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November 22, 2012

The CIO Mandate: Transform

Posted by Chandra Shekar Kakal (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:28 AM


Recently, Infosys was selected as sole partner by one of Europe's top insurers to run their strategic IT services; but with a difference. We are contracted to help them, over a period of 7 years, not just with IT activities but to transform and execute allied customer-facing operations as well. This was followed by a similar move by a consumer products giant. They struck a 5-year deal with us not just for application maintenance, but to manage all their indirect procurement and business processes, in 15 different languages, impacting customers across 100 countries. These are not just two stray instances. I can clearly see the trend. In a fragile global economy, as enterprises find their value chains increasingly pressured, CIOs - alongside business - are taking on the transformation mandate and helping strengthen the value chain.

One of the CIO's chosen strategies is integrated sourcing for business IT services.

Down the years, I've worked out contracts with clients who chose to run their business supported largely by 'tower-wise outsourcing'. By 'tower-wise', I mean entrust infrastructure management to one partner, perhaps business process outsourcing to another, package implementation to a third, maintenance of these applications to a fourth partner and so on. Today, I see these towers slowly crumbling. CIOs are looking to hand over, not just stacks of IT service responsibilities to qualified vendors, but vest charge - ranging from infrastructure management to applications development and maintenance, including business process outsourcing - to one able partner. And then hold that one partner accountable, not just for stack-wise IT program success, but for business outcomes enabled by corresponding service level agreements. This way, the CIO's outsourcing partners directly impact the enterprise's business transformation agenda.

So, who is best equipped to support this emerging CIO strategy? Naturally, it's those technology partners who have integrated business IT services to offer; bringing together service lines like application development maintenance, ERP package maintenance, infrastructure management, validation services, Business Process Outsourcing and all that seamlessly to create greater synergy and deliver on enterprises' business mandate - not just the technology program mandate. I am also inclined to believe that technology service providers who take a hard look between the crevices that divide their services are better equipped to create value. Consider, for instance, how it's conventional for the CIO to engage partners for infrastructure management and then application testing. Now think of the value to be unearthed when this same partner takes on the onus for infrastructure validation. No, not just for independent validation of applications or just infrastructure management, but end-to-end infrastructure testing to help the CIO deliver reliable and efficient infrastructure at all times. And what if this testing is so mature that it can address risk diagnostics and even disaster recovery readiness? And all of this good stuff across the entire enterprise IT infrastructure - on private Cloud, public Cloud and the on-premise portfolio? 

Now, isn't it easy to see why the CIO might want to look beyond the boundaries of individual IT services and integrate sourcing to transform the value chain?

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