It is the best time to invest in technology and make it agile, says Ranjeet Bellary, Partner at EY

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It is the best time to invest in technology and make it agile, says Ranjeet Bellary, Partner at EY
It is the best time to invest in technology and make it agile, says Ranjeet Bellary, Partner at EY

Instead of saying “we could have done something more and better” after a mishap, move the digital technology transformation from your priority checklist to the “right now” list

When asked how he planned his career path to be a successful technology leader, Ranjeet Bellary, Partner at EY, in an exclusive interview with CIO News, said, “I completed my engineering in Computer Science and had a strong liking for the technology area, which involved using the latest programming and analytical skills to help solve business problems.” I started my career in analytics and forensic technology in 2004 with Deloitte. At that time, forensics technology was a new area, and I saw a lot of potential in this area in terms of growth and opportunities for myself. I developed deep technical skills in this area by working on complex projects both in India and the USA, which helped me become an SME within a short period of time. One important part of being in this field was to have a constant learning mindset, especially in understanding different types of electronic media and software to help address client needs. I completed certifications in specialised technologies to help build my credentials in the market. In early 2012, I joined EY to help build the market in the India region for electronic discovery and cyber forensics. Within a few years, I built a strong brand for EY in India by helping build a world-class Cyber Forensics and Discovery lab to help cater to the complex technological needs of our clients. This lab helps serve as a hub for EY in forensics not only in India but also in emerging markets.

When asked about challenges he faced in his career path and how he overcame them, he said, “Some of the challenges I faced included choosing a very niche area within technology like Cyber Forensics, which was unheard of in professional services.” It took me some time to learn this new technology, and I spent a lot of time training myself to help master various tools associated with forensics. A lot of the projects in forensics involve delivering within a short period of time as we need to adhere to court deadlines, especially in critical disputes or litigation projects for our clients. This meant working continuously for a period of a few weeks to months without a break in order to deliver as per the stipulated timelines. Another challenge is that there was no demand for this skill set in India as the technology was used more by countries like the US, Canada, etc., which meant that I was working more with clients from these regions, which meant I had to travel for longer durations to the US to work on these types of projects. Gradually, I overcame these challenges as I had developed a deep interest in this field to help our clients in times of crisis and enjoyed the challenges of delivering within strict deadlines while travelling across the US.

When asked about a cyber-attack or a security incident faced by his current organisation and how he tackled it, he said, “Recently I helped a lot of clients tackle complex cyber incidents, especially post pandemic.” One of the incidents involved a large ransomware attack on a reputed organisation, which had more than half of their systems hit with ransomware, rendering them unusable. We helped the client perform a complete recovery and remediation of their systems by working closely with their IT and security teams. We also helped in performing a detailed root cause analysis to understand which specific vulnerabilities were exploited by the hacker to gain access to the client’s environment. While recovering the environment, we performed 24×7 monitoring of the entire network to help understand if there was still any residual malware existing on any of the client’s systems which the attacker could utilise later to perform repeat attacks. We helped revamp the client’s security environment with lessons learned post incident and built a complete roadmap for the next 3 to 5 years to safeguard themselves against such attacks.

When asked how his organisation geared up in terms of technology in the COVID times, he said, “Our IT team enabled secure VPN access for us to login remotely into our office environment. We saw an upgrade in remote collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, usage of SharePoint for storing critical documents, etc., which helped us in collaborating within our teams to deliver client engagements. There was regular training/workshops conducted on remote working to help enable employees to get used to virtual ways of working.

When asked about technology solutions and innovations he plans to implement in the post COVID era, he said that COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of digital readiness, which allows business and life to continue as usual – as much as possible – during pandemics. Building the necessary infrastructure to support a digitised world and stay current with the latest technology will be essential for any business or country to remain competitive in a post-COVID-19 world, as well as take a human-centered and inclusive approach to technology governance.

A few initiatives are

  • Better strategic planning through game theory and AI
  • Road mapping, agility, and data-first decision making
  • Using technology to amplify human insight and talent
  • AI can both maximise profit and accelerate inclusive growth
  • Cyber-security is the pillar of trust in the digital economy
  • Enhanced decision-making based on data insights

When asked about challenges faced by technology leaders today in a similar industry while implementing digital technologies, he said:

  • Lack of dedicated tech resources with the required skill sets
  • Poor strategy and lack of leadership support in terms of budget for building a future-ready digital organisation
  • Evolving customer needs and demands on the availability of data with quick turnaround times
  • The budget and time constraints
  • Maintaining high levels of security while allowing the business to innovate and meet other strategic needs

When asked how technology leaders can overcome the challenges they face, he said:

  • If you are on the verge of deciding to transform your business’s digital landscape, look no further. It is the best time to invest in technology and make it agile. There are many proven instances of early adopters enjoying the fruits of digital technology transformation.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has hardly pushed every business to step up and embrace digital transformation. With the mindset of continuous improvement and innovation, you can introduce new business models and deliver the best customer experience.
  • Instead of saying “we could have done something more and better” after a mishap, move the digital technology transformation from your priority checklist to the “right now” list.
  • With digital transformation solutions, you will get 24×7 connectivity, helping your business deliver more personalised customer services.

When asked about best practices, industry trends, or advice he would like to suggest to fellow technology leaders for their successful professional journeys, he said:

  • Look at Data Governance as an effective solution to build a long-term vision in terms of data management and get control over data in the organisation.
  • Capital expenditure will be intensive in future especially in terms of getting required skilled people to execute. Simultaneously, try to develop some of these skill sets in-house.
  • Continuously learn and upgrade yourself on new technologies, including practical experience with them.

Also readTechnology is still new, abstract, and always adapting

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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