by September 10, 2013 0 comments

The name Mahindra and Mahindra, or M&M needs no introduction to anybody. It’s a US $15.9 billion conglomerate with presence in over 100 countries and operating in many key industries including utility vehicles, information technology, tractors, vacation ownership, automotive industry, aerospace, aftermarket, components, consulting services, defence, energy, financial services, logistics, real estate, retail, and two wheelers.

This time, we received nominations for 24 different IT projects from M&M. These came from Mahindra Navistar Engines, M&M Corporate IT department for the parent company M&M Ltd, Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers, Mahindra Navistar Automotives, M&M Financial Services Ltd, and Mahindra Two Wheelers.

The companies nominated 17 different types of projects out of the total 24 we received. These comprise of everything from business process mgmt/automation to Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Data center setup, corporate governance, ERP, mobility, security, storage, UC, and the list goes on.

The IT projects comprise of deployments that impact the entire group as a whole as well as individual companies. We witnessed quite a few interesting projects by this group. You can read more about them throughout this issue under various project type categories. It’s amazing to see so much seriousness about IT being taken by an enterprise in India.

Interview: V S Parthasarathy, Group CIO, Mahindra & Mahindra

What are the three essential things you consider while rolling out so many new IT implementation projects in a year?
“Enable-Enhance-Engender” is the mantra given to the IT Team. Today’s IT landscape has gone beyond enable & enhance. Every new initiative is seen from “Engender” perspective. Essentially every new initiative must cover all 3 of them. We ensure that the project is towards ‘Creating something new’ for the business, the ‘Deliverables of each project’ are well defined and it is ‘Adequately resourced for – both – money & skills’.

How do you identify the challenges that merit the roll out of a new IT initiative?
An initiative comes up based on “Pain or Gain” and it should be directed to ensure that business runs ‘leaner-healthier-faster-smarter’. Once the assurance of ‘leaner’ IT & ‘healthier’ systems is established, the ‘faster’ works towards the user experience. ‘Smarter’ is purely through Innovation.

Simple steps that lead to a successful project are:
1. Addressing whether ‘pain or gain’, 2. Falling in the relevant quadrant, 3. Simulating challenges

How do you manage so many IT initiatives across so many companies?
There is a 3-tier hierarchy in place with strategic leaders & IT heads across the group companies:

1. Strategic Leadership Council (SLC), 2. Technology Leadership Council (TLC), 3. Cross Functional Teams (CFT) – need based SLC & TLC jointly work to evolve a concept at strategic level. Being a federated organisation it allows many initiatives to work upon at a given point of time. The CFT then takes it forward for execution. My role as a Group CIO is purely to ‘step in when required and move out of way when not’. I call it ‘Nose in – Hands out’

Is there a common IT vision for all the group companies?
I strongly believe that without a vision, there is no path possible. One would not know where to go. So a clear & articulated vision is a must. So YES, we do have a common IT Vision which is well communicated.

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