'CIO of India' Series: First 100 Days in Office as CIO of India

This is the second part of the blog written by V.S. Parthasarathy, CFO and Group CIO, Mahindra and Mahindra for the 'CIO of India' series.

Everything must have a definite timeline. I believe a '100-days' plan would be ideal to kick start the planning process - neither too short to test waters and understand the processes nor too long to be unable to see ahead.


In my previous blog (Steering India to Success: Can a CIO Stake Claim?) I had listed down my top six priorities after assuming the office of CIO of India. These priorities will drive my 100-days plan, and it will be 100 percent action-oriented.


•To me, this is the first job of a CIO - to say what he should do, must do, cannot do, and also must-not do. It is almost like the first constitution of India. This clearly states the things that can be done in the state and those that can be done in the centre. It's absolutely critical to define the centre-state relationship along with the task force and a governing council. The foremost task would be to create an architecture where both the centre and the states collaborate and support rather than confront. IT is neither a state nor a central subject. Within IT - there are facets - some of which are central and others are for the states. So, they must collaborate to succeed.


Identify some quick wins. Showcase certain projects that have a huge 'pull' effect and have the potential to catalyze other projects. So, I have picked some initiatives, which I believe would be huge in terms of scale of impact. This could include a Virtual Hospital Network, a National Portal for Basic Needs, a National Knowledge Network and Connected Cities. This needs to be supported by enabling computerization of the Panchayat Office, accompanied by effective programs for skill upgradation. We also need to create effective local designs for labour intensive works, to build rural infrastructure.


Establish a backbone for mobility, analytics and Big Data. Create a Centre for Excellence structure around these areas.


•The role of the CIO of India would be to add on or facilitate improvements in processes, rather than completely change the process. As a national level function, IT can help change the paradigm and lead the nation to greater heights of excellence.


Replicating My Learning


There are various things that I have learnt during the course of my extensive career as an enterprise CIO that can be replicated to the job of CIO of India. This gets derived from the experience of running a federated organization, driven by common policies and guidelines that drive synergy, and yet at the same time provide freedom to the individual units to operate as separate entities.


•Any office of the CIO needs a structure in place before the activity begins. I would first set up a three-tier architecture (which we have here in our office) that would include:

i)Strategic Leadership Council - Viewing the big picture and approving the projects. State and centre decision makers should jointly sign-off on the projects. Even though centre cannot exist without state, it drives the projects at the country level.

ii)Technology Leadership Council - Selection and adoption of right-fit technology. CIOs of all the states should form this council and approve the projects.

iii)Cross Functional Team - Deriving initiatives and planning execution of each.


•Second thing to replicate would be a Talent Management Council. Searching out the talent and fitting it into the positions would be the next thing on the agenda.


•Third thing would be to form a common platform for technology partners who would participate in executing the projects countrywide.


Fast changing technology will transform the world at the blink of an eye. However, we need to manage the change that we can control and not run behind it.

Categories: Leadership

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V S Parthasarathy

V.S. Parthasarathy joined Mahindra & Mahindra in 2000 as Head of Performance Management and IT. He worked his way ...

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