'CIO of India' Series

This is the second part of the 'CIO of India' series, featuring blogs from some of the Indian CIOs, sharing their vision, mission and strategy as the country's CIO, showcasing what they will bring to the table, and trying to convince why they are an ideal candidate for the job.


This blog is written by Arun Gupta, CIO, Cipla.

India is a country of 1.2 billion dreams; representing an equilibrium that is the envy of the world with its social, religious, and economic diversity that many find difficult to comprehend. From global multinationals rising from India, to being the global IT service provider of envy, to an emerging market of middle class aspirants for global retailers and consumer goods, to start ups mushrooming and rain-dependent agriculture rounding off the complexity that India represents. 

The truest measure of any government's success is the value that it creates for its citizens, communities and businesses. Driven by policy and implemented with good governance, the government can put the country in an advantageous position. It is vital for the government to leverage the power of technology and engage its citizens to make government services more effective, accessible, and transparent.

Today--more than ever--it is imperative to rely on information technology to help our fellow citizens maximize value. It is in this new era of technology-enabled transformation, where the CIO of India will play an increasingly important role.

However, being a government CIO is not an easy job. The CIO of India role would be the most challenging assignment for any individual with multitude of stakeholders across central and state government, gram panchayats and public sector enterprises, last but not the least the citizens representing a very diverse set of needs. The position is important from a perspective that India is at the cusp of transformation where citizen empowerment and transparency becomes quite important on progress, challenges, and status of various initiatives.

To architect, orchestrate and enable this using IT would be an opportunity of a lifetime. 

Will I fit the bill and what value will I bring to the table? I have a diverse experience from industries big and small, and have worked with family owned businesses as well as MNCs. I have hands on experience on local and global IT projects that have equipped me with depth and breadth of experience, and will prove to be an advantage for this role.

I have learnt that there are no short cuts in IT; everything that should be done well takes extensive planning and flawless execution. This learning has ensured a high success rate for me that delivered to promise. Having mentored and nurtured a few startups in the past, I realize that India offers immense opportunity to the dreamer. All that is required is the right stimulus and platform. Farming out to the IT industry ecosystem can create the foundation of technology and innovation that creates new possibilities.

My Vision 

To make India the benchmark on how governments can use technology to help the economy, citizens and the industry.

My Mission

• Create a technology enabled information framework to provide a sustainable and efficient interconnected architecture enabling good governance. 

• Provide on demand access to services and information to key stakeholders, internal and external, on their terms. 

• Be a partner in progress to the government, industry and citizens.

Top Three Priorities

Priority # 1: Consolidation of project portfolios across all local, state, and central government to find synergies and collaboration opportunities on common deliverables. For example, every state government does not need a new set of technology solutions to cater to land/property data and associated processes; or for that matter payment of state levies.

Priority # 2:  Harmonized and accountable deliverables for projects and KPIs. In developed economies and countries, Governments are the largest buyers and consumers of IT globally; power derived out of position and siloes create inefficiencies. These can be easily tackled with centralized and/or matrix governance.

Priority # 3:  Citizen enabling self-service for all types of services in phased manner. IT and connectivity can enable access to education and healthcare as well as environmental information that the farmers can depend on.

The Indian government has invested significantly in IT over the last decade. Many global and local IT giants have been vying for government projects, though their success rate has not been available to assess whether there has been an optimal use of resources. The structure of our government and associated complexity requires holistic thinking and unified planning. Leveraging existing developments, enhancing them to enable the bureaucracy and empowering the citizens are the need of the hour. This requires central leadership, vision and engagement that the CIO can enable.


Having worked across industries, I believe that the diversity of my experience and learning would serve well in adapting to the role. I would sum it up in the following points:

•Clear vision and strategy which has collective buy-in and timelines

•Active management of key projects that have the highest impact to business

•Crisp and clear communication to all stakeholders of where we are and where we are going

•Sustained participation of key stakeholders with no delegation (read abdication) of responsibility

•Build a team that understands interdependencies and works as a team

 (Image courtesy: www.mangoblossomdesign.com)

Categories: Leadership

About Author

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Arun Gupta

Arun Gupta is Managing Partner & Director at Ingenium Advisory. Arun has been the CIO of Cipla, one of the ...

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