capabilities needed in a
leader. Any leader needs a mentor.
A mentor can be your parents or spouse for
seeking advice in your personal life and in
the work front, a mentor can be someone at
your level or above.
photo by Jiten Gandhi
Technology changes
the common man’s life
drastically and I wish I had
access to today’s technology
while I was a kid
Sometimes, I consult with my colleagues
to get things right. I beleive that we need to
have an executive coach any point of time as
a leader to help us see things from the outside and share everything with that person.
Share one interesting experience
with technology.
Though there are many such instances
but I would like to highligh a simple personal experience.
My best experience with technology was
when I gifted my 70-year old mother a
smartphone and taught her to use WhatsApp because she used to complain a lot
that I did not spend much time with her.
With WhatsApp, she is always connected
with me and she prefers to �WhatsApp’
me instead of calling. Technology changes
the common man’s life drastically and I
wish I had access to today’s technology
while I was a kid.
October 21 2013
Leading Mary Brainerd, Jim Campbell, and
edge Richard Davis
Doing WellВ By
Doing Good:В A
Leader’s Guide
Addressing community problems increasingly requires
cooperation among the private, public, and not-for-profit
sectors. Here, three executives explain how a civic alliance
in America’s Minneapolis–Saint Paul region may point
toward an operating model.
By Mary Brainerd, Jim Campbell, and Richard Davis
The vitality The vitality of our communitiesВ has always required the involvement of
the private sector, not just governments or
not-for-profit organizations. Unfortunately,
despite business leaders’ best intentions,
these collaborative efforts often founder,
fueling skepticism about the private
sector’s ability to contribute meaningfully to
civic advancement.
Changing this equation is in the interest
of corporate leaders, for whom the ability to
work across sectors is becoming a business
necessity. It’s in the interest of their
companies, which require talented employees attracted to vibrant communities. And
it’s in the interest of the world’s cities,
which are confronting unprecedented
October 21 2013
challenges at a time when many national
governments’ resources and support mechanisms are wobbling.
Our group, the Itasca Project, has been
experimenting for more than a decade with
fresh collaborative approaches aimed at
boosting the economic and social health of
the Minneapolis–Saint Paul region of the
United States, America’s 16th-largest metropolitan area, with about 3.4 million people.
If you’ve been to any meeting of your local
Chamber of Commerce or Growth Association, you may think you know what a civic
alliance such as Itasca does.
Ten years ago, we would have thought
so, too, because we and our companies had
long been trying to work productively with
governments and not-for-profit groups in
the Twin Cities. But we would have been
wrong. Although other organisations
play a critical role in communities, Itasca
is different.
It’s an employer-led civic alliance with
no individual members, no office, and no
full-time staff. We are quite prepared to end
Itasca the minute we feel it is no longer
adding value. In fact, we debated that very
issue—should we continue?—at our fifth
birthday and again this year, at our tenth.
We keep going because of the opportunities we see to make a difference. In the past
decade, Itasca has forged links between
the business community and our region’s
biggest university.
image BY
Ma r y B r a i n e r d , J i m Ca m p b e l l , a n d R i c h a r d D a v i s | L e ad i n g e d g e
It has improved the financial fitness of
the region through educational programs
and cast a national spotlight on growing
socioeconomic disparities. Today, Itasca is
working to improve higher education and
generating quality-job growth, as well as
advancing efforts to address transportation
issues comprehensively.
We don’t claim to have cracked the code to
successful trisector partnerships. But we do
think our approach—how we’ve organised,
focused our efforts, relied on hard facts,
and involved, personally, our region’s key
leaders—is different enough to spark useful
ideas for corporate leaders in other communities. This article outlines that approach,
which has not only made a difference in
Minneapolis and Saint Paul but also been
extraordinarily rewarding for us as individuals. (For more, see the video where the
authors discuss the civic alliance’s impact
on the Minneapolis–Saint Paul region and
them personally.)
Who we are
Understanding Itasca requires understanding its origins. After World War II, the state
of Minnesota enjoyed dramatic economic
growth, driven by locally based Fortune
500 companies such as General Mills, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M),
and Northwest Airlines, as well as private,
family-owned empires, including Cargill,
Dayton, and Pillsbury.
That lineup’s not bad for a region that is, for
many, flyover country. We don’t enjoy sunshine 300 days a year.
We don’t have beautiful mountains or
gorgeous seashore. But for the four decades
from the 1950s onward, our focus on those
factors we could control—such as the quality of life, education, and the arts—made our
state incredibly special and a place where
people wanted to live.
As the new century approached, though,
our competitive edge dulled. Between 1990
and 1999, Minnesota’s share of the nation’s
initial public offerings and venture-capital
investment fell. We began losing the battle
for emerging high-technology businesses
and slipped as a hub for research and development. By March 2000, David Kidwell,
then the dean of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management,
delivered a speech titled “Has the Twin Cities economy lost its blue chip status?” Deep
down, we all knew the answer. The question
was what could be done about it.
Later that year, Mark Yudof, at the time
the president of the University of
Minnesota, convened 1,200 civic and business leaders to discuss regional competitiveness, and a task force of around 50 local
leaders from all sectors was formed. It was a
disaster. A group of that many people, representing diverging constituencies and priorities, barely agreed on the shape of
the table let alone a path to revitalise
our competitiveness.
Yet a fuse had been lit. Rip Rapson, then
the president of the McKnight Foundation,В organized a breakfast meeting with a
small group of business leaders who by now
were convinced that something had to be
done. Itasca eventually emerged from
this, though its creation was far from a
foregone conclusion in a region awash with
groups ostensibly promoting economic
growth and competitiveness.
To decide whether we could do anything
worthwhile, we got in touch with leaders
throughout the region and conducted
interviews aimed at examining the Twin
Cities’ strengths and weaknesses and the
degree to which those issues could be
addressed collectively.
What we found was room for a different
kind of organisation: one that was business
led while demanding all other perspectives
October 21 2013
L e ad i n g e d g e | Ma r y B r a i n e r d , J i m Ca m p b e l l , a n d R i c h a r d D a v i s
as well and that took a long-term view, peering decades into the future rather than just
to the next legislative session. Such
an organisation should prioritize regional
vitality over business self-interest and be
willing to take on issues that are inherently
difficult to solve.
On September 12, 2003, Minnesota’s
governor, the mayors of both Minneapolis
and Saint Paul, and about 30 other business
and civic leaders attended the first organisational meeting.
Ten minutes had been set aside for introductions; this stretched to nearly half an
hour as participants expressed their passion
for the Twin Cities and their hope that the
new organisation could make a difference.
We all believed that a group driven by private enterprises but including a broad set of
stakeholders could play a constructive role
in reviving the economic competitiveness of
Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
When it came to a name, we were
inspired by what many regard as the Twin
Cities’ golden era of business-leader civic
engagement. In the 1950s and 1960s,
regional business leaders would assemble
annually at a state park to discuss critical
issues, setting aside rivalries between their
companies to contribute to the state’s prosperity. The park’s name was Itasca.
Our different approach
All regions are unique. All have strengths
and weaknesses. And all have organisations
that see their role as promoting economic
vitality, business growth, and community
well-being. On this basis, you could consider Itasca and the Minneapolis–Saint Paul
region as entirely ordinary. Yet we like to
think that our results have been extraordinary—and that they are a direct result of
the conscious, deliberate ways we sought
to think differently about how a civic alliance should operate. (For more, see sidebar,
“How Itasca has made a difference.”)
Organise for action
In the case of Itasca, “organisation” refers to
how we operate, not what we are. We’re not
an organisation. We work virtually, without
a formal office. There’s no full-time staff,
but we have been fortunate to receive support with operations and logistics—such as
preparing agendas and documents for
meetings—as well as some of the fact-gathering, which is so critical to our work. We
leverage personal relationships rather than
sell memberships.
We have no public-relations people or
thirst for recognition. And our budget process comprises a single annual meeting
where the total estimated expenses for the
year ahead are presented. Invoices are then
sent to member companies, with payment
optional. We collectively spend some two
hours each year worrying about funding.
We do have some external financial supporters.В However, we believe other civic alliances
have the ability to adopt our overarching
approach—all communities have smart
people, companies, and institutions that can
provide support—especially when the benefits of being freed from traditional organisational structures are so obvious. Being a
virtual organisation frees us to focus entirely on picking issues and driving for results.
It’s a collective effort; while working groups
are responsible for individual issues, none
“In the case of Itasca,
“organisation” refers to how
we operate, not what we are.
We’re not an organisation”
October 21 2013
of us will hesitate to pitch in if we believe
we can make a difference. We don’t expend
time or energy perpetuating an organisation
for an organisation’s sake, and if the day
comes when we find there are no issues to
address, we will walk away and Itasca will be
no more.
Focus on specifics
Everyone learns from mistakes, and Itasca
is no exception. When we first tried to determine which issues we wanted to be involved
in, we wrote all of them on a white board,
voted, and chose six. A shorter list would
have been better. It’s difficult to overstate
the importance of carefully selecting issues
where you believe you actually can make
a difference, rather than those where you
would like to.
The key is to select the pressure points of
issues on which a group such as Itasca—
driven by the private sector but working collaboratively with all—can have an impact.
When we targeted higher education in
2011, for example, our principal task was
to narrow down potential action areas. Our
taskforce, led by Cargill chairman and CEO
Greg Page, included executives from major
employers, such as Andersen Corporation,
General Mills, Target, and Wells Fargo. It
recommended four priority areas: training
students to meet the needs of employers,
fostering a private–public ecosystem of
research and innovation, forming new collaborations among higher-education institutions to improve efficiency, and
helping to increase the number of students
who graduate.
We immediately decided not to address
the final priority—that’s the responsibility
of institutions themselves, with little role for
the business community. But we knew Itasca could have an impact on the other three,
and implementation teams have worked on
each since late last year.
Although the work is ongoing, early
results are encouraging. To give just two
examples: our state’s conversation around
the issue of higher education has shifted
from cutting spending to increasing investment. In fact, Minnesota’s 2013 legislative
session was dubbed “the education session”
for the way it prioritised investment. And
the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system and Associated Col-
Ma r y B r a i n e r d , J i m Ca m p b e l l , a n d R i c h a r d D a v i s | L e ad i n g e d g e
leges of the Twin Cities (ACTC) have been
working in parallel on efficiencies. In fact,
by adopting modern procurement practices,
MnSCU has saved more than 30 percent
on copier paper, and ACTC’s board is determining the business case for
shared services.
The effort to bridge the gap between
education and employment fits neatly with
Itasca’s broader priorities. We view education, jobs, and transportation as a triangle,
with socioeconomic disparities in the center,
influenced by the other three.
These centerpieces ofВ ourВ work have
a critical factor in common: they arelocal. Education involvesВ ourВ children and
students of all ages, as well as teachers.
Jobs relate directly toВ ourВ community and
what we can do to increase opportunities
and the region’s attractiveness. Transportation includes our roads, bridges, and
infrastructure. And the degree of disparity
amongВ ourВ residents is influenced by all
three factors. The bottom line is that these
are challenges where we believe Itasca can
make a difference.
Take a fact-based approach
Gathering the facts is critical to our success.
While our working groups may be hypothesis driven, before any recommendation
is contemplated they spend weeks or even
months examining best practices in
the United States and around the world,
gathering data via interviews, surveys, and
other approaches.
Because every recommendation is firmly
grounded in fact, this approach underpins
our credibility with partners and the broader
community. They know that Itasca is— to
the greatest extent possible—objective, nonpartisan, and driven only by the desire to
improve our community.
Consider the issue that is central to all
that we do: disparities. While the issue of
socioeconomic inequality has taken center
stage nationally in the past five years,
Itasca prioritised it from our first formal
meeting, in 2003.
Even at that point, it was evident anecdotally that the Twin Cities were increasingly
dividing into haves and have-nots, with all
manner of deleterious effects on our community. Yet we weren’t aware of any organisation in our region tackling this issue,
“When it comes to getting
things done, there’s no
substitute for the direct
involvement of those with
and, frankly, we were concerned that it
couldn’t be tackled—it was simply too big to
be addressed, especially by a small, fledgling
civic alliance.
Then we got lucky. We discovered that one
of our primary supporters, the McKnight
Foundation, was already working with the
Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy
Program to examine publicly available census data on several US cities and determine
the types and impact of disparities. We
immediately saw an opportunity to become
involved, and the eventual report,В Mind the
Gap,В was sobering.
Although our region is generally regarded
as highly educated, with relatively low rates
of poverty and unemployment, the report
showed worrisome trends emerging. In particular, it showed that fewer people of color
attended college, their household incomes
were lower, and they tended to live farther
from areas where jobs were. What made
the report, released in 2005, so powerful
was that it was grounded in facts—in this
case, publicly available data—and that the
recommendations based on our analysis
came from a unique business perspective.
Because all of our member companies are
major employers, the fact that we were
expressing concern about growing socioeconomic disparities and their potential impact
on the future vitality of our region carried
significant weight. Some eight years later,
we can’t claim to have solved the disparities
issue. But it is now squarely at the center of
all conversations about what kind of community people want the Twin Cities to be
and the initiatives that should be pursued
to achieve this goal. That would never have
happened without the credibility of Itasca as
a messenger and the rigor of our approach
to understanding and analysing issues.
Get leaders involved
When it comes to getting things done,
there’s no substitute for the direct involvement of those with authority. The members
of Itasca who make up our working groups
are private-sector chairmen and chief executives, the mayors of Minneapolis and Saint
Paul, the governor of Minnesota, and presidents of universities and other institutions.
There’s no concern about miscommunication or making false promises that require
the approval of others. We are all principals
with decision-making authority, sitting in
meetings as equal participants with equal
Although this practice sounds like common sense, many civic alliances devolve
into endless rounds of meetings attended by
designated representatives who report back
to others, adding layers of complexity and
delays. Having principals at the table—principals whose time is precious and who are
accustomed not only to making decisions
but also to seeing tangible results—ensures
our relevance and focuses our attention on
what really matters. We all know that the
work we do must be worth our time.
At one of our first meetings, for example,
we discussed research and development
undertaken by companies and public institutions in the Twin Cities. A vast amount of
groundbreaking work was being done, yet
there was little cooperation—research organizations worked in isolation and had done
so for as long as anyone could remember.
October 21 2013
L e ad i n g e d g e | Ma r y B r a i n e r d , J i m Ca m p b e l l , a n d R i c h a r d D a v i s
“We’ve never had to recruit
participants; they welcome
the opportunity to be part of
something bigger than they could
be elsewhere”
We all agreed this made little sense, and the
then chairman and chief executive of 3M,
Jim McNerney (who now holds the same
roles at Boeing), immediately volunteered to
chair a task force on the issue.
Within seconds, another attendee, the
president of the University of Minnesota,
Bob Bruininks, piped up: “I’ll co-chair.”
Six months later, the working group
chaired by Jim and Bob had studied best
practices, developed a deep fact base,
formed recommendations, and pushed for
changes that have transformed private–
public sector collaboration across the state.
Finding deeper meaning
The effort Jim and Bob spearheaded had
obvious direct benefits for both of their
organisations. Yet not all Itasca initiatives
do, which raises the question: why bother?
Why do so many leaders of companies,
organisations, and institutions devote so
much time and effort—our core working
group typically meets weekly—to do work
that, in many cases, may not bear fruit
for years or perhaps decades? If you ask
these leaders, the answer is universal and
simple: it’s incredibly meaningful.
The personal return on investment
from their Itasca involvement exceeds
that of pretty much anything else they’ve
done, including their corporate careers.
It’s that significant.
Itasca provides a couple of rare opportunities at a personal level. Members
interact in a noncompetitive environment
with fellow leaders, and they exercise different parts of their brains. While we like
to think that managing a major corporation is all about influence, the fact is that
it’s often just management: leaders make
October 21 2013
decisions, and others fall into line. At
Itasca, it’s all about influence. Ideas survive and thrive on the ability of members
to bring their colleagues along with them.
It’s also creative. Our members have
risen to their current positions by
being very skilled at specific tasks in
specific industries.
Yet at Itasca, they may be examining
a problem they have little expertise in,
which is itself exhilarating. Not only that,
they also have permission to try more
things and make more mistakes—a luxury
that quickly disappears in their day jobs.
Don’t get us wrong; we are determined to
reach the right answer to a given problem
as quickly as possible. But there is leeway
for experimentation and learning.
At a broader level, there’s no doubting
the significance and satisfaction from the
altruistic element of civic work, as any
executive involved in community groups
can attest. We like to imagine it’s more
intense for participants in Itasca, who
are at the front line of efforts to reinvigorate a region that is responsible for the
livelihoods of millions of people, not
to mention the well-being of the participants’ companies.
While the percentage of revenue that
these companies derive from the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area has certainly
declined in recent decades, the happiness
and prosperity of our employees is linked
as tightly as ever to the region’s vitality.
Knowing we are working to improve it
is incredibly gratifying, even if the full
benefits may not be realised in our time at
Itasca or even our lifetimes.
Finally, Itasca provides lessons that can
be applied day-to-day. Some members
learn from observing their peers, gaining
insight into the way other chief executives
think, solve problems, or interact. Others directly implement changes based on
findings from our work; for example, our
deep understanding of socioeconomic
disparities has resulted in formal goals
at HealthPartners—to reduce health-care
disparities and increase the leadership
team’s diversity— as well as changes to
the company’s incentive plan to drive
results. All members grow personally as a
result of their involvement and relish the
opportunity to be involved. We’ve never
had to recruit participants; they welcome
the opportunity to be part of something
bigger than they could be elsewhere.
We’re obviously proud of our work at
Itasca and believe the approach we’ve
adopted can be implemented elsewhere.
Yet we know none of this is easy. We have
false starts when it comes to selecting
issues. Some of our initiatives struggle
to gain traction.
And we have our share of executives
who become consumed by their day jobs,
letting Itasca fall by the wayside. However,
while we are sometimes discouraged, we
are never dissuaded.
We know personally how meaningful it
has been to try to improve the community
in which we live and work. The way we
see it, leaders spend decades acquiring
influence that typically peaks when they
reach the very top of their organisations.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the
opportunity, at that point in your life, to
engage with others in the same position
and do something bigger than all of you?
Mary Brainerd,В president and CEO of
HealthPartners, was chair of Itasca from 2008
to 2012.В Jim Campbell,В a retired chairman and CEO
of Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota, was chair of
Itasca from 2003 to 2008.В Richard DavisВ is chairman, president,
and CEO of US Bancorp and Itasca’s
current chair.
—The authors wish to thank Tim Welsh, a
director in McKinsey’s Minneapolis office, and
colleagues Allison Barmann, Beth Kessler,
Jennifer Ford Reedy, and Julia Silvis, for their
collective contributions to the Itasca Project
since 2003.
Major Events of the 1st Singapore
Everest Expedition in 1998 1996 was
a more hopeful year, with the team succeeding
on a number of alpine summits
most of 1994 was spent organising a team, as well
as beginning the fundraising drive. This was largely
spearheaded by David Lim and Justin Lean, requiring
significant after -hours work, lunch-time meetings with
prospects and so on. As usual, there were some genuine
well-wishers and some timewasters who realised that
they couldn’t deliver what they promised. Stories in the
press at that time focused on the large sponsorship and
team challenge.
A major boost happened in March 1995 when, after a
request was sent, the the President of the Republic, Ong
Teng Cheong , agreed to be the Expedition Patron. Mr
Ong, unbeknownst to us at that time, had stuck his neck
out, ignoring the advice of some of his advisors who
warned about supporting a venture that could “fail”.
Apparently, his response to these risk-averse people
were ” That is exactly why I should give them my support”. These and other nuggets were only revealed much
later after the expedition concluded.
In a letter of encouragement to the team members,
President Ong wrote:
“Mountaineering is not a tradition in Singapore. Only
people with strong determination and spirit of adventure like you will set your sights on the conquest of
Mount Everest. Whether you are climbers or members
of the support team, you are all pioneers with the courage to try and succeed.”
Meeting the President at his official residence,
the Istana, in March 1996 for an update. From L to R:
Lim Kim Boon. David Li, President Ong Teng Cheong
and Rob Goh.
The team began training with some members undertaking smaller trips with each other to places like Mt
David Lim,
Founder, Everest
Motivation Team,
is a leadership
and negotiation
coach, best-selling
author and twotime Mt Everest
expedition leader.
He can be reached
at his blog http://
theasiannegotiator., or
Kinabalu and the NZ Alps, where peaks like Mt Cook
were climbed.
Planning began in earnest to organise a whole-team
expedition to climb Kun, part of the 7000m Nun-Kun
peaks in Ladakh, India.
This expedition took place in August and met with bad
weather. They were forced to try a new route on Nun
(which was not even planned for)after deep snow made
it impossible to reach Kun’s basecmp.
WIth little time left, the team regrouped in Leh, the
capital of Ladakh and re-launched themselves at another
objective organised on the fly - Stok Kangri - a simple
6000-metre peak.
Four members, David Lim Rob Goh, YJ Mok and SC
Khoo summitted
The team returned to review the lessons of the climb
and continued the quest to raise the nearly $1 million
SG dollars needed for the climb. David’s leadership
had been confused at times, and some members had
behaved selfishly.
All in , it was a sobering lesson that the team dynamics needed work.
1996 was a more hopeful year, with the team succeeding on a number of alpine summits in the Swiss and
French Alps in the summer of that year. David Lim and
Justin Lean had also pulled off some difficult ascents in
the NZ Alps on Mt Tasman.
The team also acquired new sponsors Ricola. They
would be the single largest non-government linked
sponsor with $65000 invested in the expedition.
Contrary to what many Singaporeans then and now
believed, the TOTAL financial support of the Singapore
government and government-linked organisations only
October 21 2013
op inio n | D av id L im
image BY
Only the money
issues were
and team had
to consider
how they would
find another
few hundred
thousand dollars
to complete
the funding for
Everest in 1998
amounted to 11 percent of the total needed for Everest
in 1998. ( inset left: David Lim high on Syme Ridge, Mt
Tasman, Jan 1996)
However during this time, the naysayers and cynics
also became more vocal. In 1996, an opinion piece,
and an exceedingly poor piece of journalism for all its
factual errors) made fun of the climb, denigrating the
climbers et al was published in the major media.
Written by an �award-winning’ journalist, you wonder if that award was for being Jerk of the Year – not to
mention OpEd With The Most Factual Errors. For
goodness, sake , at least if the sarcasm and critique
had anything like the class of a piece, it
would have been bearable.
As is… we had to put up with this twaddle. Singapore’s largest climbing shop carried, for a long time, a
news clipping of us that was parodied by an unknown
cartoonist and was displayed for all to see – until we
shut our critics up.
Such occurrences were part and parcel of pulling off
something difficult, and unwelcome in the face of
tawdry, and mediocre journalism, not to mention
mediocre minds. The Tall Poppy Syndrome comes to
mind as well.
In September, the team, now somewhat smaller with
several voluntary departures, went to make an attempt
October 21 2013
at a 7000-metre peak, Putha Hiunchuli by the North
Face. This was the first time any SE Asian team had
attempted a peak f this scale.
Located in mid-west Nepal, the peak had been
climbed infrequently owing to the challenging
access. After some bad weather in the initial stages,
David Lim and SC Khoo stood on the summit.
A few days later MB Tamang and Rob Goh did the
same. YJ MOk and S. Yogenthiran had to retire for
health reasons.
Putha Hiunchuli was a tremendous success at a
time when there were nagging doubts if the team
could pull it all together on a climb.
Despite differences and some obvious dislike
for each other by some team members, and
some selfishness, the team was functioning
above expectations.
Only the money issues were unresolved, and team
had to consider how they would find another few
hundred thousand dollars to complete the funding for
Everest in 1998.
COACH AND CAN BE FOUND ON HIS BLOG http://, OR subscribe to his free
e-newsletter at [email protected]
“As in all walks of life, in business too,
relationship choices have consequences”—
subroto bagchi
The Elephant
Key Lesson for
Breakthrough Growth
those who hunt rabbits are rarely
able to rope in elephants, says Subroto
Bagchi, the author of The Elephant
Catchers. The author feels that catching an elephant is totally different
from hunting a rabbit. He says,
“elephant catchers come at a price that
may raise eyebrows and change the
status quo in your existing set-up.”
Bagchi compares the difficulties
of catching an elephant with small
organisations who are wanting to
make it big. “There are great success
stories of organisations graduating from small game to large, but
they all begin with the fundamental
realisation that the social contract
that brought everyone together in the
beginning — with bows and arrows,
drums and utensils — no longer
works. The social contract that laid
the foundation of the village will have
to be replaced with one for the city. It
is time to step back and rethink the
purpose of the organisation, and be
ready to remodel its structure and
functioning. Being able to work future
backward by imagining what the
customer, supplier and employee of
the future, five and even ten years out,
will expect from the organisation is
the perfect starting point.”
In the chapter, 'The Cat and Dog
Differential', the author says, “the key
to winning a customer's business is to
be able to connect and to come across
as hungry, willing, genuine, trustworthy and above all, interesting.” Bagchi
compares the business decisions with
one's decision of choosing a life
partner. It is imperative for orgnaistaions to make the right choice or face
the consequences for the decisions
they have taken. “As in all walks of
life, in business too, relationship
choices have consequences. If you
seek a marriage of convenience , do
so with your eyes open and always be
aware that it just might become an
unholy alliance.”
Bagchi feels that a brand needs to
be nurtured and reinvested for it to
keep on succeeding. Branding is a
very important aspect of an organisation's future prospect. “A brand
literally takes birth, grows, and ages
Subroto Bagchi is an
Indian entrepreneur
and business leader.
He is best known
for co-founding
Mindtree Ltd and
for being a business
author. Along the
way, Bagchi wrote
business bestsellers
such as The High
Entrepreneur, Go
Kiss the World, The
Professional, MBA at
16, The Professional
Companion and The
Elephant Catchers
and, unless it is renewed, it dies and
decays. The brand is an expression of
an organisation's mission, vision, values, its reputation and ambition, and
it cannot change unless the core goes
through a transformation.
Bagchi says that he learned the
essentials of branding from rather
colourful man named Shombit Sengupta who founded Strategy Design,
a brand advisory in Paris. “When
I first met him around 1996, his
company had reported a turnover of
$9 million, his brands sold for over
$40 billion worldwide for companies
like Danone of France and Lakme in
India. Legend had it that if you went
into any kitchen in Europe, you would
see at least six products that carried
his signature.”
Bagchi says, “Shombit taught me
that a brand is not just a logo, a tagline, or a smart-sounding name. It is
the perception of the value of a company, product or service in mind of a
customer, and a perception is partly
rational and partly emotional.”
—By Atanu Kumar Das
October 21 2013
Illustration by anil t
How to Lead
Like Red Burns
Features Inside
Former CIA Director Warns of
�Cyber-Pearl Harbour’ Pg 40
�Game Over’ for BlackBerry in
the Enterprise? Pg 42
Here are five leadership lessons from the
career of the late Red Burns, cofounder
and leader of New York University
master’s programme
By Jack Rosenberger
October 21 2013
ften lauded as the “Godmother
of Silicon Alley,” Red Burns
cofounded and led the Interactive
Telecommunications Programme
(ITP) at New York University, a
creative and technology-driven master’s
programme that has produced more than
3,000 graduates. Many of ITP’s graduates
now work at global brands like Apple,
Disney, Google and Microsoft, as well as
smaller companies and eager startups,
where the best of them carry on Burns’
vision of using technology as both a means
l e a d ershi p | N E X T H O R I Z O N S
of creative expression and a way to improve
people’s lives. Burns died late last month,
at the age of 88, and the resulting obituaries and related articles often recalled
her inspirational leadership of ITP, from
which I have gleaned a handful of lessons
about technology, collaboration, checking
the periphery and more.
Technology is a tool. For Burns, what was
important about technology was what it
could be used for.
When the Sony Portapak videocamera,
the first portable video camera, was introduced, a Burns-related project involved
documenting a broken stop light to force
New York City officials to replace it.
As Evan Rudowski, an ITP graduate,
wrote in Mashable: “Led by Red and her
tion. Burns believed that collaboration
vision, ITP was filled with people who
and diversity were the two forces that fosbelieved, as I was coming to understand,
tered innovation at ITP, according to a New
that technology is merely a vehicle
York Times profile, and Burns and her
for expression.
ITP colleagues deliberately created a
As amazingly advanced as technology
diverse program, both in terms of students
could be, it was pointless without dialogue.
and faculty.
Who cares what it does? What are you
Half of ITP’s students are female, which
trying to say? Red and ITP was teaching
is unusual for a technical program, and
people not to be technologists—but artists,
many students are from foreign countries.
communicators, participants.”
As for the faculty, Burns hired a large num“To me, the computer is just another
ber of adjunct faculty, which enabled ITP
tool,” Burns said in an interview. “It’s like
to provide a wide variety of courses (140
a pen. You have to have a pen, and to know
at present), quickly adapt to new developpenmanship, but neither will write a book
ments in technology, and explore different
for you.”
areas of study, much of which would be
Value collaboration, not competition.
difficult to accomplish with a faculty of
Burns emphasised collaboration over comfull-time specialists.
petition, and one of ITP’s hallmarks is its
Technology constantly changes. Burns
collaborative atmosphere. “Competition is
recognised that technology is always
not valued here,” Burns told The New York
changing, so she emphasised different
Times in 2007.
ways of approaching and thinking about
“Competitive people have energy, they’re
technology, as opposed to having students
interesting and so forth. But they’re so
master specific technical skills.
focused on the competition they fail to see
“We’re training people who have to
what they’re doing. They just want �better,
learn to navigate in a world of
bigger, stronger, longer,’ and
change. If there’s anything conthey miss the periphery. And
stant, it’s change,” Burns said
that is where you find things
in a 1994 interview. “People
you don’t even know
come here for one purpose—to
are there.”
understand the possibilities of
“People here aren’t trying to
will be the growth of this new form [of technology].
beat each other at something,
business intelligence These technologies are going
or win something,” Burns said
software market in
to change all the time. They’re
in a 2008 interview. “When
india by 2014
really going to have to underyou walk around and feel the
stand the fundamental nature
energy, it’s extraordinary.”
of the technologies
Diversity is vital to innova-
“Competitive people have energy,
they’re interesting and so forth.
But they’re so focused on the
competition they fail to see what
they’re doing. They just want
�better, bigger, stronger, longer,’
and they miss the periphery”
and the possibilities. And we look for ways
for the technology to be applied in very
human ways.”
heck the Periphery. Burns urged students
to be dreamers and visionaries, and to use
technology to explore what she liked to call
“the periphery.”
Daniel Rozin, a former director of
research at ITP, described ITP as the opposite of the traditional academic program
“where you have your hypothesis and you
go out and prove it, is not the way it goes
at ITP…. As Red says, �If we knew already
what we were looking for, we wouldn’t be
looking for it.’ ”
ITP graduate Evan Rudowski, Mashable:
“Today, when I work on a project I try to
think about whether Red Burns might
find it worthy: does it serve, empower and
engage people? Does it free them to do
something they may not have done before?
I’m not sure I always succeed, but Red and
ITP helped me understand what I ought to
be shooting for.”
Lastly, this gem from Burns: “If
you let technology rule the day, you won’t
get anywhere. The only thing that’s
important about technology is what you do
with it.”
— Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor
of CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter
via @CIOInsight.
— This article was first published in CIO
Insight. For more stories please visit www.
October 21 2013
N E X T H O R I Z O N S | se c u rit y
CIA Director Warns of
�Cyber-Pearl Harbour’
The government needs to work hard to protect the
security of the country’s critical infrastructure
By Michael Vizard
image by
nless private industry is
allowed to work more collaboratively on IT security
with the government, the
prospect of a cyber-Pearl
Harbour event wiping out huge
swaths of the US infrastructure is very
high, according to former CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Speaking at last week’s McAfee
Focus 2013 conference, Panetta noted
that 90 percent of the US’s critical
infrastructure is in private hands.
Defending that infrastructure will
require a strong partnership between
government and the elements of the
private sector that have control of
those systems, he said.
“A cyber-attack would virtually
paralyse our nation,” Panetta said.
“This goes way beyond hackers and
criminals or people trying to steal sensitive information.”
To reduce the risk of cyber-warfare,
Panetta is hopeful that countries will
come together to sign bilateral cyber-warfare agreements similar to
today’s nuclear non-proliferation treaties.
In the meantime, Panetta is encouraging the US Congress to pass
a set of laws that would indemnify companies that share information with the US government from being sued by their customers.
Panetta said the problem the legislation faces is that, with all the
gridlock in Congress, nothing is getting accomplished. “We’re dealing with record deficits, debt and gridlock,” he said. “That bodes ill
for the kind of future we want our children to have.”
In addition to making people more aware of the potential cyber-
US needs to defend itself from nation states and terrorist
organisations that already have cyber-warfare capabilities
October 21 2013
warfare threat, both industry and government need to keep investing in security technologies, Panetta said. The US and many other
countries, he noted, now routinely include cyber-attacks to wipe out
an enemy’s infrastructure in their military plans. Panetta said the
US needs to be able to defend itself from nation states and terrorist organisations that already have cyber-warfare capabilities or are
actively trying to acquire them.
Panetta noted that an Iranian-backed group was able to destroy
30,000 computers owned by Saudi Aramco using a Shimoon virus.
Multiply that type of attack against transportation, financial, health-
N E X T H O R I Z O N S | m o b i l it y
care and electrical systems and it becomes pretty apparent how devastating cyber-warfare can be, Panetta said.
Greg Brown, vice president and CTO for cloud and Internet of
things at McAfee, said the primary issues that CIOs need to contend
with when it comes to most embedded systems is that they were
designed long before they could be connected to the Internet. As
such, the systems usually don’t include security controls. Brown
said Intel, the parent company of McAfee, recently unveiled a
Quark family of processors for embedded systems that, among
other things, bakes security into the instruction set of the processor.
“Security needs to be integrated with the hardware,” said Brown.
As Intel embeds more security functionality into its processors,
the chipmaker says the cost of deploying security will decrease,
which could help insure that security is more broadly applied.
Speaking at the same McAfee Focus 2013 conference as Panetta,
Intel president Renee James said Intel plans to embed security in
every class of Intel processors. “We believe security needs to ubiquitous,” he said. “In the next two years you’ll see a lot more integrated
security. Our goal is to change the economics of security.”
— This article was first published in CIO Insight. For more stories please
�Game Over’ for
Enterprise customers of BlackBerry products should
find alternatives, a new Gartner report urges
By Jack Rosenberger
nterprise customers of BlackBerry’s
smartphones and enterprise management software should find alternatives to the financially troubled
company’s products over the next
three to six months, according to a recently
released Gartner report, a copy of which was
obtained by Computerworld. The Gartner
report recommends three courses of action.
BlackBerry responded with a statement,
saying: “We recognise and respect external
parties’ opinions on BlackBerry’s recent
news. However, many of the conclusions
by Gartner about the potential impact of
a sale or other strategic alternatives, are
purely speculative."
The Waterloo, Ontario company, however,
has not fared well during recent months. A
brief timeline of its recent troubles include
the disclosure of plans to lay off 4,500 of its
12,500 employees; a loss of $965 million
in the second quarter of fiscal 2014; and a
decline in revenue by 49 percent in fiscal Q2
from the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the
company’s sale to Fairfax Financial Holdings of Toronto for $4.7 billion is pending.
October 21 2013
The decline of
the once-mighty
BlackBerry offers a
key takeaway for IT
leaders. One should
always monitor and
periodically review
the vendors and
service providers
Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney's eight-page
report, which the firm released to select
BlackBerry enterprise customers, suggests
three courses of action:
Abandon all BlackBerry devices.
Contain the use of BlackBerry devices,
with users being informed that their
devices will be discontinued, while allowing for possible exceptions for users who
are approved by management.
Upgrade a limited number of users to
BlackBerry 10 devices, while supporting
Android, iOS and other platforms.
Despite its dire situation, BlackBerry
remains a presence in the enterprise. In
August, Gartner conducted a poll of 400
business and IT leaders and found that 24
percent are on the BlackBerry platform.
However, the respondents expected that
number will decline to nine percent by
2016, according to Computerworld.
The decline of the once-mighty BlackBerry offers a key takeaway for IT leaders: The
importance of monitoring and periodically
reviewing your vendors and service providers—and watching for troubled companies
that, like BlackBerry, might be unable to
fulfill your IT needs now or in the near
— Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor of
CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter via
— This article was first published in CIO
Insight. For more stories please visit
N O H O L D S B A R R E D | J as p ree t S i n g h
Ernst & Young
London, UK
Assurance, Tax
Advisory, Consulting,
Financial Advisory, etc
“CFO can be a
CIO’s greatest ally”
In a freewheeling discussion with CIO&Leader, Jaspreet Singh,
Associate Director, Ernst & Young LLP, talks about the various
facets of IT transformation and believes the finance organisation
can be a CIO’s greatest ally when properly engaged
October 21 2013
J as p ree t S i n g h | N O H O L D S B A R R E D
To many CIOs, IT transformation
means nothing. It’s just a hype created by consultancy firms to generate
business. What do you think?
We live in an era where change — imposed
by regulatory or market forces — is rapid,
radical and far-reaching. The market is
changing in such a way that consolidation,
technology shifts, new business models and
consumer behavior are forcing actors in the
market to adapt to the future while business
is still ongoing. Businesses today encounter
near-constant upheaval, which they can
endure and even benefit from when supported by a rejuvenated IT organisation.
Information technology plays a critical role
in the success of significant business transformations — not only as a key enabler but
also as a source of advantage.
However, most organisations are not even
coming close to realising the potential benefits of their IT investments. Many organisations are stretched to the breaking point
just trying to maintain existing systems.
Critical new projects are being shelved. The
new projects that are done are often delivered late, over budget, and missing
key functionality.
We see many organisations in which the
business doesn’t trust IT and IT feels marginalised by the business. In many cases,
senior management has little awareness of
IT governance processes, and IT is viewed
as a mere support function with no defined
mission. This is neither hype, nor trend,
but reality. These problems can be solved,
but not with piecemeal solutions. What is
needed is a radical transformation not only
in how IT does its job, but in how business and IT work together. Thus, in today's
change-driven environment, it has become
imperative for IT to transform from its traditional function as a technology provider
and become an adaptive, responsive and
nimble organisation.
IT transformation is a very broad
term. It can mean re-modeling the
architecture or the application mix, or
shifting from a centralised model to a
decentralised one, or simply cost cutting.
So, how do you rate or categorise IT
IT transformation has become a popular
piece of the techie vernacular. Describ-
ing such an extensive topic in a universal,
narrow-scope manner is like tilting at a
windmill. But if you ask me, it is something
broader than a specific initiative or strategy.
It’s about integrating complex IT systems
and streamlining IT processes, rationalizing the existing technology base; and
enabling them to take advantage of modern,
business-friendly technologies to better
align the IT system to the needs of the business. In short, it ensures that IT improves
What is needed
is a radical
transformation not
only in how IT does
its job, but in how
business and IT
work together
operating efficiencies, reduces operating
costs, ensures regulatory compliance and
business agility, helps business growth, and
enhances business value.
It is more than mere optimisation or
modification of engineering components,
but is rather a holistic revamp of the existing technology base used to support the
company’s mission-critical business. Ironically, IT Transformation is not about changing things for the sake of change, but about
better aligning the IT system to the needs of
the business.
.While talking of IT transformation,
what are the key barriers faced by
Communication: When it comes to gaining buy-in on IT transformation programs,
many of the CIOs fail to convince key stakeholders. Communicating the value and benefit of an IT transformational program to
the business is one of the leading challenges
that CIOs face.
Perception of the IT department: The legacy
perception of the IT department as “backoffice order takers” hampers a dynamic
CIO’s ability to be seen as an agile busi-
ness partner, delivering new and marketdifferentiating business capabilities. This
perception can only be altered by articulating the benefits in business terms that
resonate with business leadership. CIOs
need to focus on enabling the stakeholders to understand the drivers and business
benefits; providing clear and continuous
communications, partnering with finance to
make costs visible and showing due considerations for alternatives, especially from the
viewpoint of business segment executives.
Uncertainty and Risk mitigation: In the
rapidly changing market and technology
environment, it is not difficult to foresee
that enterprise level IT transformation will
encounter a lot of uncertainties. Most of
these uncertainties are not predictable in
terms of timing and scale at the beginning.
To minimise the risks, CIOs need to carefully take care of this kind of risks with a
right methodology and frameworks in place
to develop a solid mitigation strategy before
the transformation journey starts.
CIOs or IT leaders have the tendency to confide in their technical comfort zone and the board feels that the
CIO's transformational efforts are not insync with the goals of the company or
the client's expectation. How can one
possibly reduce this gap?
In the old days, it was simply a matter of
keeping IT projects on time and on budget — but today, the CIO has to be active
across every aspect of complex investment programs which can cost millions
of pounds. Today, the CIO manages IT
change – but, IT is increasingly involved
in driving business changes which keep
a company ahead of the competition. The
CIO needs identify what business changes
are required to improve performance, and
take on accountability for driving end-toend business process transformation.
The experience which IT has gained
from technological innovation can be leveraged into the business operating model.
The new role will include facilitating
collaboration, both internally and across
enterprises; managing the rapidly changing area of business and technological
security; and tackling the challenges of
information and knowledge within
the organisation.
October 21 2013
illustration BY peterson pj
Data Briefing
Will be the size of India’s
enterprise software
market in 2013
How The NSA
Deploys Malware
Once an attacker has successfully infected a victim,
the attacker generally has full access to the user’s
By Dan Auerbach
October 21 2013
s ec u r i t y | T E C H F O R G O V E R N A N C E
We’ve long suspected that the NSA, the world’s
premiere spy agency, was pretty good at breaking into computers. But now,
thanks to an article by security expert Bruce Schneier—who is working
with the Guardian to go through the Snowden documents—we have a
much more detailed view of how the NSA uses exploits in order to infect
the computers of targeted users.
How Does Malware Work Exactly?
Deploying malware over the web generally involves two
steps. First, as an attacker, you have to get your victim to
visit a website under your control. Second, you have to get
software—known as malware—installed on the victim's
computer in order to gain control of that machine. This
formula isn’t universal, but is often how web-based malware attacks proceed.
In order to accomplish the first step of getting a user
to visit a site under your control, an attacker might email
the victim text that contains a link to the website in question, in a so-called phishing attack. The NSA reportedly
uses phishing attacks sometimes, but we’ve learned that
this step usually proceeds via a so-called “man-in-themiddle” attack. The NSA controls a set of servers codenamed “Quantum” that sit on the Internet backbone, and
these servers are used to redirect targets away from their
intended destinations to still other NSA-controlled servers
that are responsible for the injection of malware. So, for
example, if a targeted user visits “”, the target's
browser will display the ordinary Yahoo! landing page but
will actually be communicating with a server controlled
by the NSA. This malicious version of Yahoo!'s website
will tell the victim's browser to make a request in a background to another server controlled by the NSA which is
used to deploy malware.
Once a victim visits a malicious website, how does the
attacker actually infect the computer? Perhaps the most
straightforward method is to trick the user into downloading and running software. A cleverly designed pop-up
advertisement may convince a user to download and
install the attacker’s malware, for example.
But this method does not always work, and relies on a
user taking action to download and run software. Instead,
attackers can exploit software vulnerabilities in the
browser that the victim is using in order to gain access to
her computer. When a victim’s browser loads a website,
the software has to perform tasks like parsing text given
to it by the server, and will often load browser plugins like
Flash that run code given to it by the server, in addition
to executing Javascript code given to it by the server. But
browser software—which is becoming increasingly complex as the web gains more functionality—doesn't work
perfectly. Like all software, it has bugs, and sometimes
those bugs are exploitable security vulnerabilities that
allow an attacker to gain access to a victim's computer just
because a particular website was visited. Once browser
vendors discover vulnerabilities, they are generally
patched, but sometimes a user has out of date software
that is still vulnerable to known attack. Other times, the
vulnerabilities are known only to the attacker and not to
the browser vendor; these are called zero-day vulnerabilities. The NSA has a set of servers on the public Internet
with the code name “FoxAcid” used to deploy malware.
Once their Quantum servers redirect targets to a specially
crafted URL hosted on a FoxAcid server, software on that
FoxAcid server selects from a toolkit of exploits in order
to gain access to the user’s computer. Presumably this
toolkit has both known public exploits that rely on a user’s
software being out of date, as well as zero-day exploits
which are generally saved for high value targets. The
agency then reportedly uses this initial malware to install
longer lasting malware. Once an attacker has successfully
infected a victim with malware, the attacker generally
has full access to the user's machines: she can record key
strokes (which will reveal passwords and other sensitive
information), turn on a web cam, or read any data on the
victim's computer.
What Can Users Do To Protect Themselves?
We hope that these revelations spur browser vendors to
action, both to harden their systems against exploits, and
to attempt to detect and block the malware URLs used by
the FoxAcid servers. In the meantime, users concerned
about their security should practice good security hygiene.
Always keep your software up to date—especially browser
plugins like Flash that require manual updates. Make
sure you can distinguish between legitimate updates and
October 21 2013
the nsa controls a
set of servers that
sit on the Internet
A cleverly
designed pop-up
ad may convince a
user to download
and install the
attacker’s malware
The nsa has a
set of servers on
the public Internet
with the code name
the nsa’s system
for deploying
malware isn’t
particularly novel
Never click a
suspicious looking
link in an email
T E C H F O R G O V E R N A N C E | s ec u r i t y
prevalent, you will have to click a lot. For Firefox users,
pop-up ads that masquerade as software updates. Never
RequestPolicy is another useful add-on that stops thirdclick a suspicious looking link in an email.
party resources from loading on a page by default. Once
For users who want to go an extra step towards being
again, as third-party resources are popular, this will
more secure—and we think everyone should be in this
disrupt ordinary browsing a fair amount. Finally, for the
camp—consider making plugins like Flash and Java
ultra paranoid, HTTP Nowhere will disable all HTTP
“click-to-play” so that they are not executed on any given
will be the rowth
traffic completely, forcing your browsing experience to
web page until you affirmatively click them. For Chromiof it spending in
be entirely encrypted, and making it so that only webum and Chrome, this option is available in Settings =>
india in the year
sites that offer an HTTPS connection are available to
Show Advanced Settings => Privacy => Content Settings
browse. The NSA’s system for deploying malware isn’t
=> Plug-ins. For Firefox, this functionality is available
particularly novel, but getting some insight into how
by installing a browser Add-On like “Click to Play perit works should help users and browser and software
element”. Plugins can also be uninstalled or turned off
vendors better defend against these types of attacks,
completely. Users should also use ad blocking software
making us all safer against criminals, foreign intelligence agencies,
to stop unnecessary web requests to third party advertisers and web
and a host of attackers. That’s why we think it’s critical that the NSA
trackers, and our HTTPS Everywhere add-on in order to encrypt
come clean about its capabilities and where the common security
connections to websites with HTTPS as much as possible. Finally,
holes are—our online security depends on it.
for users who are willing to notice some more pain when browsing the web, consider using an add-on like NotScripts (Chrome) or
— This article is printed with prior permission from www.infosecisland.
NoScript (Firefox) to limit the execution of scripts. This means you
com. For more features and opinions on information security and risk
will have to click to allow scripts to run, and since Javascript is very
management, please refer to Infosec Island.
What is Real in
Cyberhype is not going to disappear from the
reality we live in
By Jarno LimnГ©ll
ecent disclosures of the US intelligence secrets have raised cyberhype to a new level. Continuous
reporting on how the United States
monitors and intercepts electronic
communication has reinforced the globally
disseminated metanarrative of an urgent
cyber threat. Before the United States,
China played the crucial role of the main
villain in the narrative. Even if it is challenging to conclude what is real in cyberhype, it
should not be perceived as nonsense
and disregarded.
What is cyberhype? What in it is worth
taking seriously? Cyberhype is not primarily about cyber threats. On the contrary, it is
October 21 2013
about the promises of transformation in our
daily lives brought about by the inventions in
information technology. Cyberspace is ought
to make our lives easier, happier and more
secure. Technology is to fix human deficits
and augment our abilities remarkably. These
promises are inherent in technology which
develops on the basis of the dictum that
everything possible is also desirable. Cyber
threats were added to the puzzle only later
on when it became clear that cyberspace also
enables malicious activity.
There are multiple factors and strengthening trends that speak for the severity of cyber
threats. Firstly, our daily lives are fully dependent on the digital world, which creates an
increasing number of vulnerabilities. Secondly, states are strongly involved in cyberspace
and allocating incremental resources to the
development of their capabilities. These capabilities include intelligence, as well as both
defence and offence. Thirdly, the “weapon
/ counter-weapon” dynamic takes place on
two arenas. Evolving defence capabilities trigger the development of offensive weapons
and vice versa. Moreover, because an actor
can never be sure about the capabilities and
intensions of other actors, it tends to act “just
in case” and, at worst, resorts to an excessive
build-up. Finally, creating, maintaining and
using cyber weaponry is cost-efficient in comparison to more traditional weapon systems.
s ec u r i t y | T E C H F O R G O V E R N A N C E
A transformative turn in the narrative
took place in 2010. Both the United States
and Israel knew that the use of Stuxnet
might endanger human lives and still
decided for it. An important threshold
was crossed, and ever since cyber capabilities have been an essential tool in states’
politico-military toolbox. The development
of these vital capabilities should not be hindered by the inevitable counter-reaction to
ever intensifying cyberhype. Critical infrastructure, economy and people’s lives need
protection. Efficient protection requires updating not only technological capabilities,
but also, for example, legislation that regulates the use of cyber means. Nevertheless,
unnecessary intimidation should be avoided
when pushing for the up-dates.
Occasionally it seems that the evolving
cyberhype has started a competition on who
is able to scare people the most or use the
most intimidating rhetoric. The culture of
fear thus created cultivates futile anxiety
amongst people and businesses, as well as
accelerates the on-going cyber arms race
between states. In addition, cyberhype
justifies certain political, societal, security
(including military) and financial choices,
that is, it always serves somebody’s interests. For instance, it increases the sales
Image BY
All in all, cyberhype constructs the
reality as we
know it and
reminds us of
what could
of cyber security companies and reasons
global eavesdropping. On the one hand, it
enhances people’s awareness, but on the
other hand, it makes them tired of issues
with the prefix of “cyber”.
All in all, cyberhype constructs the reality
as we know it and reminds us of what could
happen. Fears and uncertainties reside
in potentiality, which is well reflected in
the metanarrative of a global cyber threat.
Yet potentiality is not the same as reality.
Acknowledgedly, cyberhype needs balancing. The balancing act should still not lead
into omission. Cyberhype is not going
to disappear from the reality we live in.
The existence of hype, however, does not
exhaust the fact that the digital world is a
domain in which strategic advantage can
be either won or lost in a short time frame.
Unnecessary emphasis on speed should
still be avoided as the unintended consequences of actions and risks caused by
retaliation may be significant. Asymmetry
prevails in cyberspace, which often grants
an advantage to the offender. In addition,
the roles of time, distance and effectiveness differ in physical and digital worlds.
The aforesaid has lead into three worrying
global trajectories. First, cyberspace has
likely turned countries more offensive as
cyber operations have been interpreted
as relatively soft (often equated with nonkinetic) actions to reach one’s goals. The
threshold to use them has hence been
lowered. Next to that, we currently live in a
grey area that emerged from the blurring of
war and peace. Obscuring of concepts also
mixes the phenomena they are expected to
describe thus making both reality and the
narrative used to describe it more unstable.
Lastly, the challenge in cyber warfare is to
differentiate between combatant and noncombatant, as well as to define the borders
of operational areas. If both war and peace
exist at the same time and if everyone is
a likely target as well as an actor in cyber
operations, nothing makes sense or can
only have a very restricted, situation bound
and constantly altering meaning.
Cyberhype calls for containment. It also
requires a transformation in security thinking towards an enhanced attention to resilience. Politicians should think less about
cyberwar and more about cyber diplomacy
in order to balance the hype.
— This article is printed with prior permission
from For more features
and opinions on information security and risk
management, please refer to Infosec Island.
October 21 2013
T E C H F O R G O V E R N A N C E | s ec u r i t y
How Can you
Expose Attacks
Many companies and organisations still don’t
have the protection they really need to safeguard
their systems
By Michelle Drolet
How do they get in?
image BY
he risk is that security is breached, typically
through manipulation
of employees using a
technique such as spear
phishing, and existing security
systems are unable to detect the
attack. Data can be harvested
for many months, or even years,
before the breach is discovered.
According to a white paper
(PDF) from the Enterprise
Strategy Group, 59 percent of
enterprise security professionals
believe their organisation has
been the target of an APT, and
40 percent of large organisations
have invested in various new
security technologies as a direct
result of APTs.
One of the most worrying aspects of APTs is that advanced attacks typically go unnoticed for over a year
Penetration may be achieved
stealthily, typically with a targeted
attack on an employee. The cybercriminal will gather data online,
with social network accounts proving to be a particularly rich source.
According to Trend Micro research (PDF), spear phishing is the
preferred method, accounting for a staggering 91 percent of targeted
attacks. The employee targeted will receive an email that appears
to come from an organization like LinkedIn, and if they trust the
October 21 2013
content, they’ll follow the link within to a fake website where they
may be tricked into allowing a cybercriminal to gain remote access
to their computer.
Once the attacker has access to one employee’s computer they can
use it to gain remote access to devices belonging to other employees
in the organisation. The threat has spread dramatically and tradi-
s ec u r i t y | T E C H F O R G O V E R N A N C E
tional security tools will be none the wiser. Provided the attacker is
careful to keep the data theft slow and steady, with frequent small
file transfers rather than a big data dump, there’s little chance that it
will be picked up by existing security systems.
How do you catch them?
The idea is to analyse downloads and network payloads in order to
expose potentially malicious communications. It’s about detecting
malware or human intrusions into your system by paying close
attention to the addresses of any communication. Does the external
location for a file transfer make sense? Does the address have a bad
reputation? Are the SSL certificates legitimate? It’s important to
expose suspicious internal communications as well. Is there any
reason that a specific employee’s computer should be the source of
a remote desktop session on another employee’s device? A proper
analysis will flag suspicious behavior and allow the IT department to
assess the threat and take action to close it down.
Keep your guard up
The nature of this threat dictates the need for constant vigilance to
keep the cybercriminals out. Shut down one route and they will continue to explore other avenues of access, the more obscure the better. There are many potential penetration points to consider. Activity
must be analyzed across the entire organisation and you need realtime information on potential attacks and known malicious sources.
How about blocking suspicious URLs and web-based content to
stop penetration from the outset? Do you have application firewalls
or database security? It’s also wise to ensure that you have data
encryption technology in place; far too many companies focus on
a Maginot line defense, pouring resources into defending against
external attacks and forgetting that if attackers do gain access they
can circumvent this security from within.
How do you know you’ve caught them?
One of the most worrying aspects of APTs is that advanced
attacks typically go unnoticed for over a year. You may be locking
the stable door after the horse has bolted. That’s why an analysis
of internal traffic is so vital. Suspicious behavior must be followed up and investigated. In the longer term you want to reach
beyond identifying and blocking attacks to unmask the criminals
responsible so that you can share intelligence to nullify their
threat. Targeted attacks are still on the rise. As governments and
large organizations begin to take action and get a handle on the
threat, there’s a real risk that many cybercriminals will look for
easier prey. Don’t allow your company to be an easy target.
About the Author: Michelle Drolet is founder of Towerwall, a
data security services provider in Framingham, MA with clients
such as PerkinElmer, Smith & Wesson, Middlesex Savings Bank,
Brown University and SMBs.
— This article is printed with prior permission from www.infosecisland.
com. For more features and opinions on information security and risk
management, please refer to Infosec Island.
October 21 2013
ken oestreich
illustration BY peterson pj
Desktops-as-aService The Rising
Tide Lifts All Ships
if you look at Gartner Research’s
2013 Hype Cycle for IT Infrastructure
and Outsourcing Services, you’ll find
Hosted Virtual Desktops (HVDs) at
the very peak of hype this year, outdistancing all other technologies.
For years HVDs were considered a
niche technology, where an outsourcing provider (typically a Managed
Service Provider or MSP) delivers
virtualized desktops from an external
source. Think: Cloud-hosted desktops.
The cloud-hosted virtual desktop segment is sometimes referred-to just as
Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) implying that the desktops are on-demand,
regardless of where they are sourced.
To date, many reasons have throttled broad adoption: Cost, user experience, network speed/latency, doubts
about reliability/availability, and
more. But the environment is changing and growing. And that growth will
be accelerating.
Analysts closely track the DaaS
market, including estimates for areas
of adoption, market size and growth
rates (see my recent Blog, How big is
the hosted desktop market?) But all of
those estimates were based on a mar-
October 21 2013
ket formed by a few vendors. By my
own estimate, Citrix’s installed base of
Service Providers currently leads the
pack in terms of worldwide partners
and installed DaaS seats. Additionally
Desktone has been vying for second
place, with TuCloud, Dincloud and
others also proliferating offerings.
An excellent (albeit year-old) assessment of the state of DaaS is the 451
Research “Desktops as a Service: New
approaches to desktop management
from cloud service providers” study.
But without a second (or third)
source of DaaS from a major
vendor besides Citrix, the perceived
market size (and customers’ comfort
to consume) has been limited. Up
until now.
Welcome to the Party
Today VMware’s End-User Computing group announced their acquisition of Desktone and its DaaS infrastructure technology. Clearly VMware
sees an opportunity to combine its
view of the cloud with the opportunity to further serve the enterprise’s
needs for desktop infrastructure. And
while Desktone is a relatively small
About the
Ken Oestreich
is a marketing
and product
veteran in the
enterprise IT and
data centre space,
with a career
spanning start-ups
to established
player in the market, VMware must
assume that aligning their technology
with their existing Horizon suite of
enterprise virtual desktops will create
a large new cash stream for the company. But this move also represents
an important step towards raising the
Tide for DaaS, toward validating and
maturing delivery of HVDs from the
cloud. VMware, as a major supplier
to Enterprise IT, has put its money
behind the bet - indicating that there
is money to be made, and that economic opportunity is outweighing
hype. In my opinion, we’ll see analysts like Gartner, IDC and 451 begin
to adjust their DaaS targets upwards,
as vendors begin to make the market.
To be sure, customers drive the decision. But they also follow reputable
vendors’ direction.
This rising tide will also be a
wake-up call to other major software
and/or cloud vendors. Think: Amazon... Think Azure... I’m betting
it may well signal that major cloud
vendors will also jump into the DaaS
game themselves. And when that happens, the market estimates will again
move upwards.
Improve office productivity
with the new A3 LaserJet MFP.
With exceptional speed and wireless direct print#, take your office
efficiency to the next level—print, scan, and copy quickly on paper
sizes up to A3. Introducing HP LaserJet Pro MFP M435nw.
To know more, Call 1800 4254 999; SMS �LASERAIO’ to 56070;
The new generation A3, HP LaserJet Pro MFP M435nw
• Print speed of 30 ppm (A4)
• Mobile printing: HP ePrint*, wireless direct# and step-in USB
• Super compact dimension
• A3 format
*Requires an Internet connection to the printer. Feature works with any connected Internet and email-capable device. Requires HP Web Services Account Registration. Print times
may vary. For a list of supported documents, and image types, see And for additional solutions, see
Mobile device must be wireless-enabled. Printer must be HP ePrint-enabled. Feature may require driver or apps, available for download at
В©2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. September 2013.