Availability, leverage and use of data is being focused on, along with the focus on quality of data: Ashok Cherian, Page Industries

Page Industries Limited, along with brand JOCKEY, has pioneered the innerwear and athleisure industry on many fronts.

Aanchal Ghatak
New Update
lending sector

Page Industries is an Indian manufacturer and retailer of innerwear, loungewear and socks. It is the exclusive licensee of Jockey International in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar. In 2011, it licensed Speedo swimwear from Pentland Group for India and Sri Lanka.


Ashok Cherian, Chief Information Officer (CIO), tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

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DQ: How has Page Industries been performing over 2021 and now, 2022? Elaborate.


Ashok Cherian: I am proud to be associated with Page Industries, a clear leader. Born as a leader and always a leader, the years 2021 and 2022 was associated with the highest ever sales, profitability and shareholder wealth. During this period, the company has bought in some great products in line with the mission of ‘satisfying the human need for comfort’, expanded its trade network, and continues to drive the iconic brand JOCKEY to greater heights.

DQ: How are you keeping up with the ever-increasing demands for transformation?

Ashok Cherian: Yes, the transformational need is ‘ever increasing’, and also, increasingly challenging. It is interesting to state that almost all of our strategic business plans and initiatives are dependent on digital transformation. We have a great business leadership team with a great vision and the IT work in a close-knit partnership model with the business. Many technologies, including cloud, and models like ‘SaaS’, are adding fuel to our speed. We keep trying to raise the bar to deliver value to our business partners.

DQ: How are you integrating customer experience into IT deliverables? How is it helping in advanced customer experience?


Ashok Cherian: Our brand and all the connects are experiential. We plan out IT systems keeping in mind the customer and the needs and aspirations of the customer. With this delivery model and strategy all our projects get prioritized with the customer in mind. Every investment is measured in terms of the customer delight and accordingly prioritized and we strive always to keep our goals linked to customer experience.

DQ: How are you managing growing cybersecurity, and data privacy threats?

Ashok Cherian: Our security tagline in “Owned by Employee -- Powered by Technology”. Information security and cyber security are areas of strategic importance, and are reviewed right at the board level. We have completed a comprehensive security posture assessment and have taken multiple steps to protect our digital and corporate assets. We also believe in the need to spread awareness among our employees and there are very many initiatives to augment that stream as well.

DQ: How are CIOs seeing advancing organizational use of data as key to reaching enterprise objectives?


Ashok Cherian: Unlocking value, monetizing and synergizing are the key thought strategies that we work on in terms of leveraging data. The availability, leverage and use of data is being focused on, along with the focus on quality of data. We are working on a ‘360 degree one view of the customer’ agenda where all the data points are harnessed to get insights to support our customer delight journey.

While the agenda and the focus is clear, there are many hurdles like master data quality, integration among platforms and modules etc which we  are systematically overcoming.

DQ: How are you maturing the enterprise cloud strategy?

Ashok Cherian: Cloud is clearly the future, and we have a clear strategy of application modernization and revamp to make it happen. We have many of our critical workloads now in the cloud, and for the new applications, cloud is definitely the preferred option. There is also a considerable push given to the SaaS agenda, and the pay-per-use cloud model is working quite well for Page. I do not see any issue in getting to a near 100% cloud adoption status in the medium term.


DQ: What are the geopolitical impacts on the tech stack? How are you handling that?

Ashok Cherian: With ‘data becoming the new oil’ and ‘digital disruptions impacting governments and countries’ we do keep a track on the emerging factors in this space. Governments across the world are getting more into digital governance and bilateral ties are becoming critical. None of the CIOs would want to face disruptions and the challenge with the disruptions can become difficult to handle as we have very less control over this space.

What we do is to assess every product or solution getting on-boarded from this angle and we also keep a track on the merging situations impacting the current stack to minimize risks.

DQ: How are you managing and powering through the turbulence -- brought by Covid-19, inflation, supply chain issues, etc?


Ashok Cherian: Turbulence brings the best out of you. That’s the case for Page. The results talk for itself and it is indeed reassuring. Strong Page DNA, Culture and Values has helped us steer this turbulence and digital capabilities have made it more scalable and sustainable. Supply chain was impacted like any other player, but our wide range of products and focused attention helped much in minimizing the damage.

DQ: How is the digital adoption and employee training in your company?

Ashok Cherian: Digital appetite is very high which helps adoption. Every change is challenging, and we deploy multiple strategies and partnering models to make the change more palatable and enjoyable. Training is indeed an area of continued focus, and this definitely is a cornerstone for awareness and understanding. An informed employee is what we target and there are many formal and informal methods being deployed to achieve this.


DQ: How has been the move from CIO 1.0 to CIO 2.0, and beyond?

Ashok Cherian: It has been a long, 15-years plus that I have had the fortune of being a CIO. For me, it’s not just 1.0 to 2.0! I have seen many more twists, turns and transformations in the process. But, I believe the single biggest reason for being able to ride this wave has been my own business acumen and focus on partnership with business. IT has moved on from being an ‘order taker’ to becoming a ‘trusted partner’.

Today, organizations look up to the CIO to wear multiple hats moving beyond  the traditional IT domain. The journey will become more enjoyable and fruitful when you have great teams working along, with upright and reliable vendor partners along with engaged business partners, all of them working towards the same goal. 

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