I always say three things to people which I believe and follow – to be successful, you need to have perseverance, passion in whatever you do and most importantly have patience
This is an exclusive interview conducted by Santosh Vaswani, Content Writer & Editor at CIO News with the President & Global Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS), Mr. Subramanya C, on his professional journey.
How did you plan your career path to be a successful CIO?
Well! The plan for my career path dates back to the early 1980s when I was in my high school and I decided to get into the IT industry. This was my first major and the best decisions of my life. The IT leaders in those days were my inspiration and all different kinds of available reading materials forecasted the potential growth of the sector. These two factors were major triggers for me to choose my career path of becoming an IT professional.
Now, the next big decision was to choose specialization within the IT sector. In the early 2000, outsourcing boom had begun in India, and it started becoming known as the ‘back office of the world’. The growth opportunities in the back-office service business were immense and therefore, I decided to specialize into ‘IT Infrastructure’ during my academics and completed my Masters in ‘Services Sector’.
IT Infrastructure was something that really interested me and in line with it, I started my career with Eiko Computers. I joined Eiko as an Assistant Engineer and stayed with the company for one year. After Eiko, my next job was at Zenith Computers. This company was all about local area networking (LAN). At Zenith, a lot was there to learn on networking and after spending a year, I moved to take on another networking job in a big way at Crompton Greaves. I joined Crompton in the year 1989 as Networking Engineer where we used to build networks for government, defense, corporates, etc. Crompton was at its peak and the third best System Integrator in the country back in the year 2000. The same year, three of us – two of my senior colleagues and I decided to move on after taking the company to its peak. I was the second in command at Crompton when I left.
After Crompton, I started hearing a lot of job offers from multiple companies and finally I was handpicked by Ashok Leyland Information Technology which is currently known as Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) where I presently work. HGS was always part of the Hinduja Group and I’ve spent more than two decades with the company now. Joined as a Senior Manager in 2000 and moved up the ladder in 20 years to become the President and Global CTO of the organization. This has been an extra-ordinary journey wherein I’ve seen both organic and inorganic growth in the company. I’ve created datacenters, set-up security operation center and built networks for offshoring, onshoring and created systems/process for right-shoring. It has been a long journey where I’ve been a part of variety of transitions. Had it been a short tenure I would not have seen this incredible journey at HGS. I always believe in staying in a company to make things happen.
Key Business Priorities at HGS
When you draw a vision for IT, it needs to be aligned with the company’s vision. Typically, third party BPM organization has companies within company. Therefore, we need to be aligned to the vision of not only our company but to our customer’s vision as well. We need to plan the IT model for our company, collaborate with the IT leaders of the customer organization and build it such a way that we will be aligned with their business.
Our mission statement is to make our customers more competitive. This means that our customers have to be more competitive for them to be winning in their place which will help us win and sustain in our business.
We started as a call center player and over the years, we’ve moved up the ladder. From call center offerings to now we’ve started providing digital services not only for our customers but for their end consumers in different manner such as managing the social media channels with different tools and technologies which is best in the market. In a nutshell, we’re a neutral and omni-channel service providers. For offering services, deploying technology is not enough we also need skilled workforce. Therefore, we get the right people to manage and service using the right tools.
The US has been our major market wherein we do business acquisitions, and the service deliveries are from multiple geographies – India, UK, US, Jamaica, Philippines and Canada. We service the customers as per their preference. If they want us to be local, we’ll be local. We align ourselves based on the needs of the customer.
What are the digital technologies that you plan to implement in your company?
The word digital is very broad. We need to identify from digitization to digitalization and create referenceable case studies by building center of excellence (COE) internally and to our customers.
The disruption created by digital has been embraced by all of us. At HGS, we extensively use digital technologies such as AI, ML, Analytics, Automation and NLP based on the requirement. Our COE team reviews multiple offerings in the market and builds expertise for creating a basket of services.
What are the challenges faced by CTOs?
The major challenge is the mindset of the organization. The organization must have an open mindset to excel in digitalization. Change is one of the most difficult facts to accept when you’re in your comfort zone and for companies to accept they need to embrace change. Therefore, open mindset across the levels in an organization is important to be successful.
Organizations have to collaborate across department and hierarchies to successfully implement new initiatives including Digitalization. For a successful digital adoption, we need to think through, implement, adopt change, have an open mindset and be a lot more collaborative than what used to be earlier.
Best practices for other CTOs
One of the most important ingredients for success is that CTOs must have a buy-in from the organization about the change they’re wanting to bring without compromising on the security. Speed is the essence of the game and CTOs need to be ahead of the game, being over conservative is not an option. While building or designing anything for a customer, there must be a detailed study, evaluation, and pilot execution before aggressive roll out.
You need to have passion for everything you do. I always say three things to people which I believe and follow – to be successful, you need to have perseverance, passion in whatever you do and most importantly have patience
Any other points
Change is what people have to embrace. Don’t be a surface level thinker, always deep dive, let your hands get wet, if not you’ll not be able to achieve something. You must be aware of what you know and what you don’t and always be ready for learning and being relevant.
CIO News, a proprietary of Mercadeo, produces award-winning content and resources for IT leaders across any industry through print articles and recorded video interviews on topics in the technology sector such as Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud, Robotics, Cyber-security, Data, Analytics, SOC, SASE, among other technology topics.