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Professional Journey of Sudhir Kanvinde, Executive Director – IT at Ministry of Shipping

Advice for the CIOs would be meeting the challenges head-on and work not only for now and the near future but also think a little ahead and plan accordingly because disruption is everywhere

This is an exclusive interview conducted by Santosh Vaswani, Content Writer & Editor at CIO News about the professional journey of Sudhir Kanvinde, Executive Director – IT at IPA, Ministry of Shipping – Government of India.

When asked him about his role and key business priorities at the Ministry of Shipping, Sudhir Kanvinde, Executive Director – IT at IPA, Ministry of Shipping – Government of India, in an exclusive interview with CIO News said, my role in the IPA, Apex body under the control of Ministry of Shipping is about driving the IT initiatives of the Ministry under the aegis of Digital India.

Almost 90 per cent of cargo movement is through waterways. Many stakeholders are operating simultaneously at the ports to keep the operations moving smoothly, he added.

He said the exponential expansion is expected in the port sector in the coming years, with the growth potential of the Indian economy. The Indian Ports also aim to improve their competitiveness internationally and contribute to the improvement of India’s ‘Ease of Doing Business ranking. To meet these ever-increasing demands of the future, my key business priorities are digitization and automation of the major ports in India. We are moving towards paperless operations, online information sharing, and streamlining the processes for better efficiency. With the National Logistics Portal Marine, we expect to bring about a tremendous positive change in the port operations with improved productivity and connectivity.

When asked that how he planned his career path from being a CIO in the private sector to be an Executive Director – IT in the government sector, he said, I have been a part of the IT industry for more than 25 years now. Form consulting, I eventually moved to the other side of the table in the private sector to serve as a CIO. The Government opened the doors for experienced executives from the private sector and I stepped into the Govt. sector. My move to the Govt. sector was not planned as such but I certainly had a desire to do my share towards nation-building. And working for the Government allows me to put my skills and experience to better and wider use.

Speaking about the difference between his previous role as a CIO and his current role, Kanvinde said, the role of a CIO in the private sector is mainly restricted to his own organisation and the organisational goals and maybe he plays some part in the IT industry in general. I find that the scale and impact difference is tremendous between the private and the Govt. sector. The Govt. sector is much broader and the impact goes way beyond the obvious benefits of the various IT initiatives of the Government. The benefits of the various Government initiatives percolate in all directions, be it employment generation, export promotion, tourism impetus. All the sectors, agriculture, semi-agriculture, manufacturing, services all come under its purview directly or indirectly.

When asked about the challenges faced by a CIO today and what advice would he like to give to other CIOs for their successful professional journey, he said, CIOs play a significant role in designing the business strategies and driving the business goals. The IT initiatives and innovations are aligned to the organisational goals.

India was well on its way towards digital transformation, but COVID-19 vastly accelerated the process. Work from home (WFH) was normal for IT professionals. It became a huge challenge when the entire staffs were expected to work from home.

The CIO has suddenly to tackle the cyber-security threats which have multiplied due to WFH.

The challenges for the CIOs are Big Data management, data security concerns, cyber-security of the supply chain, skill gaps, he said.

Advice for the CIOs would be meeting the challenges head-on and work not only for now and the near future but also think a little ahead and plan accordingly because disruption is everywhere, Kanvinde said.

He further commented on the best practices/industry trends and said, the cyber-security concerns must be taken very seriously. It is not a one-time activity but system vulnerabilities must be monitored continuously.

The ever-evolving systems and the threats that accompany, it really needs uninterrupted attention.

Skill up-gradation of the employees is a concern that has been ignored for too long and with the new normal it is of great importance.

All IT initiatives, be it the private sector or the public sector have long-term and significant social impacts, through disruption, behaviour changes, and aspirations building. The CIOs need to keep such not-so-obvious impacts in mind, he said.

Also, watch his video interview on our series VOICE OF CIO with our Chief Editor, Khushbu Soni: Youtube – Episode 21 – Sudhir Kanvinde

Also read: I discovered my passion for technology in my first job: Murali Raj, CIO – HIL Limited

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