CIOs Unravel Data Strategies, Challenges, Opportunities, and Innovations Explored in Data Management

Prominent CIOs delve into strategies for navigating vast data reservoirs, fostering innovation, and enhancing customer experiences.

Aanchal Ghatak
New Update


In an era where businesses are propelled by digital evolution, the imperative of data-driven strategies for a competitive edge becomes evident. Minu Sirsalewala, the esteemed Executive Editor at Dataquest, gracefully welcomed attendees, guests, and fervent tech enthusiasts to the grand event. This event, a celebration of Dataquest's four decades of excellence, is aptly titled "Building a Data Foundation for Innovation," where luminaries harness technology to confront global challenges using data as a powerful ally. A symphony of ideas, technology, and innovation is set to unfold in this elegant setting. The agenda was a captivating exploration, featuring industry pioneers, thought leaders, and technology enthusiasts. Join us in navigating the uncharted territories of innovation, exploring how revolutionary business models centered around data can reshape industries.


Prabhakar Venugopal, Director-Sales at Hitachi Vantara, addressed the Dataquest CXO conference on the topic of "Building a Data Foundation for Innovation." He highlighted the exponential growth of data and the shift from being data-rich to data-driven. Venugopal emphasized the challenges organizations face in managing diverse data types across various platforms, such as edge, cloud, and data centers.

He discussed six ways organizations utilize data to become data-driven, focusing on obtaining insights for customer engagement, product design, operational optimization, automation, and ecosystem insights. Venugopal stressed the importance of Hitachi Vantara's role in providing a foundation for innovation amid this data-driven future. The company, as part of the Hitachi Group, invests significantly in R&D, with a focus on AI and digital transformation.

Venugopal outlined three key layers in building a data foundation for innovation. The first layer involves data infrastructure at the hybrid cloud level, catering to on-premises, public cloud, or private cloud scenarios. The second layer is the data orchestration layer, leveraging AI to automate tasks and reduce manual efforts in managing data centers. The third layer focuses on the digital transformation experience, ensuring organizations operate in a data-driven manner with guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs) and AI-driven predictability.


He presented Hitachi Vantara's offerings in data protection and governance, emphasizing a 100% data availability guarantee. The company's solutions also address challenges like ransomware attacks, promising quick recovery times for applications. Venugopal highlighted the company's success with top insurance companies and banks globally, showcasing its expertise in providing a confluence of IT and OT experience to customers. He concluded by emphasizing the sustainability aspect, highlighting the continuous efforts to reduce carbon footprint in Hitachi Vantara's IT platform.

In a dynamic panel discussion moderated by Minu Sirsalewala, Executive Editor at Dataquest, prominent Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from leading organizations shared their perspectives on data strategies. Vinod Khode of Varroc Engineering, Rajeev Mittal of Endurance Technologies, Rahul Shivram Mergu of Markets & Markets, Abhirup Bhattacharjee of Chellaram Hospital-Diabetes Care & Multispecialty, and Sanjay Agrawal of Hitachi Vantara delved into the challenges, opportunities, and innovations in the ever-evolving landscape of data management and utilization. Explore the insights and strategies unveiled by these industry leaders as they navigate the intricate realm of data in their respective domains.

The panel's mission was clear – to unravel the strategies organizations employ to navigate their vast data reservoirs, fostering innovation and monetization for an enriched customer experience.


The panel commenced with Vinod Khode, CIO, Varroc Enginnering, tier one auto component manufacturer, expressing gratitude and offering insights into the automotive industry. His organization, a prominent Indian multinational, spans multiple countries and anticipates a robust revenue of 7000 fiber and processor this year. Vinod outlined their data-driven journey, spotlighting the pivotal decision to migrate the data center to the cloud for enhanced stability and execution speed. Over the last four and a half years, they meticulously identified subject areas, prioritized teams, defined KPIs, and implemented robust governance methods. Vinod stressed the cultural shift required for widespread adoption and concluded by emphasizing the ongoing nature of this data-driven journey.

Rajeev Mittal, the CIO of Endurance Technologies Limited, followed suit, shedding light on the auto component space. With 31 manufacturing plants across India and Europe, Rajeev underscored the industry's significant data generation, particularly in manufacturing. He emphasized the intrinsic connection between technology, data, and supporting business growth. Endurance Technologies is currently immersed in a digital transformation, focusing on automating processes and integrating with key partners to propel organizational efficiency.

Rahul, a seasoned VP at Markets and Markets, shared his extensive 22-year journey in IT infrastructure across various industries. He acknowledged the organization's focus on building data-driven infrastructure and improvements over the last five to seven years. A keen participant in the upcoming discussions, Rahul's expertise promised to delve into the intricacies of their data-driven strategies.


Abhirup, responsible for Information Technology at Chellaram Hospital and Diabetes Institute, offered insights from the healthcare sector. Facing the challenge of integrating various applications working in silos, Abhirup detailed ongoing efforts to upgrade systems for data-driven insights. He emphasized the importance of training programs to overcome resistance within the healthcare organization and align workflows with the benefits of data-driven insights for patient treatment.

Sanjay Agrawal, representing Hitachi Vantara, brought a perspective rooted in digital transformation, data center modernization, and cloud journeys. Sanjay underscored the challenges faced in demonstrating the incremental value of data to top management. He distinguished between being data-rich and data-driven, citing a real-world example from the banking sector. Additionally, Sanjay raised the critical question of resource allocation, urging organizations to shift focus toward innovation in data management.

Minu, acknowledging the rich insights shared by the panelists, encouraged an interactive discussion. Vinod Khode, continuing his contribution, outlined challenges in adopting a data-driven strategy. He stressed the necessity of a cultural shift, treating data as an asset, and ensuring its quality for effective decision-making. Rajeev Mittal expanded on the discussion, delving into the organizational objective of automating processes. He likened the challenges to historical instances of resistance during technological transitions, emphasizing the need for buy-in and a broad change management strategy.


Rajiv Mittal provided insights into change management, highlighting the initial resistance from busy individuals and drawing parallels with historical shifts in technology adoption. He emphasized the role of technology in enhancing efficiency and productivity, urging organizations to recognize its potential.

Rahul, echoing the sentiment of embracing challenges as opportunities, detailed the planning and securing of data in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. He emphasized the importance of a robust infrastructure, security integrations, and a phased approach to managing large volumes of data at Markets and Markets.

Abhirup illuminated the challenges in the healthcare sector, particularly in integrating data-driven systems and overcoming resistance within the organization. He underscored the importance of training programs and efforts to convince healthcare professionals of the benefits of data-driven insights for patient treatment.


Sanjay Agrawal, reiterated the challenges faced by CIOs in showcasing the value of data-driven initiatives to top management. He emphasized the need to flip the resource allocation ratio, directing a more significant portion toward innovation and actionable insights.

Rahul and Abhirup highlighted the significance of integrating unstructured data with structured data to enhance insights and predictive analysis. They emphasized the importance of combining diverse data types for a comprehensive understanding of business dynamics. Rajeev underscored the necessity of well-defined systems and structured data to facilitate effective analysis and decision-making. In contrast, Vinod brought attention to the democratization of business intelligence through AI-powered tools, making data more accessible and user-friendly for a broader audience within the organization. The panel collectively recognized the synergies between structured and unstructured data, acknowledging their collaborative role in driving informed decision-making processes.

Rahul and Abhirup delved into the challenges and opportunities of data governance and security, each offering insights from their respective industries. Rahul, with a financial industry background, emphasized the crucial role of data governance and compliance, highlighting their significance in maintaining regulatory adherence and building stakeholder trust. Abhirup, representing the healthcare sector, underscored the criticality of data security and encryption in safeguarding sensitive patient information. Both experts stressed the need for robust measures to ensure data integrity and confidentiality. The panel collectively acknowledged the importance of distributing data management and security responsibilities across organizations, fostering a collaborative approach for effective data privacy and security.

In a session by Mandar Bhide, Technical & Solutions Lead at Hitachi Vantara, during the Dataquest CXO conference on "Building a Data Foundation for Innovation," he discussed the road to hybrid cloud solutions. The presentation explored the future of hybrid cloud solutions and the innovative possibilities in this space. Mandar emphasized the importance of digital transformation, particularly in the context of data-driven decision-making and the integration of technologies like IoT and AI. He highlighted key considerations such as data richness, data-driven approaches, and the evolving landscape of digital transformation. The talk also touched on challenges related to data security, compliance, and cost optimization in the context of adopting cloud solutions. Mandar outlined four pillars for successful digital transformation: evolving and modernizing applications, gaining insights from data, ensuring operational coherency, and choosing the right platform. The session aimed to set the stage for further discussions and collaboration between organizations and Hitachi Vantara in navigating the complexities of the digital transformation journey.