Let's Face IT

DQI Bureau
New Update

Indian enterprises are, without doubt, on an all time high in

their growth. Just as the enterprises are scaling up their IT infrastructure to

support their business growth, manage global networks, and different

applications, their CIOs are realizing the magnitude of the problems in the

process. The challenges and solutions were deliberated in an Infrastructure

Summit organized by Dataquest across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and

Kolkata. Over 200 CIOs discussed the issues threadbare with an August panel in

each city in a bid to find ways and means for the challenges in the process.


Government Raises its IT Stake

Widespread scaling up of IT infrastructure has not just touched the Indian
corporates, but also the Government sectors. Prakash Kumar, joint secretary,

Ministry of Ocean Development, Government of India, informed, "IT

deployment in the government sectors have undergone a complete paradigm shift,

from simple AMCs to complete outsourcing." Initiatives taken by the

Government under the NEGP have opened up opportunities for the private sector in

terms of IT investments in collaboration with the Government.


Infrastructure Now High on the Government Agenda:

Ashis Sanyal (L) prescribed the need to have an e-readiness index, while

Prakash Kumar (R) suggested that IT vendors have a major role to play in

collaboration with the government

While delivering the keynote address in Kolkata, Ashis Sanyal,

director, DIT, recounting from his experience of over 30 years in managing IT

infrastructure in the Government sectors, said, "The Government is striving

to proliferate various IT applications across the country. But, because of the

vast geographical spread, allocating resources like time, effort and money pose

major challenges, and these have to be resolved with utmost diligence." To

maintain some sort of e-readiness index is absolutely necessary for the

Government under the current circumstances, felt the man responsible for all the

SWANs across different States.

Former IT Secretary of Delhi Government, Kumar, in his keynote

address in the Delhi Summit, elaborated on the work of the Delhi Government in

establishing the IT infrastructure for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He was

particularly involved in setting up many infrastructures including broadband,

website as well as their management to the tourism and travel industry. Quoting

examples from the Sydney and Beijing Olympics, Kumar emphasized that a model

needs to be worked out for managing such a large-scale games event.


Corporate Heads Admit Concerns

The technology sector itself, including both the IT and BPO segments, have
traditionally been one of the biggest users of IT. As they scale up their IT

infrastructure, they have started encountering a myriad of challenges. These

were elucidated by the three other keynote speakers: Jitendra Kulkarni, head of

Redington India and India's #2 IT distributor in Chennai and Bangalore (Kulkarni

has subsequently left Redington); Atul Kunwar, CEO, Transworks; and Lalit

Sawhney, CEO, Creative IT, in Mumbai.


Raised Today's Pertinent Issues:
Lalit Sawhney

(L) stressed on disaster management, while Jitendra Kulkarni (R) focused

on how HR issues could impact an organization's IT infrastructure

For IT infrastructure management, Kulkarni expressed a different

take in terms of his main concern. "Scarcity of skilled people is

definitely a major issue as IT is one area where retaining good quality people

is very difficult. There is a continuous churn of people, who either get trained

and move out of the country or are picked up by MNCs. So, mid and low end

companies are finding it very difficult to retain good technical

resources," he opined. When it comes to IT infrastructure investments, it

is very difficult for organizations to exactly arrive at what is the return on

training and retaining efficient workers. Often it is noticed that there is no

direct linkage between the bottom line impact and the stake involved. Taking

this crucial HR factor into perspective, Kulkarni prescribed that IT investment

could be divided into two parts. One is the defensive kind of investment, which

is more internally focused, and the other is offensive, which is more strategic

in nature and focuses towards the customer or the market in competition.


Kunwar provided with new definitions on IT infrastructure

management. "Execution excellence is required not just to manage the

hardware infrastructure, but also for various applications, and also to ensure

organizations work seamlessly. The buzzwords in IT infrastructure management,

therefore, have to be execution, orientation and actionable intelligence."

Though IT infrastructure management is the most important factor as all business

activities depend upon it, planning and carrying out projects to ensure

effective management of IT are often typically undervalued to the detriment of

the organizations. The management concerns also found resonance in the Kolkata

panel discussion when Abhrajit De of Haldia Petrochemicals said that effective

application management could often overcome some deficiencies in infrastructure.

Sawhney, a veteran with several large enterprises including

Hindustan Lever and Reliance, provided a fresh perspective related to IT and

disaster management. "There has to be a proper setup for disaster recovery

in a documented fashion knowing that each disaster is always of a different

kind. All the CIOs need to work in a direction to mitigate the risks, make sure

that there are enough systems and processes to be put on ground in a manner that

every time there is a maintenance upgrade and expansion, and there are no fall

backs. Moreover, while reducing duplication of efforts every thing works like

clockwork" He also suggested that the opportunities of lowering

infrastructure costs and operation costs should be taken into account and CIOs

should try to focus on them.


Dr Subir Roy of NIC, Kolkata (L)

and Abhrajit De of Haldia Petrochemicals, Kolkata (R) emphasized that

effective application management can often overcome infrastructure


In the Kolkata panel discussion, Abhrajit De explained the

importance of IT management software, which is becoming crucial for enterprises

and service providers who want to dynamically align their businesses and IT

services, achieve greater control over their IT infrastructure, and ensure an

improved user or customer experience. "IT managers must have the processes

and tools in place to ensure that the infrastructure keeps pace with business

needs and provides guaranteed levels of service at predetermined costs," he


Recognizing the inevitability and the importance of outsourcing

IT infrastructure management, CN Ram of HDFC Bank emphasized on the security

aspect. "There is probably a lot more hype about the security issue and

actual security problems. It is appreciable that ever since automation started

to hit the financial industry, there has been a lot of work done on security.

These range from combating internal security, which is collusion and fraud to

things like maker-checker concept. Ever since Internet banking has come in

vogue, security issues have gained further importance." At the end of the

day, even while outsourcing, a balanced perspective is necessary, keeping in

mind that the finance industry and risks go together.


orientation and actionable intelligence
are going to be the new

buzzwords in IT infrastructure management, says Atul Kunwar

Veteran CIOs debated on the pros and cons of outsourcing

IT infrastructure management to third parties

Shall we get lucky with our IT infrastructure? Seems to be

the question most delegates were debating between themselves


Anwar Baghdadi of Countrywide Financials felt that the

infrastructure should be such that they are able to take care of the ease and

flexibility of people working around that infrastructure. Thus, nothing changes

even if business-outsourcing activities change. All that it requires is a

framework, ensuring that there is an interconnection of a virtual mechanism to

the organizational structure. Albert Herbert of Wockhardt Hospitals believes

that outsourcing is also strongly dependent on the technology behind it.

Managing the IT infrastructure as a loosely interconnected group of components

is no longer sufficient. Rather, the infrastructure must be managed from the

viewpoint of the lines of business it supports. Specifically, IT managers must

have the means and tools to ensure that the infrastructure keeps pace with

business needs and provides guaranteed levels of service at predetermined costs.

Some other common pertinent issues emerged from the various

panel discussions. These include problems like tracking, controlling and making

the most cost-effective use of the ever growing and ever more complex mix of IT

assets. Secondly, CIOs are facing the challenge of ensuring availability of

external services and integrating them with internal service solutions. And

lastly, streamlining the daily activity workflow for a more proactive work

pattern and the implementation of new initiatives in a timely fashion is

gradually becoming a sine qua non for these CIOs. All the IT heads also need to

strive to achieve centralized management, controlling the IT environment, be it

infrastructure or outsourcing infrastructure management.

Manogyata Narayan